I was unprepared to love this hotel so much! I arrived early evening in November after nineteen days of wandering in Morocco. The neighborhood sets the stage for the opulence, the area is quite glammy. The drive up the Paseo del Prado is stunning, festooned with immense stone monuments, beautiful flower beds, the massive tree lined del Prado was just on the edge of winter, the brilliant rosy leaves were still intact and many of the gardens were still blooming. Madrid is truly a very elegant city and I had never visited. My first thought was this is so like Paris.
Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid faces the Paseo del Prado, the tree-lined boulevard punctuated by fountains that links the city’s major museums. The hotel is in the elegant Jerónimos neighborhood, where many members of the Spanish aristocracy had sumptuous homes in the handsome late 19th-century buildings. The opening of the hotel in 1910 had a big influence on the architecture of the area, with Parisian features such as sensual curves softening the more austere traditional style. You may recognize the streets from Pedro Almodóvar’s film Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (Mujeres al Borde de un Ataque de Nervios).
Situated within the historic ‘Golden Triangle of Art’, an area defined by the most important museums in the city – the property’s location within a prestigious residential area close to Madrid’s financial and commercial district and to El Retiro Park, adds to its appeal in one of Europe’s greatest capitals. Renowned Parisian designers Gilles & Boissier, have created a sophisticated residential design for the 100 rooms and 53 suites, including several one-of-a-kind specialty suites, featuring unique design elements inspired by the hotel’s historic connections to the city, Spanish culture, and art.
A Grand Palace that dates to the 2nd of October 1910, which witnessed the grand opening of The Ritz Madrid. The opening ceremony of what was meant to be one of the Europe’s finest hotels was performed by guests of honor, King Alfonso XIII and his Queen Victoria Eugenia, granddaughter of the English Monarch Queen Victoria. The young King had been instrumental in this exciting new adventure, the creation of the first genuine luxury hotel in Spain. Travelling widely throughout Europe and experiencing the standards of excellence of numerous new Palace Hotels, he was determined to modernize his own country and make Madrid a city equal to other European capitals, with a truly luxurious hotel that could accommodate visiting guests and dignitaries.
Not only did the Ritz Development Company use the architect of the famous Hotel Ritz in Paris, but they also invited César Ritz, “hotelier par excellence” and father of the Ritz Paris, to be involved in the creation of this new hotel which was to carry his name. César Ritz was not only an outstanding hotelier but a showman, a brilliant director and producer who set the stage for the star performance of his illustrious clientele.
What distinguished César Ritz’s hotels from other Palace hotels at the time, was the noble proportions of the architecture, the beauty and exquisite taste of the interior, the unfailing personal attention to detail and that often-elusive commodity, great style. Elements that have all been revived today. More than 100 years later, the unequalled style of hotel management and design which César Ritz originally brought to the city, has been restored and perfected for a new generation to experience at Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid.
An art collection inspired by the historic city collections. Every work of art at Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid has been specifically chosen to draw on the city’s artistic legacy. In its attention to minute, beautiful details, the collection of close-ups from the Museo del Prado hopes to draw the guest in, to relish in the painterly aspects of the original paintings and to inspire guests to visit the museum with a different perspective. It is the idea of reinvention and finding the new in the old that guided the selection of artwork for Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid. Like the building itself, the hotel’s artwork honor’s the past with new interpretations. The collection acknowledges the rich history of the hotel and the art from Madrid’s world-class museums Fans, decorative and the iconic Mandarin logo play a dynamic part of the décor and provide a suggestion of place, Madrid. An antique pearl and lace fan resides in an ornate case in the lobby, the back wall of the reception area hosts a resplendent sculpture representing the movement of a flamenco dancers’ fan. The brilliant imagery says so much about the attention to detail of the Mandarin.
The entrance is impressive, pass by the formally dressed doormen into a grand five-star old world experience; the massive lobby retains the original magnificent staircase which sits below an ornate celling sculpture of hundreds of quivering gold and silver leaves, a reflection of the nearby Retiro Park; the leaves gracefully flutter over the lobby as if they have just been picked off the ground. I was told the artist, Haberdashery, sprinkled the leaves on the ground and designed the installation as if the collection had just fallen to the ground. Daylight from the overhead crystal canopy roof add exceptional drama to the reflections.
High tea was being served at chic tables, underneath a beautiful crystal canopy ceiling, the Palm Court offers an elegant setting for refined all-day dining and Afternoon Tea. The furnishings are opulent, classic tapestry style embroidered fabrics in botanical prints set the stage. A grand piano provides delightful background music to the beyond beautiful guests, if these were locals, I would suggest that the grand dame Señora’s of Madrid must congregate here as everyone was stylishly dressed and coiffed, it looked like a scene from a majestic movie set!
At the beating heart of the hotel, under the crystal canopy ceiling of the Palm Court lies the intimate Champagne Bar. A cozy venue with only 8 seats, guests can pair a glass of champagne from an impressive array of renowned houses with caviar, oysters, white truffle or Iberian Ham among other delicacies. El Jardin del Ritz was in full swing, lovely fountains adding to the ambiance. Serving signature amuse bouche tapas menu alongside a host of creative cocktails, mocktails and wine, the Ritz Garden is open all year weather permitting and is a divine location to catch up with friends in Madrid’s balmy weather.
This property has much to do with royalty, it only seemed fitting I would be treated like a queen, all my wishes were granted. My stunning Prado Suite faced the del Prado Museum, with a view filtered by the brilliant orange and yellow leaves of a late fall. A separate living room provided a cozy space to work and enjoy the view. Bathroom is massive, two loos, and a soaking tub designed to share, truly exquisite! Butler floor assures all needs will be met in a very timely fashion, when the bell rings around cocktail time, do answer, as trays of elegant canapes reflecting the feasting heritage of Spain and wine, or bubbly are grandly delivered.
After my site inspection, I popped into the gorgeous hotel bar, Pictura, totally swoon worthy! Opulent and sophisticated the focal point is the bar counter, backed by a museum-inspired mural of different Spanish artisans, the oversize photos appear to be renditions of Museum Old Masters, however the subjects dressed in period clothing are local luminaries. Poets, politicians, artists and painters in classic costume, a collage of photographic portraits by local artist Paula Anta. The bar seemed to host locals and guests, who wouldn’t want to curl into a corner booth and sip bubbly with this stunning backdrop, I could have stayed for hours.
After an afternoon exploring the street scenes of Madrid, I moseyed to the elegant serene indoor plunge. Walls of white marble frame the long lap pool, offset by a gold canopy frame space filled with several elegant loungers. The humid hushed environment stimulates naps, it’s a quiet relaxing location, perfect for a quiet read or snooze pre-evening entertainment! An urban sanctuary in the heart of the city the facilities include a dedicated treatment room, fitness center, and spa which offers an array of bespoke holistic therapies, designed by The Beauty Concept.
Dining with a Capital D! Designed, developed and overseen by Chef Quique Dacosta, who has five Michelin stars to his name in his native region of Valencia and is now bringing his Mediterranean magic to Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid where his signature restaurant looks out onto the garden. Each of the five bars and restaurants enjoys its own unique character, offering delicious cuisine and inventive cocktails served in exquisite surroundings. Dacosta is one of the biggest names in Spanish food, he oversaw the gastronomy of the hotel’s five restaurants and bars. The hard-to-get reservation is at Deesa, which has two tasting menus’, the signature fine dining restaurant located in the stunning Alfonso XIII room.
I have no doubt in my mind that our clients and all fortunate guests staying at the Mandarin Oriental will experience the same regal treatment. Highly Recommend, if you are seeking old world glamour, elegance, divine dining, and exceptional location as well.
What’s not to love? Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid won me over.