Surprisingly “boutique” for a Radisson Blu, this 54-room hotel has an intimate, urban feel that suits its middle-of-it-all location. Cross the street, and you’re gazing at Goyas at the Prado Museum. Walk three blocks, and you’re catching rays in Retiro Park. Of course, such central real estate comes with its usual tradeoffs—in this case, occasional street noise, compact rooms, and a lilliputian lobby—but perks like in-room espresso makers and lavish breakfasts outweigh the property’s few faults.
YOU SHOULD KNOW There’s no parking available at the hotel--a nearby lot charges €20 per day.
Rooms have eye-catching headboards printed with scenes of emblematic Madrid buildings, roomy beds, and complimentary Nespresso machines. The décor, however, is altogether unexciting in that predictable, chain-hotel kind of way.
Tidy, shower-only bathrooms boast dimmers, fog-proof mirrors, and towel warmers, though flimsy glass barriers in certain rooms aren’t ideal for privacy.
You’ll want to breeze through this lobby, honestly. Hotel staff are notoriously harried, and seating is limited to wooden benches and a few uncomfortable chairs.
The indoor pool, open from 6:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. daily, is fine for relaxing--but far too small for laps.
In addition to personalized massages and facials, the spa offers grooming services including waxing, manicures, pedicures, and hair styling.
The treadmill and two stationary bikes are better than nothing, we suppose.
The middling “gastropub” fare (oily croquetas, dry tortilla española, overpriced sangría) served at The Cask is actually quite tolerable if you manage to snag a table on the pleasant outdoor terrace.
Early risers will appreciate that breakfast starts at 6:30 a.m., an anomaly in Madrid.
A standard sampling of beer, wine, and cocktails are poured in The Cask’s petite, neon-lit bar until 2 a.m.
It’s less than a 10-minute walk to many of Madrid’s top attractions, but for excursions farther afield, there are metro stations close by at Sevilla (Line 2), Antón Martín (Line 1), and Atocha (Line 1).
Venture outside the immediate vicinity for most of your meals—the hotel is surrounded by so-so restaurants that cater to the tour bus crowd. Taking a 7-minute taxi ride 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 or embark on a tapas crawl, hitting Los Gallos (cocktails and finger food), Cinco Jotas (premium jamón ibérico), and Ultramarinos Quintín (raw bar and flatbreads).
Pop into one of Hemingway’s old haunts called La Venencia (8-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
With the Radisson Blu name come certain guarantees: early breakfasts, late last-calls, fast Wi-Fi, and professional staff. While those seeking an all-out luxury experience should look elsewhere, this straightforward property offers consistent service in an unbeatable location.