Standing proud on the Gran Via ( Madrid's "great lane") in an equally impressive 20th-century mansion, The Principal couldn't be better located for exploring the capital's many galleries, museums and parks. But far from being a soulless tourist sleeping spot, this boutique hotel channels a members' club vibe where grand interiors such as high ceilings, stained-glass windows and gilt-framed oil paintings meet millennial-pink velvet chairs, slate-grey walls and architectural brass chandeliers.
A haven amid the downtown bustle, the hotel's air of eclectic sophistication is reflective of a neighbourhood which has long been popular among well-heeled local creatives thanks to an array of interesting bars and tapas joints. But The Principal offers solid competition in the form of a contemporary restaurant and bar, as well as an Instagrammable vine-strung conservatory and highly coveted roof terrace.
The hotel's 76 rooms follow a muted colour palette, spruced up with stylish touches such as minimalist leather chairs and quirky sketch drawings, with light pouring in from floor-to-ceiling windows. Sleek black-and-white bathrooms are completed by hi-tech power showers and Gilbert & Soames toiletries.
What's for breakfast?
Head up to the sixth floor for a carefully curated buffet of quality Spanish produce such as Ibérico jamón as well the usual eggs, pastries and fruit. If you miss it, grab some miniature sandwiches and cakes from the well-stocked platter in the lobby.
How about lunch and dinner?
Restaurant Atico has become a dining destination in itself thanks to head chef Ramón Freixa, who holds two Michelin stars for his restaurant at the hotel's sister property, Hotel Único. Offering Mediterranean cuisine, a well-thought out menu boasts traditional plates such as crispy croquettes and melt-in-the-mouth octopus alongside modern options like tuna tartare with kimchi or soft-shell crab with black rice. Sweeping dusky pink curtains, black lacquer tables and gleaming marble floors make for a fine-dining feel with a relaxed atmosphere.
Is there a bar?
Yes. White columns, red umbrellas and and olive trees mean rooftop La Terraza is the best place for a cold glass of cava, though skilled mixologists will happily create something more trailblazing. If you happen to be in Madrid on one of the few days it rains, settle down at the inside bar which feels like a grand private home.
A compact gym, spa and rooftop. Impeccable staff are particularly on the ball.
Things you should know
While the sun-baked rooftop beckons with loungers, the pool is purely ornamental - do not attempt to swim in it.
Within a short walk you can find…
Gran Via is Madrid's main artery, so it's a hop, skip and a jump to sites such as Puerta de Alcalá, Plaza Mayor and the Prado museum, as well as the neighbourhood's many boutiques, bars and restaurants.