A late-18th-century palace formerly owned by the Duke of Noblejas, this hotel, situated a few yards from Plaza Santa Ana in the Las Letras neighborhood, still bears traces of opulence and grandeur. It has a gorgeous winder staircase, painted ionic columns, ethereal frescoes, and stained-glass windows, but the classic feel is neither ostentatious nor overwhelming.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Gym rats should book elsewhere: There's no fitness center, pool, or spa here.
Rooms are cozy and classic with taupe walls, white wainscoting, and sturdy hardwood furniture. There's nothing trendy about these digs, which ooze self-assured old-world elegance. Double-glazed windows and cushy mattresses make for a great night's sleep.
Pets are welcome! (Inquire for details ahead of booking.)
Green-marble-clad bathrooms, which feature tubs and bidets, are surprisingly spacious for a city-center hotel. Complimentary toiletries include vanity and shaving kits. Slippers are also provided.
For such a grand building, the lobby, though inviting and well-illuminated, is a bit of a letdown: It's little more than an agglomeration of various adjacent rooms. That said, front-desk staff are attentive and friendly, and check-in is swift and painless.
Complimentary coffee, tea, and snacks in the afternoons are a nice touch.
Breakfasts, which include made-to-order eggs and a variety of cold items, are served in a sunlit dining room set with starched white tablecloths.
Most of Madrid's main attractions are within walking distance, but for adventures further afield (or to give your legs a rest), hop on the metro at Antón Martín (Line 1) or Sevilla (Line 2).
Venture outside the immediate vicinity for most of your meals—the hotel is surrounded by mediocre restaurants that cater to the tour bus crowd. Taking a taxi to the nearby Salamanca district is a good idea; there, you can have a sit-down meal that oozes old-school Spanish elegance at El Paraguas (9-minute taxi), or, alternatively, embark on a tapas crawl on the same block, hitting Los Gallos (cocktails and finger food), Cinco Jotas (premium jamón ibérico), and Ultramarinos Quintín (rawbar and flatbreads).
Pop into one of Hemingway’s old haunts called La Venencia (2-minute walk), a sherry-only bar that hasn’t changed a lick since the Spanish Civil War, from its no-tipping policy to its salty waiters to its chalked bar tabs. Follow your aperitivo with an exhilarating flamenco performance two minutes down the road at Cardamomo Tablao (buy tickets to the show in advance).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Staying in a palace overlooking a cobblestone street in the heart of a charming neighborhood—if that’s not the European vacation dream, we don’t know what is. Hotel Catalonia Las Cortes strikes a balance between old-world service and modern conveniences, between luxury and affordability. Though millennials might struggle to find jaw-dropping Instagram material, the conservative interior design doesn’t detract from the overall experience, and travelers of all ilks are sure to leave this property impressed.