Last fall, after I meandered the medinas of Fez and Marrakech, the intricate maze of the souks, the ancient cities, and the deserts of Morocco, I moved on to Europe’s sunniest capital city, Madrid. A first peek for me I will return for the full Spain architecture and gastronomic tour.
There’s a spicy unique rhythm to life in Spain. From the staccato of the fiery flamenco dancers, animated chatter over tapas and rioja, bustling boulevards and cobblestone walkways, the excitement is palpable in Madrid.
Great care and thoroughness were taken to transform this notable corner in Madrid, seven historical buildings (including the Banco Español de Crédito, the Banco Hispano Americano, and the Equitable Life Assurance) have been painstakingly transformed into Spain’s first Four Seasons.
Endless cultural and culinary options, Madrid, Spain’s central capital, is a city of elegant boulevards and expansive, manicured parks such as the Buen Retiro. My first evening in Madrid will begin with a walk trough the historic Tapas District, the largest in Spain, every evening the area comes alive.
You can indulge in the variety of savory Tapas and specialties found in the popular Mercado de San Miguel a 19th century building, which every evening prepares great Tapas. I’m enjoyed an evening visiting a couple of historic and popular bars joining locals in their favorite evening pastime, tasting their specialties accompanied by the excellent local wines. Whether it’s Tapas, lunch or dinner, Madrid offers the gourmet lover, exquisite traditional gastronomy as well as a Fusion Cuisine, always accompanied by the best wines.
Four Seasons is an easy walk to three of the world’s best art museums, including The Prado with its masterworks by Velázquez, the Thyssen-Bornemisza with spectacular pieces by the Impressionists, and the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, home to Pablo Picasso’s “Guernica.” Let us arrange a private tour with an expert art consultant as your guide. It’s renowned for its opulent repositories of European art, including the Prado Museum’s works by Goya, Velázquez and other Spanish masters. The heart of old Hapsburg Madrid is the portico-lined Plaza Mayor, and nearby is the baroque Royal Palace and Armory, displaying historic weaponry. There’s far more to this vibrant city than tapas, bullfighting and flamenco although you will find all three here in abundance.
Four Seasons – Designed by Estudio Lamela with interior designs by BAMO, you may have seen the BAMO collaborate posts on my website. BAMO has designed a handful of Four Seasons properties.
History comes to life with vibrant modern energy at Four Seasons Hotel Madrid. In the very heart of the capital – within walking distance of all the key attractions – seven historical buildings have been transformed into one dynamic destination. The innovative Centro Canalejas unites a collection of seven historical buildings, all impeccably restored and reimagined. The oldest part of the complex, originally El Palacio de la Equitativa, dates to 1887. The dramatic rotunda, topped by a copper cupola, towers over the corner of Calle de Alcalá. Equally impressive is the neighboring façade of the Banco Hispano Americano headquarters, begun in 1902 and today forming the main entrance to the luxury shops of Galería Canalejas.
Among the 200 guest rooms and suites, there are many one-of-a-kind layouts. Some are designed on two levels connected by a short staircase. Some feature step-out balconies or spacious private terraces – ideal for enjoying Madrid’s warm weather and views. Throughout the building, you’ll find over 3,700 original artefacts – intricate stone floors, fireplaces and large brass door pulls – creating a connection to history rarely seen in a contemporary hotel. The largest spa in the city combining four levels of sybaritic bliss and a sun-drenched indoor pool terrace, offer a high level of self indulgence! I spent an entire afternoon lapping up the opulent spa luxury!
Discover the newest dining destination by Spanish celebrity chef Dani García. Casually elegant, this dynamic brasserie combines Michelin-starred specialties with traditional Andalusian cuisine. Enjoy it all with unparalleled rooftop views. Accommodations are adorned with traditional and modern details, plush furnishings, and al fresco spaces to soak in the views.
We are Four Seasons Preferred Partners.
‘Madrid is a strange place anyway. I do not believe anyone likes it much when he first goes there. It has none of the looks that you expect of Spain. Yet when you get to know it, it is the most Spanish of all cities, the best to live in, the finest people, month in and month out the finest climate. It is in Madrid only that you get the essence. The essence, when it is the essence, can be in a plain glass bottle and you need no fancy labels. But when you can have the Prado at the same time as El Escorial two hours to the north and Toledo to the south, a fine road to Avila and a fine road to Segovia, which is no distance from La Granja, it makes you feel very badly, all question of immortality aside, to know that you will have to die and never see it again.’ – Ernest Hemingw