It's the little things you discover as you stroll through the different neighbourhoods of Madrid that will leave you smiling. It's full of romantic spots and is very much a feel-good city where you invariably go home in a much better mood than when you arrived.
For a special weekend with your partner, where you stay is a crucial part of the experience, from intimate hotels where you can hide away together (at least some of the time) and order all the room service you want, to characterful hotels with cool rooftop bars and panoramic views. Ultimately, Madrid is fashionable, flirty, and full of opportunities to impress your loved one, whatever the occasion.
The hotel is in a charming former palace that dates back to the 19th century, so expect arched windows, Juliette balconies, window shutters and awnings. The original central courtyard is now a quadruple-height lobby which, under the vision of Barcelona-based interior designer Lázaro Rosa-Violán, is the centrepiece of the hotel.
An ample à la carte breakfast menu offers up everything from smoothies to cava. Come dinnertime, the dining room transforms into a romantic tapas restaurant. Head to the warm, wood-panelled bar after dinner for a classic cocktail before a night out in Chueca.
Located in the smart Salamanca neighbourhood, away from the tourist hub, this is the kind of place you can relax in exquisite interiors, sip champagne and eat oysters on the secret roof terrace, then slip out to Madrid’s best restaurants and boutiques. The 46 rooms and suites, some with terraces, are spacious and all slightly different.
Room 34, for instance, is gilded in olive-green and gold hand-painted wallpaper, with furniture upholstered in sumptuous Gaston y Daniela fabrics, and a zig zag-pattern wooden floor. Don't miss afternoon tea in the conservatory-style bar, or drinks on the pretty rooftop at sunset.
With comfortable rooms and a calm colour scheme, The Principal Madrid is a handy haven in the heart of the city and the chic roof terrace is one of the most coveted spots for a drink in summer. The entrance is very discreet but you zoom up to the reception on the sixth floor which is where everything happens.
The L-shaped space also houses the bar and restaurant and people lounge around on leather sofas and at marble tables on the terraces. What with this and the roof terraces, the Principal is a lovely place to relax after a day’s sightseeing.
This is five-star hotel in a lavishly remodelled palace is a great choice for a special occasion or treat. The hotel occupies the site of the Santo Domingo convent and the 19th-century palace of the Dukes of Ega and Villahermosa, and reproductions of old masters line the walls. While not huge, the rooftop pool, surrounded by decking with sunbeds and a hot tub, is very appealing and has panoramic views across the city to the mountains.
The Thai Room spa is an exotic, luxurious space for serious pampering a deux with a range of top-level treatments, a sauna and a steam room. There's also 24-hour room service.
Family-owned, and with just 32 rooms, this former mansion, which dates back to 1882, is a quiet haven in which to relax before and after long days, late nights and riotous fun in the city.
You feel as though you are a guest of an eclectic old Doña who lives there, but is rarely seen. Inside, the décor has been tailored to retain this air of the past, with upholstered bedheads in floral and paisley prints, coloured dust ruffles and heavy drapes in the rooms. The restaurant is a peaceful setting and looks out to the garden. If this appeals to you, ask for a room with a Juliette balcony for romantic garden views.
BLESS has larger-than-average rooms and suites, done in mid-century modern style with Art Deco features. The headboards are one of the most striking features, with a soothing pattern of forest scenes. Most have fireplaces and superior categories have dressing rooms and a tubs in the rooms – a bath butler provides lotions and potions tailored to your mood.
There is a large terrace with a small dipping pool on the roof as well as the Picos Pardos Sky Lounge, a small spa and Fetén, a cocktail bar/club with a bowling alley and a pole-dancing room for late-night shenanigans. Martín Berasategui, who has an astounding 10 Michelin stars at his various restaurants, oversees the food throughout the hotel.
The Urso is a smart five-star boutique hotel in the elegant Salesas area of Madrid. It occupies an opulent, early 20th-century palatial building and the architect, Antonio Obrador, has conserved many original features, such as the tiles on the façade, the fabulous mahogany lift and the stained-glass windows on the staircase.
Rooms and suites are flooded with natural light from big windows and decorated in soft champagne and soothing teal shades. The excellent Media Ración by Cuenllas restaurant is arguably one of the most popular and fashionable places to eat in the city.
Único is all about good design, great service and gourmet experiences. It's surrounded by smart shops with lots of restaurants nearby. A favourite of people in the art world, it appeals to visitors who have been to Madrid several times and prefer to steer clear of the downtown area. The library looks like a private club, and the garden is a bit of an oasis from the frenetic pace of Madrid.
The 44 rooms and suites, some with balconies, are very smart; the top-floor rooms with pitched ceilings and skylights have the most character. You are very well looked-after here, and Ramon Freixa’s restaurant in the hotel has two Michelin stars, making this a top choice for foodies.