The Hotel Único isn’t fooling around. For all the pops of color and geometric modern sculptures scattered throughout, the cutting-edge technology in rooms, extensive book and DVD library, and whimsical cocktails and creative takes on Spanish classics, this stately 19th-century townhouse in Madrid’s ritzy Salamanca neighborhood is one of the city’s most grown-up hotels. It would have to be, to be home to a two-Michelin-starred restaurant that’s regularly hailed as the city’s best. And each high-ceilinged, wood-floored room and suite—decorated in celebrated designer Pau Guardans’ black-and-white take on Mad Men—shouts sultry rendezvous rather than drop-and-go crash pad. A haven in the bustling capital, the serene manicured gardens with mesmerizing Spanish guitar performances by evening aren’t meant to be traversed by screaming children, nor are the living room–like library and free treat–stocked lounge intended for raucous parties—which would explain why they’re open to guests only, so you can sip scotch and lounge well into the wee hours. So, no, the Hotel Único isn’t fooling around, but it sure knows how to have a good time.
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Surrounded by refined belle epoque townhouses on a tree-lined street in Madrid’s ritzy Salamanca neighborhood, the Hotel Único claims an address many Madrileños would envy, with much of the city’s top dining and designer shopping within a stone’s throw. Calle de Serrano, one of Madrid’s top shopping destinations, is just a block away, and the surrounding streets are filled with high-end boutiques and chic cafés. While Salamanca can feel a bit sleepy and residential, the vibrant nightlife and hipster shops of the up-and-coming Salesas area are just a neighborhood away. Several metro stations put the entire city within easy reach, although even major sights like the Parque del Retiro and Museo del Prado are less than a 20-minute stroll through the scenic streets.
Need to Know
Rooms: 44 rooms, six suites. From $134. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: Often touted as Madrid’s best restaurant, the two-Michelin-starred Ramón Freixa Madrid serves inventive seasonal dishes—including its iconic duck burger with green mustard ice cream—that highlight Spanish classics through contemporary molecular gastronomic techniques. A clean-lined vision of modern furnishings in an elegant, Old World salon, the stylized dining room overlooks the manicured garden, open as the less formal Fora Garden Bar in the warmer months, when tapas, cocktails, and live music are de rigueur. The living room–like lounge is also equipped with a free snack bar for guests to enjoy at any hour, room service is available around the clock, and an extensive breakfast buffet is served daily, although not included in all rates. Spa and gym details: The spacious, well-equipped modern gym offers personal training appointments, and the Wellness Suite boasts a full range of massage treatments.
Who's it best for: Well-heeled design lovers, unfussy couples on a romantic weekend, and foodies who want easy access to Madrid’s top eatery. Our favorite rooms: Any of the rooms overlooking the leafy garden have serene, picturesque views, and many have Juliet balconies. Room 101 has a large private terrace, while one of the Deluxe King Garden rooms has two private balconies. Rooms on the top floor also have sloped ceilings with exposed beams for added atmosphere. Dining scene: Not only is the restaurant’s weekend brunch quite the affair, a not-to-miss fixture of discerning Salamanca’s society set, but Ramón Freixa’s “Nací en el Mediterráneo” lunch menu is especially popular for power lunches, with its fresh, light bites.