If offered any location in the city, many a Madrileño would probably choose to live on the Parque del Retiro, a 350-acre park—once reserved for the royal family—that’s now the heart of the Spanish capital. A century ago, the aristocrats who built the private mansion later to become the AC Palacio del Retiro had the same idea, and so they commissioned an opulent ode to fashionable tastes and extravagant lifestyles, including frescoes by the hottest artists of the time, stained-glass windows from Paris, balconies overlooking the park, and an elevator to carry their horses up to the rooftop riding ring.
These days, the palace lacks horses, but the trendsetting and luxury themes remain. While the ornate neoclassical architecture has been lovingly preserved, the design team has complemented it with modern art and decor, such as Lichtenstein silkscreen prints and sleek midcentury furnishings. Carved wood panels and marble fireplaces sit side by side with Mies van der Rohe chairs. And, just as if the original aristocrats still lived here, every whim is answered without question. Who needs to find their own palace on the park when there’s the Palacio del Retiro?