A breath of fresh air on the Madrid hotel scene, Tótem checks all the boxes: genial service, state-of-the-art design, sought-after location, terrific food and cocktails—you name it, they’ve got it. The hotel is situated in the Salamanca district, a tree-lined area north of Retiro park known for its high-end boutiques, timeless restaurants, and casual-chic lounges and nightclubs.
Rooms at Tótem are minimally yet impeccably furnished with blond woods, bright white linens, and the occasional splash of color. Natural light pours into the “deluxe exterior” and attic rooms, making them well worth the extra expense over their interior counterparts.
To treat yourself, splurge on a junior suite; the costlier standard suites may be more spacious, but they’re far less feng shui.
No detail is overlooked in the black-marble bathrooms: soft Bassols robes hang at the ready for whenever you finish lathering up with the organic bath products, designed by Handmade Beauty (a boutique located just down the street).
Complimentary designer flip-flops are hiding in the closet.
Reception staff are friendly and efficient. It’s the little things—like asking when you’d like your luggage to be brought down, instead of when you’ll be “checking out”—that make this hotel stand out.
Weights, medicine balls, and state-of-the-art TechnoGym machines are available for use in the hotel gym 24/7.
Hermosos & Malditos is far more than a hotel restaurant—it’s one of the hottest dining spots in the neighborhood, thanks to its menu of quality seasonal fare that commingles Spanish and international flavors.
The chef makes particularly exceptional "escabeche" (vinegar-cooked) dishes.
The mixologists are so talented at Tótem’s cocktail bar that it’s best to give them full creative license over your cocktail and forego the drink menu altogether— trust us, you won’t regret it.
Tótem is less than ten minutes from Serrano (line 4) and Retiro (line 2) metro stations. Count on taking a taxi back to the hotel if you’re out after 1:30 a.m. as the metro closes at that time.
The Salamanca district boasts two of the best spots in the city for tortilla de patata, Spanish potato omelette: Casa Dani (3-minute walk), a noisy bar tucked in a back corner of Mercado de la Paz, and Estay (4-minute walk), a stylish restaurant that doubles as a café before noon. After sundown, embark on a tapas crawl through the neighborhood, hitting Babelia (cocktails and finger food), Cinco Jotas (premium jamón ibérico), and Ultramarinos Quintín (rawbar and flatbreads)--all about a 5-minute walk from the hotel.
The quiet streets surrounding the hotel belie a number of exciting nightlife venues. There’s Ten con Ten (6-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 (11-minute walk), a buzzy bar and discoteca that heats up on the weekends with international DJ sets.
WHY WE LIKE IT
You may not be steps from Madrid’s main attractions at Tótem, but you’ll thank yourself later: Getting ever so slightly off the tourist track and experiencing a true-blue Madrileño neighborhood will show you an intimate side of the city that most vacationers don’t get to appreciate. Inside the hotel, there’s lots to love as well, from the sleek yet comfortable rooms, to the attentive service, to the standout bar and restaurant on the ground floor.