The best places to stay in four price ranges: budget ($), moderate ($$), expensive ($$$), and luxury ($$$$)


Hotel Plaza Mayor
Comfortable rooms in pale, sophisticated colors; upper floors offer views over the terra-cotta roofs of old Madrid; free Wi-Fi; “Suite del Palomar” is modern loft with private terrace; steps away from Plaza Mayor; 34 rooms. C/Atocha, 2; tel. 34 913 600 606.

Hostal Santo Domingo
A low-cost hostal with a high-design attitude; tidy rooms feature latex mattresses, mood lighting, leather headboards, and embroidered pillows; friendly English-speaking owner lives on site; 18 rooms. C/Luna, 6; tel. 34 915 313 290.


Whimsical design and post-modern colors; each of the 15 rooms uniquely decorated by Spanish designer Luis Delgado—neo-baroque, minimalist, retro; steps from Gran Vía; 15 rooms. C/Pez, 19; tel. 34 915 314 744.

Chic&Basic Colors
“Tiny hostal offering big ideas in pop design; each room is based on a different color with matching mood lighting and minimalist furnishings; gay-friendly.”—Raquel Sáez, assistant director, Ten rooms located in one of Madrid’s most popular nightlife zones. Tip: Upgrade to a suite in the back of the hotel; street-facing rooms are noisy. C/Huertas, 14; tel. 34 914 296 935.

Posada del Peine
“Vanguard style and high-tech touches in a 17th-century palace with a long Madrid history.”—Fernando Gallardo, hotel critic, El País daily newspaper. Stunning mauve and pink exterior; located on a medieval pedestrian street steps from Plaza Mayor; 69 rooms. C/ Postas, 17; tel.  34 915 238 151.

Hotel El Prado
“Inexpensive but well-done three-star hotel; rooms are surprisingly spacious and those on the top floor feature terraces overlooking old Madrid.”—Genevieve McCarthy, director, Cellar Tours, Madrid-based luxury wine tour company. Rooms are named after Spanish wines—look for English-language books on wine in each room; 48 rooms. C/Prado, 11; tel.  34 913 690 234.

Room Mate Óscar
Part of a chain of design-driven hotels that take style for value very seriously; futuristic lobby and hypnotically minimal rooms; located in trendy Chueca; other Madrid properties include Mario, Alicia, and Laura; 75 rooms. Plaza Vázquez de Mella, 12; tel. 34 917 011 173.


Catalonia Las Cortes
“Junior suites feature artisan-painted frescoes on the ceiling—it is like sleeping in someone’s palace.”—Stephen Drake-Jones, Madrid-based historian. 2006 restoration of this 18th-century palatial building left intact elegant marble columns and parquet flooring; great location between Plaza Santa Ana and the Prado; 65 rooms. C/Prado, 6; tel. 34 913 896 051.

Hotel Meninas
“Rooms offer minimalist comfort with lots of black, gray, and white warmed up with colorful blankets and wooden accents.”—Raquel Sáez. Ideal location just steps from Plaza Oriente; 37 rooms. C/Campomanes, 7; tel. 34 915 412 805.

Hotel Urban
“Cutting-edge design combines with a wealth of Egyptian artifacts to make this the most atmospheric hotel in Madrid.”—Fernando Gallardo. Glitzy, glass, ground-floor bar; chic rooftop terrace and pool; award-winning gourmet restaurant; great location between the Prado and Puerta del Sol; 101 rooms. Carrera San Jerónimo, 34; tel. 34 917 877 770.

Palacio San Martín
“A serene setting right in the bustling heart of town; formerly the U.S. Embassy, it retains a palatial, elegant air.”—Genevieve McCarthy. 94 rooms. Tip: Request an upper room with a view over the old city center—breathtaking at sunset. Plaza San Martín, 5; tel. 34 917 015 000.

Hotel de las Letras
Modern design paired with traditional detailing; 102 rooms; minimalist furnishings, dramatic colors, poetry etched on walls, azulejo tilework, carved wooden doors, and parquet floors; contemporary Spanish restaurant with select Japanese dishes, haute lounge, sumptuous spa. Gran Vía, 11; tel. 34 915 237 980.


Palacio del Retiro
“Glorious early-20th-century palace converted into a luxury hotel.”—Genevieve McCarthy. 50 rooms in stunning setting; majestic central staircase, soaring stained glass windows, and marble flooring; ultramodern touches include a multicolored glowing elevator; overlooks the Retiro park, steps from Madrid’s trio of famed art museums. C/Alfonso XII, 14; tel. 34 915 237 460.

Hotel Puerta America
“One of the most passionate hotel experiences in the world.”—Fernando Gallardo. A-list architects—Norman Foster, Jean Nouvel, Ron Arad—were given free rein to design each of the hotel’s 15 floors; 342 rooms; on-site spa, gourmet restaurant, and beautiful-people bar; located midway between the airport and the city center. Avenida de América, 41; tel. 34 917 445 400.


About Madrid and Spain

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