An iconic hotel situated inside the “Golden Triangle” (the district connecting the Prado, Reina Sofía, and Thyssen museums), the Westin Palace is known for its unbeatable location, stately façade, and classical décor. The Palace opened in 1912 as the largest hotel in Europe, and in its heyday, catered to the likes of Salvador Dalí, Marlon Brando, Rita Hayworth, and Madonna. The property retains much of that Belle Époque charm today—though some say it hasn’t aged as gracefully one might hope.
The Westin Palace is essentially two hotels under the same roof these days: Most premium rooms have undergone drastic renovation, while the rest remain staunchly in the last century. Though all rooms are well-kept, comfortable, and relatively spacious, the tawdry, disjointed interior design detracts from the hotel’s Old World charm.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Daily turndown is only provided upon request.
Roomy bathrooms sparkle with polished fixtures and buffed marble. Many have his-and-her sinks, a welcome vintage touch.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Only basic amenities are provided; ask for bath caps, cotton balls, and other bath supplies at reception.
One of the most stunning hotel lobbies in the city, the best way to experience its grandeur is to sit for a coffee or light meal in the adjacent La Rotonda restaurant beneath the Art Deco stained-glass dome.
YOU SHOULD KNOW At peak hours, there’s often a long line to speak to the concierge.
Open 24 hours, the Westin Palace’s fitness center is a bright aerie overlooking the city that’s outfitted with a variety of exercise machines for both weightlifting and cardio. Reward yourself after your workout with a beverage on the adjoining roof deck.
You’re in for an lavish Chinese feast at Asia Gallery, a cozy yet refined restaurant whose standout dish is Peking duck. It pairs beautifully with a glass of gewürztraminer, a refreshingly tropical-tasting wine from the Somontano region.
It doesn’t get more classic than the 1912 Museo Bar, whose exclusive, gentlemen’s club-like atmosphere and stiff cocktails are sure to transport you to a bygone era.
Spring for a dry martini; Hemingway sipped plenty of them at this very spot, which gets a mention in The Sun Also Rises.
It’s less than a 10-minute walk to most of Madrid’s top attractions, but for excursions further afield, there are metro stations close by at Sevilla (line 2), Antón Martín (line 1), and Atocha (line 1).
Venture outside the neighborhood for most of your meals— the hotel is surrounded by mediocre restaurants that cater to the tourbus crowd. Taking a taxi 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, alternatively, embark on a tapas crawl, hitting Babelia (cocktails and finger food), Cinco Jotas (premium jamón ibérico), and Ultramarinos Quintín (rawbar and flatbreads).
Pop into another of Hemingway’s old haunts called La Venencia, 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 down the road at Cardamomo Tablao (buy tickets to the show in advance).
WHY WE LIKE IT
There’s a reason the Palace has been in business for over a century. The hotel’s proximity to Madrid’s key attractions, paired with its rich historical significance and time-honored reputation, make it a great choice for travelers looking for comfort and dependability, such as families and businesspeople. The cherry on top is the decked-out, 24-hour gym, an uncommon perk.