The regal cobblestone corridor leading to the reception desk, the atrium with walls made partly of original granite blocks, and the magnificent main wooden staircase (presided over by a lion statue) best reveal this building's 18th-century origins. The other common areas, including the restaurant and a reading room with a small library, have less character. Guest rooms are comfortable, with functional wooden furniture and heavy curtains.
Dark wood paneling, parquet floors, and charcoal pillows and throws lend hotel rooms an air of corporate blandness, though we love how spacious they are for the location (starting at 225 square feet). Certain pricier rooms have added perks of kettles and coffeemakers.
Room service is available.
Marble-clad bathrooms feature magnifying mirrors, bathtubs, and a wide array of complimentary toiletries.
The indoor-outdoor lobby, which stretches into an interior courtyard covered by an enormous skylight, is roomy and welcoming with couches and armchairs for lounging.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Those sensitive to cigarette smoke should plan on relaxing elsewhere as smoking is permitted in the courtyard.
Though the historic building's architectural parameters don't allow for a fitness center, guests are welcome to patronize that of nearby Hotel Catalonia Atocha.
For $12, you can enjoy a lavish breakfast complete with egg dishes, fresh fruit, Spanish omelet, and charcuterie.
Kick off your evening with an alfresco gin-tónic in the medieval indoor-outdoor courtyard. Insulated from the winter cold by thick stone walls and a skylight, the area is pleasantly warm year round.
You’re in the heart of Old Madrid, which means many of the city’s sights—such as the Plaza Mayor, Rastro flea market, and Puerta del Sol—are at your fingertips. The Golden Triangle of museums is a scenic 20-minute walk. For adventures further afield, catch the metro at Sol (Lines 1, 2, and 3).
Catalonia Puerta del Sol is dangerously close to Madrid’s most fabled churro spot, San Ginés (6-minute walk), a 24-hour café where towering platters of crisp-fried doughnuts are served piping hot by white-clad waiters. Churros con chocolate are the perfect way to end a tapas crawl on and around Cava Baja (6-minute walk), the city’s most archetypal—if slightly touristy—tapas street with stalwart old-school restaurants like Casa Lucio; Casa Lucas; and Botín, the oldest restaurant in the world founded in 1725.
A 9-minute walk from the hotel, La Coquette, Madrid’s premier blues bar, offers a terrific—and free—nightly show from Tuesdays to Thursdays in an arcaded brick cellar. Although the venue’s size might be likened to a sardine can, the upside is that every seat is front-row— it’s always a thrill to watch the talented musicians jam out right in front of you. When the show winds down, keep the night going at El Amante, a nearby discoteca frequented by Spanish celebrities.
WHY WE LIKE IT
A dependable hotel set in an unbeatable location between Puerta del Sol and the Plaza Mayor, the Catalonia Puerta del Sol ticks all the boxes for a successful stay in Madrid: spacious rooms, solid breakfasts, and prime real estate. Though the interiors could be livelier, the bones of this historic building remain stunning today.