Barceló Emperatriz Hotel (Madrid, Spain)
When we were in Madrid, we stayed at the luxurious Barceló Emperatriz. This hotel is just off the Paseo de la Castellana in the upmarket Salamanca district. The smart boutiques on Serrano and its surrounding streets are temptingly close. The Lázaro Galdiano museum, which has one of the best art collections in the city, is a couple of minutes’ walk away. The Prado is a brisk 20-minute walk down the Castellana.
There are loads of restaurants and sidewalk cafés nearby, frequented more by well-groomed locals than tourists. There are two metro stations five minutes’ walk away and buses stop around the corner. The hotel is the right side of town for the airport, a cab journey of 15 to 30 minutes away.
Interior designer Ernesto de Ceano has gone for modern glamour here. It feels grand and palatial but not at all fussy or stuffy. Violet tones crop up throughout the hotel: the aforementioned Eugenia de Montijo loved the flowers, the color and also the Violeta sweets that are still made in Madrid today.
When I checked-in, there is no reception desk; there’s individual tables and offered a welcome drink. The multilingual staff are helpful and attentive.
When we entered the Premium Room, there are plenty of electrical and USB sockets in all the right places – and don’t worry if you’ve forgotten any vital cables, just ask and one will appear. You can stream your music via Bluetooth on the Philips media system. The sumptuous bed had a memory foam topper, silky soft sheets and pillow cases embroidered with the initials E.M., for Eugenia de Montijo. A long desk and fast Wi-Fi meant I could get on with work easily – there was a handy ‘do not disturb’ switch too.
The marble-effect bathroom shot was beautiful. I loved the Laufen washbasins, and flattering lighting. There was an easy-to-fathom Hansgrohe shower with overhead rain and handheld showerheads.
The Mutis restaurant is named after the 18th-century botanist Celestino Mutis and features striking floral panels reflecting some of the species he brought to the Royal Botanical Garden in Madrid from Colombia.
Breakfast is available until 11am (with à la carte options on offer all day). It is all about quality on the buffet, with fresh smoothies, Serrano ham, Xanceda organic yogurts – one of the best kinds in Spain. There are tortilla omelettes and churros, with eggs and pancakes cooked to order. Excellent orange juice and coffee however you like it are served at the table.
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Calle de López de Hoyos, 4
28006 Madrid, Spain
Phone: +34 913 42 24 90