Disclaimer: The below blog post is from a past visit and to highlight a particular hotel and provide inspiration and ideas for future travel. In the wake of the ongoing COVID- 19 virus situation, please apply caution, due diligence, common sense and follow government guidelines on keeping you and your family safe.
Back in January 2020, I had the pleasure of visiting Madrid for my birthday weekend. Being a hungry traveller, I knew Madrid would serve me well, with delicious foodie exploits at every corner. True to form, Madrid really was a fantastic city for food, as is evident from my blog here.
However, being my birthday, I also wanted to give some thought to where we would be staying. Airbnb or a budget hotel just wouldn’t cut it. After some thorough research on various travel sites, we came across Gran Melia Palacio de Los Duques on Expedia. The rates they were offering were fantastic due to being off peak season and the fact that it was part of The Leading Hotels of the World further sealed the deal for us.
Located in Centro, you cannot fault the convenient location of Gran Melia Palacio de Los Duques. A 5-10 minute walk will bring you to three or four metro stations including Plaza de Espana, so it is fairly quick and straightforward to get to and from. Popular restaurants, cafes, bars and boutique shops are literally minutes away, although the hotel is cleverly tucked away on a quiet side street so you are protected from the hustle and bustle. Important landmarks like Royal Palace, Almudena Cathedral, the Opera House, Plaza Mayor, and Mercado San Miguel are walking distance away. In fact, on a good day you can see the Royal Palace from the hotel’s rooftop, which boasts a wonderful 360 degree view of the city of Madrid.
The royalty aspect is not restricted to the views only as the hotel itself is housed in a former 19th century palace. This luxurious hotel has a very rich and palatial feel in keeping with its royal history but at the same time oozing elegance and sophistication. Throughout the lobby and common areas are art covered walls – reproductions of the famous artist Velázquez – that add personality. The handsome space is lavishly decorated: high ceilings, shimmering chandeliers, sweeping staircases, plush upholstery, period details, gold accents and a grandiose, sun-dappled lobby topped by a glass dome.
Check-in and welcome
Having left London after a full day’s work (trying to maximise annual leave), we arrived in Madrid fairly late in the evening. Needless to say, it had been a long and tiring day for us and we were exhausted. So it was quite a relief to see that check-in was so quick, smooth and relatively fuss free. The welcome glass of Cava definitely went down a treat.
We had booked a Classic Room but got upgraded to a Junior Suite, which was gratefully received. The tastefully decorated room came with a massive king size bed and marshmallow-soft mattresses. The bed was so comfortable that you would be gently purring in your sleep within minutes of diving in. There was also a spacious lounge area with a sofa and coffee table, a separate work table, safe and a Nespresso machine. The daily evening turndown service included some delicious chocolates left on your pillows, drinking water in a Tetrapak (environmentally conscious) and a picture postcard describing the famous artworks of Velázquez (which changed daily). But the best feature of our room was the bathroom itself. There was a designer bathtub as well as as separate shower area with a waterfall shower head. Premium toiletries from Clarins and individual bathrobes completed the luxury offering.
The hotel has three restaurants but we dined in only one – the Michelin-starred Dos Cielos. Built into the stables of the former palace, Dos Cielos by brothers Javier and Sergio Torres is a wonderful marriage of tradition and modernity amongst refined settings. On the menu, you can find dishes such as Cod Rice and Cauliflower; Blue Duck Rice; Crispy Suckling Pig, Potato and Carrots and Suckling Goat Shoulder, Mahon Cheese and Pine Nuts. The dishes come with a hefty price tag so definitely one for special occasions.
Whilst we couldn’t make use of the seasonal rooftop pool and jacuzzi as it was winter, this sun drenched roof terrace offers panoramic views of the city and historic sites nearby, including the Royal Palace. You can still order from the bar below and get your drinks delivered. There is something quite special about being perched on the rooftop, sipping a glass of fizz during the golden hour whilst watching over the city.
Spa – Thai Room Wellness
What the holiday lacked in terms of rooftop pool shenanigans more than made up for with a trip to the hotel’s spa. The Thai Room Wellness had all the trappings of a luxury spa and we spent a few blissful hours cocooned in all sorts of exotic oils and totally switched off from the world outside.
Our stay at the Gran Melia Palacio de Los Duques was every bit the fabulous urban stay. This hotel is perfect for a romantic getaway and provides the ultimate luxury accommodation for you to eat and drink your way around the city of Madrid.
More information can be found on their website