When you want something a bit more special than the everyday when you're booking your place to stay in Madrid, a boutique hotel could be the fresh spark you need to light up your lodging experience. These individual, designer accommodations provide incredible attention to detail as well as specialised services. What will you choose? Do you need to be close to the train station or close to the museums? Does a garden patio sound good? A gym to keep up your routine? Breathtaking views of some of the city's top landmarks? It might prove to be a difficult undertaking, but once you decide, you'll be thrilled to stay in one of Madrid's best boutique hotels.
Old and new Madrid come together at URSO, which you'll find between the Chamberí and Chueca neighbourhoods, and within walking distance of the Royal Palace and the city's 'Art Triangle'. The 78 rooms are done up in cosy, subdued colours that lend themselves to relaxation. If you still crave more of the stuff, though, head to the spa and opt for the two-hour face and body treatment designed exclusively for URSO by Natura Bissé. Be sure to have your home-made breakfast in The Conservatory, where you're surrounded by a vertical garden topped by a skylight to get you in the mood for the day ahead.
Could this be your dream boutique experience in Madrid? As the name indicates, you're in the Atocha barrio, just minutes from the eponymous train station and the stunning Retiro park. Providing urban comfort in relaxed yet sophisticated surroundings, the rooms in this 19th-century building are flooded with natural light by day, and make the best of electric light at night or when your curtains or drawn. Mirrored wardrobes in some rooms do their job to provide more light and the effect of more space as well. Grab a bite or drink in the cafeteria, bar or restaurant with stellar city views, or take time out to visit the Relaxarium. The lounge and common spaces feature funky and fun decor with a lot of attention to eclectic details. Maybe you don't need your tacos served in a notched log, but it's definitely something you'll remember.
Behind the non-descript façade of this building in the La Latina district is a charming boutique hotel. With just 14 soundproofed rooms under its roof, the hotel can boast that no two are alike: from the sweet doubles that look onto the impressive interior 'corrala', so typical of traditional Madrid architecture, to the Buhardilla rooms named after the slanted roof and loft style (ask for the bath with Jacuzzi!). Whether the floor in your room is black or white, all are heated, and though Madrid isn't exactly Oslo, temps can reach below zero in winter, so you'll welcome this feature as you pad around getting ready to get out and enjoy all the city has to offer. You might as well start with a coffee in nearby Plaza Mayor before you're off to the Royal Palace, Puerta del Sol and beyond.
Because of this boutique hotel's small stature – just 30 rooms – and central location in Malasaña, you might confuse it for a hostal. But you only have to cross the threshold to realise that couldn't be further from the truth. The Walt's functional design and contemporary, colourful decor, with artworks everywhere (the owner is passionate about art) are reminiscent of other big cities with New York style, where this type of accommodation is on trend. Some of the rooms have a private terrace, and all guests have access to the interior patio, speakeasy-style lounge bar, and – thanks to an agreement with the nearby Gymage Lounge Resort – a gym and swimming pool for doing laps if you can't spare your fitness routine during your holiday.
Just off Madrid's famous Gran Vía, 7 Islas is designed in immaculate gorgeousness by the renowned Kikekeller team. The relaxing, spacious rooms are light and bright, minimalist yet inviting. The three penthouse rooms, favourites of the designers, feature private terraces. Be sure to stop by the 7i Art Gallery, a fun space the Kellers included to bring art to people, and which changes the look of the hotel as the exhibitions change. When you're craving more art, you're just a 10- to 15-minute walk from some of the city's biggest and best museums. Explore your surroundings in the Malasaña and Chueca neighbourhoods, full of lively bars, restaurants and the famous Madrid nightlife.
This small mansion that was originally built in the 1880s as a private home for an artistic family has been transformed into a a five-star boutique hotel with 32 rooms. It's held on to its classic 19th-century decor, and still boasts the same façade, carriage entrance and dramatic main stairway. The bedrooms are wonderfully quiet – once installed it's hard to believe you're in the middle of a bustling city – and one of the four suites is intimately tucked away in the attic. The elegant restaurant looks on to the lovely garden patio, and you can enjoy afternoon tea there or in the lobby.
This centrally located five-star hotel in the heart of the Barrio de Las Letras combines the architectural flourishes of the 18th century with new technology. There are even protected remains of the city's historical canal system inside. The neo-classical former palace that houses the hotel was designed by Juan de Villanueva, the architect of the nearby Prado Museum. With six different types of rooms, including suites and a family room, and options of connecting rooms for groups of friends or bigger families, there's a spacious, comfy, well-lit place to stay for everyone. There's also a small gym that's open 24 hours a day and a spa room where you can book a massage.
The idea behind the creation of the 27 rooms in La Latina's Posada del Dragón was to show different styles of architecture and design throughout Madrid's history, from its origins to its Baroque period, through times when palaces were all the rage and up to today's retro styles. The building itself also has illustrious origins: it still houses remains of an early 16th-century granary which dates back to the time of Isabel La Católica. Rooms with wall-to-wall colours might be a bit overwhelming for some tastes, but you do have more muted options as well. And you won't complain about the amazing night's sleep you'll get in the dreamy viscoelastic beds in your soundproofed room.
Famous in recent times as the Beckhams' first residence in Madrid, this exquisite hotel is discreetly hidden away in the embassy-lined streets that separate Paseo de la Castellana from busy C/Santa Engracia. Out of sight behind tall walls and trees, the elegant and peaceful entrance prepares guests for the experience to come. The 51 rooms, housed in two parts of what was the residence of the Duke of Santo Mauro, are luxuriously decorated, and boast king-size beds and floor-to-ceiling picture windows hung with opulent silk drapes. The old palace library has been converted into a high-class restaurant, and former ballrooms are now conference rooms opening on to an immaculately kept garden.
Housed in the restored Palacio de los Marqueses de Quintama, the Petit Palace Santa Bárbara features stylish accommodation with contemporary decor and furnishings. You've got your choice of rooms for between one and six visitors, including family rooms and apartments, with or without views. The hotel stands between the Chueca and Chamberí neighbourhoods, so you've not got far to go at all for great shops, bars, restaurants, nightlife and plenty of things to do around the centre of Madrid. The restauarant, The Place to Be, offers international cuisine with a mix of healthy and modern signature dishes, and you can have a drink on the restaurant terrace even if you're not eating there. Ask about the Petit Palace's special services, among them free bicycle rental and a romance pack.