PHOTO: shutterstock

Fodor's Expert Review The Principal Madrid

Calle Marqués de Valdeiglesias 1, Madrid, 28004, Spain See on Map

Dozens of hotels flank Gran Vía, Madrid’s main artery, but only one of them can claim five stars: The Principal. Opened in 2015 following a €3.5 million remodeling, the hotel stands out for its stately façade, luxury townhouse feel, and swanky rooftop cocktail bar—the latter being the best vantage point to admire the newly restored dome of the Metropolis, a Beaux-Arts marvel. The property’s central location, within walking distance of Retiro park and the “Golden Triangle” of museums, is another great selling point.


room

Accommodations feature soothing gray tones and minimal furnishings, design touches that make the compact rooms feel slightly more commodious than they actually are. Perks like Bluetooth speakers, international plug adaptors, and complimentary shoeshine make you feel like you’re in the lap of luxury.

YOU SHOULD KNOW Don’t expect silent nights in the east-facing rooms, whose windows fail to block out the loud shouts of weekend revelers.

bathroom

Shower-only bathrooms are lined with black subway tile and feature slippers, towel warmers, and Gilchrist & Soames emollients.


Lobby
Photo: Lobby

lobby

Check-in staff are friendly and efficient, but you won’t want to linger long in this lobby; for lolling and lounging, head to the Terraza rooftop bar.


Don’t confuse the street-level entrance with the lobby, which is actually located on the sixth floor.

Lobby
Photo: Lobby

pool

There’s a small overflow pool on the roof deck (but nothing you can dip more than a toe into).


spa

Private individual and couples treatments are offered upon request in the Wellness Suite. The petit sauna, which fits two, can also be booked in advance.


gym

The abbreviated fitness center, outfitted with a treadmill, two stationary bikes, and a dumbbell set, is nothing to write home about. Early risers beware: The gym doesn’t open until 10 a.m.


Ático restaurant
Photo: Ático restaurant

dining

Ramón Freixa, who presides over one (of the city’s five) two-Michelin-star restaurants, is the brains behind the menu at Ático, a high-ceilinged dining room specializing in playful nueva cocina dishes.


Ático restaurant
Photo: Ático restaurant
La Terraza
Photo: La Terraza

drinking

As one of the only rooftop bars in Madrid offering unimpeded 360-degree views, it’s no wonder there’s always a wait to snag a table at Terraza. Spring for a champagne cocktail (or a mocktail—they offer a generous list) and enjoy the sunset over the Sierra de Guadarrama mountains.

La Terraza
Photo: La Terraza

LOCATION

Getting Around

Gran Vía, Madrid’s “Main Street,” is right out your front door, making travel a cinch. Nearby metro stations include Gran Vía (Lines 1 and 5) and Banco de España (Line 2).


Restaurants

Walk a couple blocks north 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 (5-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 funghi fix at the neighboring El Cisne Azúl, an old-school joint specializing in mushroom dishes.


Bars

Beer lovers unite at Fábrica Maravillas (11-minute walk), Madrid’s only city-center brewpub. 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.


WHY WE LIKE IT

The Principal is a fresh, game-changing property in the heart of Madrid that eschews all the fusty pretentiousness you’ll find in many of the city’s five-star hotels. Its Terraza rooftop bar, with unbeatable views and polished cocktail list, is a destination in itself, as is the envelope-pushing Ático restaurant. What you see is what you get: a well-appointed urban crashpad designed to please any discerning traveler.


QUICK FACTS

HOTEL INFO

Phones: +34-915-21-87-43

What’s Nearby

People also liked

Gran Hotel Inglés

$$ | Calle Echegaray 8

This swanky designer property, reopened in April 2018 as a five-star,... Read More

VP Plaza España Design

$$$ | Plaza de España 5

This shiny luxury property, opened in early 2018, overlooks the sprawl... Read More

Vincci Capitol Hotel

$$ | Gran Vía 41

Housed in the Carrión Building, Madrid’s most iconic Art... Read More

Hotel Índigo Madrid

$$ | Calle de Silva 6

A hip, vibrant hotel off the bustling Gran Vía thoroughfare, Ho... Read More

Hesperia Madrid

$$ | Paseo de la Castellana 57

A five-star hotel geared toward the business traveler, Hesperia Madrid... Read More

NH Collection Palacio de Tepa

$$ | Calle de San Sebastián 2

Situated on a cobblestone street in Barrio de las Letras, Madrid’s lit... Read More