AC Santo Mauro
Zurbano, 36, Chamberí
Spread out over three elegant buildings that used to serve as the home of the Duke of Santo Mauro, this recently renovated boutique hotel is a love letter to the decadence and splendor of old Madrid. Inside, the former ballroom has been turned into a sweeping lobby and the library became La Biblioteca Restaurant, where you'll find an excellent menu of traditional Spanish cuisine. Meanwhile, the spacious guestrooms are done in comforting earth tones for maximum relaxation.
Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, Eixample
Sure, there’s something about this 67-room boutique property that reads very Ace Hotel-like—the fact that founder Inés Miró-Sans worked with Brooklyn-based design firm Studio Tack to nail the subtly hipster aesthetic has a lot to do with it—but with its original tile work and open-air passageways, the 19th-century mansion that houses the hotel and its sibling businesses is European through and through. The pleasantly priced rooms range in size from teeny to sprawling (some even have private terraces complete with outdoor shower). You’ll also find the Elephant, Crocodile, Monkey restaurant, Mother juice bar, and Satan’s Coffee Corner without even having to leave the property.
11 Carrer d'Elisabets, Ciutat Vella
A very original, small hotel, Casa Camper is in a 19th-century gothic building in the Raval area of Ciutat Vella, around the corner from the Museu d’ Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA) and the Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (CCCB). In addition to being an adored hotel, Casa Camper is home to Albert Raurich's first-rate restaurant, Dos Palilos.
670 Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes, Eixample
Back in the 1880’s this landmark neoclassical building housed the Cotton Textile Exchange, but these days it’s home to a stunning 83-room hotel with a moody interior, a sweeping rooftop deck, and a one-of-a-kind suspended spiral staircase. As elaborate as the lobby and communal spaces may be (the library is particularly dramatic), the guestrooms are comfortably plush yet soothing in neutral tones and modern furnishings. Batuar restaurant, which has an old school marble bar and a lush terrace, is just as good for a fancy dinner as it is for a swift breakfast pre-touring.
Calle Gran Vía, 80, Centro
This year-old, 162-room boutique hotel is housed in a beautiful neoclassical building and is the perfect example of how perfectly contemporary design elements—minimal furniture, museum-white walls, and lots of high-tech gadgetry—can lend themselves to a traditional space. The rooms are kept purposefully stark, with the street-facing windows and scattered pops of grey serving as the sole decorative elements. Upstairs, on the 360-degree terrace, you’ll find the small but incredibly Instagrammable Sky Pool and the Nice to Meet You restaurant, which in addition to great tapas, cocktails, and music, offers the most intense sunsets and panoramic views of the Madrid skyline. Also worth mentioning are the very reasonable room rates.
Hotel Alfonso XIII
2 San Fernando, San Bernardo
In the 1920s, King Alfonso XIII of Spain had this hotel built to house visiting dignitaries and the like—it definitely has the lavish, royal touch. Rooms are spacious and ornate, replete with stunning tilework, balustrades, and all sorts of subtle flourishes. It’s been revamped in recent years and so there are plenty of modern amenities, like a pool and multiple restaurants.
19-21 Carrer de la Marina, La Barceloneta
Built for the 1992 Barcelona Olympic Games, Hotel Arts is a big hotel done right. The rooms are beautiful, the service is great, and its location in Barceloneta means amazing seaside views.
Hotel Casa Fuster
132 Passeig de Gràcia, Vila de Gràcia
Designed by Catalan architect Lluís Domènech i Montaner, Casa Fuster is a modernist masterpiece. The interior bar, Café Vienés, is particularly beautiful—go here for a coffee or a cocktail. And on Thursday nights, between 9 and 11, the space transforms into a jazz club.
150 Carrer de Pau Claris, Dreta de l'Eixample
Located just off Paseo de Gracia, Claris is a mix of classic decor and a slightly hipster vibe. Throughout the hotel, you'll find English furniture pieces from the 18th- and 19th-centuries, Roman sculptures from the 2nd- and 3rd-centuries, original etchings commissioned by Napoleon, and so on. There's also a museum featuring Egyptian art from the the Jordi Clos Archaeological Foundation’s private collection. And a modest rooftop pool.
69 Passeig de Gràcia, Dreta de l'Eixample
Open since 1918, Hotel Majestic is ideally situated on Passeig de Gràcia, a short walk to Gaudí’s La Pedrera. The exterior of the building is absolutely beautiful, especially when lit up at night, and the interior feels wonderfully luxe.
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