Madrid may be a relaxed metropolis of elegant boulevards and striking architecture, but Hotel Urso takes this sophisticated air to another level. An oasis of old-world charm in the heart of the city, the hotel is set between the districts of Chamberi, Chueca and the up-and-coming Tribunal area, making it easy to get around if you pack your walking shoes (or, you know, take an Uber).
Behind the golden facade of a palatial building which takes up the entire block, Hotel Urso's 78 rooms combine neoclassical design with every modern amenity you could hope for, while warm, muted tones will make you feel instantly relaxed - even before you visit the spa downstairs. Rooms range from the generously sized double or deluxe rooms, to sumptuous suites with four-poster beds and the option of a private terrace - the perfect spot to enjoy breakfast or a drink in Madrid's year-round sunshine.
What's for breakfast?
The more important question is "where is breakfast?" The conservatory is a glass domed patch of serenity in the centre of the hotel, with moss-covered vertical gardens, 18th-century wallpaper and leafy bamboo opening up to views of blue through the skylight above. While you peck at continental-style fare from the self-serve buffet, the kitchen will whip up eggs how you like them (loaded with bacon, please).
How about lunch and dinner?
If you can drag yourself away from the myriad of delicious markets and tapas spots in the area, Hotel Urso's restaurant offers up a pretty drool-worthy Spanish feast itself for lunch and dinner from Tuesday to Saturday. As unlike a hotel restaurant as it could be, Media Racion even has a separate entrance to the hotel, with cool, casual decor and dishes designed to share. Prices are very reasonable - unless of course you find yourself unable to choose from the menu of Iberica ham, croquetas, roasted bone marrow, and other traditional local bites, and order one of everything.
Is there a bar?
This is Madrid - what do you think? Situated in the elegant lobby, the bar offers up a wide selection of cocktails, wines and spirits alongside snacks prepared from local ingredients sourced at the neighbouring Mercado de Barcelo.
Without a doubt, the best part of Hotel Urso is the luxury spa - perfect after a long day of exploring Madrid's many galleries, parks and markets. If you feel like splurging, treat yourself to a soothing massage or facial treatment, otherwise just hit the steam hammam before cooling off in the hydrotherapy pool. There is a well-equipped gym too, should you feel the need to work off all the churros and sangria.
Things you should know
Make sure you take the gorgeous antique mahogany lift up to your floor at least once - if nothing else does, sitting on the leather bench inside as you rise majestically past the stained glass windows in the stairwell will make you feel like you've stepped back in time.
Within a short walk you can find…
So. Much. Food. Both the Mercado de San Ildefonso and Mercado San Anton are within an easy five-minute walk, offering up endless Spanish tapas and other international eats (bonus: there's a chilled rooftop bar at the latter), while the narrow streets off Calle de Hortaleza are choc-a-block with groovy tapas bars. The golden triangle of galleries and museums is also just a short walk away.