Gran Meliá Fénix

Calle de Hermosilla, 2, 28001 Madrid, Spain

The Beatles stayed here. Cary Grant stayed here. The Spanish royal family has even stayed here, in their own home city. Can there be any better endorsement?

A grande dame in a city known for drama and extravagance, the Gran Meliá Fénix is exactly the kind of traditionally luxe hotel every European capital needs. An imposing structure presiding over one of Madrid’s main avenues, the hotel’s first impression is topped only by its second: a columned marble lobby worthy of a palace, filled with elegant Louis XVII chairs and crowned with a stained-glass dome. Rooms exude Old World splendor, while Red Level suites take the royal residence atmosphere to the next level, with over-the-top service that includes a private lounge with an open bar, free breakfast, and a private balcony overlooking the city—even though many of the top suites also have scenic private terraces with hot tubs.

As with all opulent institutions, even nonresidents participate in the hotel’s ritzy society scene, courtesy of its acclaimed, art deco–styled brasserie and sultry cocktail bar where, if you order a martini, you’ll receive a numbered certificate in accordance with the automated martini counter over the bar. But, with a scene like this, most guests here don’t worry about counting their martinis.

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