For all that Spain prides itself on its art and design, it’s rare for the emphasis to be on anything that’s not, well, Spanish. Enter the Hotel Urban, a trendy favorite of the international (and local, for that matter) jet-set crew. The space could double as an Asian and African art museum. From the Papua New Guinean jewelry and ceremonial chairs in the lobby courtyard to the 18th-century Chinese portraits and 19th-century Hindu statues that adorn the walls of rooms and suites, the hotel’s varied collection stands in stark contrast to the sleek, clean-lined architecture and glittering urban design. Even the building itself is a work of art. A grand staircase is lined in gold mosaic done by the preservationists who work on Venice’s Basilica San Marco, and an imposing central column is carved from Zimbabwean black stone. Loftlike rooms resemble an art collector’s private residence, and floor-to-ceiling windows incorporate yet another work of art—the cityscape outside. Indeed, the city almost steals the show at two of the hotel’s four hip restaurants and bars; those located on the rooftop attract the cognoscenti as much for the views as for their acclaimed cocktails and bites.
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In the center of Madrid, in the heart of the hip and historic Cortes neighborhood, the Hotel Urban claims an enviable address on the iconic Carrera de San Jerónimo, a bustling block between the Puerta del Sol and the Plaza de las Cortes. The area is filled with the city’s trendiest nightlife—this part of Madrid never sleeps—and the streets are lined with art and street performers. Go on a tapas tour (or get lost amid the winding streets on a self-guided tapas crawl) to sample the best the city has to offer, and make like a local with a sherry tasting. For the ultimate culinary experience, make your way to the famous Mercado de San Miguel, just on the other side of the Puerta del Sol, which is packed with every kind of Spanish food imaginable.
Need to Know
Rooms: 96 rooms, 29 suites. From $307. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: The Hotel Urban’s four eateries and bars are among the trendiest in Madrid, attracting a hip, beautiful crowd to their acclaimed cuisine and inventive cocktails. The Europa Decó restaurant, on the ground floor, is a slick and shiny fine-dining affair looking out on the art-filled interior courtyard, serving a seafood-focused menu of Mediterranean cuisine alongside a curated wine list. Outfitted with a crystal chandelier from Morocco and Philippe Starck’s signature Ghost chairs, the adjacent Glass Bar buzzes at all hours with creatives and glitterati who are attracted to its oysters, cocktails, and everything in between. Up on the roof, La Terraza del Urban cocktail bar is similarly lively, its bird’s-eye city views drawing in-the-know locals late into the night during summer, while the attached El Cielo del Urban restaurant serves tapas and other gourmet bites against the same panoramic backdrop. Spa and gym details: The unheated rooftop pool is the highlight of the hotel’s wellness facilities—it’s open year-round, but is only staffed in the summer months, when the rooftop bar is open. The hotel also has a small fitness center and a sauna.
Who's it best for: Partygoing jet-setters, foodies, and art lovers. Our favorite rooms: Although not the largest rooms in the house, the Junior Duplex Suites may be the most distinctive, with two sleek, modern floors of dark wood, gold-tinted chrome, and natural stone. They are decorated with museum- and gallery-worthy art pieces and have a decadent marble soaking tub. For urban pied-à-terre caliber luxury, the Loft Suite takes the duplex model to new heights, with two-story-high windows overlooking the Carrera de San Jerónimo and even more art and materials from exotic locales. Art everywhere: The entire hotel may be filled with art, but don’t miss the museum-caliber galleries dedicated to Papua New Guinean and ancient Egyptian works.