Spain takes its food seriously. After all, it’s the country that gave birth to El Bulli and, as of 2015, has 169 Michelin-starred restaurants (11 in Madrid alone). So it comes as no surprise that a top hotel on a main boulevard in the capital should be home to one of these temples to gastronomy, the two-Michelin-starred Santceloni. But the Hotel Hesperia Madrid doesn’t content itself with just a world-class restaurant. No, this sleek retreat—decorated boldly by some of Spain’s top designers, including Pascua Ortega, Erico Navazo, and Mercedes Gonzalez López-de-Carrizosa—is devoted to the best of contemporary Spanish dining, with a total of three acclaimed restaurants and a sultry scotch bar attracting the most discerning palates in Madrileño society. In between decadent meals—and exploring the ritzy shopping and myriad sights just outside the hotel’s front door—work up an appetite at the open-air gym up on the rooftop, yet another of the Hesperia’s claims to fame.
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The Hesperia Madrid may be a quick bus or metro ride north of the city center, but its location on the fringes of the rapidly gentrifying Cuatro Caminos area—across the grand, tree-lined boulevard of the Paseo de la Castellana from the National Museum of Natural History—puts guests in one of the coolest local neighborhoods in Madrid. Just as the hotel itself is home to the Michelin-starred Santceloni, the area is filled with some of the city’s top restaurants, including the world-renowned DiverXO, iconic Zalacaín, and down-home Taberna Asturianos. Thanks to an influx of Latin American immigrants, innovative eateries are also here. Owned by two Argentines, the midcentury diner–style Sudestada serves Southeast Asian cuisine, while Chifa touts Chinese-Peruvian fusion.
Need to Know
Rooms: 171 rooms, 32 suites. From $190. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The hotel’s claim to fame is its two-Michelin-starred restaurant, Santceloni, an elegant and unfussy dining room that seats just 45 lucky diners and lets its inventive, unpretentious riff on classic cuisine from across the Iberian Peninsula speak for itself. Both à la carte and tasting menus are available, alongside a world-class wine list. In a lemon tree–lined atrium, the breezy La Manzana restaurant serves Spanish favorites throughout the day to a discerning crowd of power diners. An extensive breakfast buffet is served here, as well, and includes a specially designed antioxidant option for the more health-conscious. The freshest of fish is served at the Hikari Sushi Bar, one of Madrid’s top Japanese restaurants. True to its name, the lobby Scotch Bar boasts a comprehensive selection of whiskeys—alongside cocktails and other spirits—often accompanied by live music and light bites. Spa and gym details: In addition to an open-air rooftop gym overlooking the city, the hotel has a running club, offered in conjunction with the Metropolitan Club, where guests can go on guided runs with a professional runner; running clothes are even provided. Although it lacks a full spa, the hotel does offer salon services and a small range of spa treatments.
Who's it best for: Foodies and lovers of classic luxury hotels. Our favorite rooms: The Royal, Presidential, and Penthouse suites all have private rooftop terraces with plenty of shading greenery and romantic hot tubs, but any top-floor room has panoramic views of the Paseo de la Castellana and the city’s roofs. Cooking class: The Hesperia Madrid’s award-winning eateries periodically offer opportunities to engage with the chefs and the cuisine through exclusive events like sushi master classes.