Steps from the trendy Malasaña and gay-friendly Chueca districts, and slightly off the tourist track, Hotel Sardinero opened in May 2017 in a turn-of-the-century palace previously occupied by Innside Génova. Because the hotel underwent dramatic, comprehensive renovations only three years ago, the change in ownership has hardly affected the décor and feel of the property, whose rooms are handsome and minimal with dark wood floors, white linens, and vaulted ceilings.
Interiors are sumptuous yet unobtrusive with earth-tone accents and Japanese-inflected furniture by Kenzo. Deluxe and Premium rooms facing the sloping Plaza de Santa Bárbara feature stately balconies, though the star of the show is the Tower Suite, a chic, split-level pad inside the palace dome. The soundproofing is top-notch—despite overlooking a busy rotary, you’ll hardly hear a noise.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Kettles and coffee makers are conspicuously absent from most rooms, though reception can provide these upon request.
Outfitted with rain showers, black marble walls, and wooden vanity tops, bathrooms compensate for their compact size with squeaky-clean sleekness.
The marble-clad, hardly furnished lobby is adequate for check-in and check-out—and that’s about it. For lounging, make a beeline to the sunlit Library Cocktail Lounge.
The compact fitness center, adequate for basic training, features an elliptical, stationary bike, and treadmill.
Though there’s no formal restaurant, The Deck, located in an interior patio, offers a varied daily breakfast buffet (with gluten-free options) and room service (7 a.m. to 11 p.m.).
Low sofas and tables designed by Kenzo invite languid evenings at the swanky Library Cocktail Lounge.
When the sun is shining, take your drink up to one of the two rooftop terraces.
Though there’s no shortage of galleries, boutiques, and restaurants right outside your door, you can take the metro (Lines 4, 5, and 10) a few stops to the city’s main attractions.
Walk a couple blocks south of the hotel, and you’ll be in the heart of Chueca, an upscale neighborhood known for its winding streets, gay-friendly atmosphere, and charming restaurants. Whet your appetite with Canary Island delicacies at Siete Delicatessen inside Mercado de San Antón (9-minute walk), a renovated market whose top two floors are packed with tapas stalls. From there, head a block north to Atlántico, a shiny new Galician restaurant known for its pristine raw seafood, or get your fungi fix at the neighboring El Cisne Azúl, an old-school joint specializing in mushroom dishes.
Beer lovers unite at Fábrica Maravillas (10-minute walk), Madrid’s only brewpub located in the city center. Choose from a dozen draft beers that were brewed just steps from your barstool. If cocktails are more your speed, duck into La Bicicleta, a retro café one block up that transforms into a low-key, dimly lit bar by night, or get a taste of the vibrant gay nightlife that Chueca is known for at Cazador (12-minute walk), a laid-back hipster bar.
WHY WE LIKE IT
There’s an effortless elegance about Hotel Sardinero that makes you want to stay awhile. While the building’s opulent past is ever-present—the spiraling central stairway and neoclassical façade are salient reminders—modern furnishings and tasteful art land this property squarely in the here-and-now. Its location, away from the tour-bus crowds and steps from two of Madrid's hottest neighborhoods, offers guests a true-blue local experience that they're unlikely to get in the centro histórico.