A palatial early-20th-century building, once owned by a noble family with extravagant habits (the elevator carried their horses up and down from the rooftop exercise ring), this spectacular hotel is a case in point that classical and modern décor can happily coexist when done right. Relics of the mansion's grandiose past include baseboards and fountains covered with ceramics from Talavera, Parisian stained-glass windows, marble floors and columns, and original moldings.
Note to business travelers: There's a full-service business center plus five meeting rooms of varying sizes.
Double-height ceilings make guest rooms feel wonderfully airy. Most accommodations feature king-size beds, and some upgraded digs have preserved original parquet floors and stunning fretwork. All rooms have superb views of the nearby Parque del Buen Retiro.
Modern, well-appointed bathrooms are stocked with Molton Brown toiletries and more towels than you'll ever need. To really pamper yourself, book one of the higher-end rooms and relax in a deep-sink whirlpool tub with views out to the park.
A soaring hall adorned with marble pillars and intricate crown molding, the lobby sets the regal tone of this hotel. Though there isn't ample space for lounging, it's certainly charming to walk through.
YOU SHOULD KNOW We're torn on whether the old-school keys (on leather keychains) are a cute, kitsch touch—or just needlessly cumbersome.
Personalized treatments, which must be booked in advance through reception, include Ayurvedic massage, body wraps, couple's massages, and more.
The well-equipped fitness center features a handful of up-to-date cardio machines, dumbbells, and a small whirlpool.
Inquire about bike rentals at the front desk.
Breakfasts are generous and memorable with made-to-order hot items and an array of pastries, charcuterie, and cheeses—but with so many fine cafés in the neighborhood, we're not sure it merits the €31 price tag.
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 Retiro (Line 2).
The nearby Salamanca district boasts two of the best spots in the city for tortilla de patata, Spanish potato omelette: Casa Dani (15-minute walk), a noisy bar tucked in a back corner of Mercado de la Paz, and Estay (15-minute walk), a stylish restaurant that doubles as a café before noon. After sundown, embark on a tapas crawl through the neighborhood, hitting La Máquina (cocktails and finger food), Cinco Jotas (premium jamón ibérico), and Ultramarinos Quintín (rawbar and flatbreads)—all about a 12-minute walk from the hotel.
The quiet streets just north of the hotel belie a number of exciting nightlife venues. There’s Ten con Ten (16-minute walk), the swanky “gin bar” that incited Madrid's gin-tónic frenzy a decade ago that hasn’t abated since. After a cocktail there, make your way to Arts Club (8-minute taxi), a buzzy bar and discoteca that heats up on the weekends with international DJ sets.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Sojourning in a converted palace with unobstructed park views and king-size beds: You don't have to ask us twice. On the outside, this property is a stately stunner with its ornate neoclassical façade and statuesque bellhops that may as well be beefeaters. But on the inside, Palacio del Retiro is all about comfort and calm, whether you're sipping a cocktail in the Suite Bar or unwinding in a freshly drawn bath overlooking the park.