The second chapter of the series about hotels in emblematic buildings in Spain is dedicated to a city that that could not be more suitable: Madrid, the nightlife capital in our country, full of history and with an incredible architectonic legacy.
With the historical centre full of outstanding palaces and regal homes, buildings that form a part of the collective imagination of the whole country plus unforgettable streets, Madrid evolves but without renouncing its essence. Little by little it has been integrated into a more contemporary and modern profile which combines tradition and the past, this being the meeting point of people, culture, politics, power and history that it has always been.
Madrid, from the point of view of the visitor to the city offers many opportunities to discover at close range the most important buildings, in some of which you can sleep and enjoy a luxury stay during a weekend getaway or business trip. The collection of hotels in emblematic buildings in Madrid are numerous, principally concentrated in the medium priced 4 and 5 star segment of accommodation. Between all of them you can make your selection and every time you visit Madrid you can enjoy the charm of a hotel linked to the most significant moments of the history of the city or the most emblematic places.
The list starts with the oldest hotel in Spain. This is the Posada del Peine which is more than 400 years old and served as accommodation for all those who passed through Madrid and wanted to sleep above the arches of the Plaza Mayor in the famous Calle Postas.
The building (it is actually three separate premises, from different eras and styles, joined together) conserves all its charm even though it has had to adapt to the times and you will find within its’ walls one of the most charming boutique hotels in Madrid. Designer styled rooms with the latest technology and iPad and Wifi free of charge. All combined with a design that has maintained the key elements of the original inn creating an ambiance that invites you to travel through time (but, of course, without renouncing comfort). The proposal is interesting and there is still the spirit of the legend throughout the building, of which it is said that some of the rooms are connected by secret passages.
If we continue admiring the buildings throughout this central area of Madrid, without doubt we will end up focusing on the building that crowns the joining of the Calle Alcala and the Gran Via, the Union and Fenix building which is now known as the Edificio Metropolis because during the 70’s the building was acquired by an insurance company of this name.
The building is of French style, is maintained by the company and has no accommodation, therefore you can only enjoy its beauty from the exterior. It is one of the most photographed buildings in Madrid.
La Union and Fenix company left this singular building to install themselves in another just a short walk up the Gran Via, near to the underground Sevilla, at No 2 Calle Virgen de los Peligros. In the imposing building, clearly in New York style, there is now a modern hotel, one of the few designer hotels of the sixties in Madrid, amusing colours, elegant lines, and retro furniture with comfortable services.
A getaway with friends or with your partner will be really worth while and the the night time illumination of the facade is a show not to be missed. Regarding the interior facilities, the most notable is that it is one of the few hotels in Madrid with free Wifi and laptops in the bedrooms.
On entering the heart of the Gran Via, in the Plaza Callao, we find another jewel of Madrid architecture and one of the icons of the city: the Edificio Carrion, one of the symbols of Madrid and the Gran Via, also called the Capitol or Schweppes, due to the large illuminated sign on the top of the building. It is said that it was the first building in Madrid to have air conditioning and it has been immortalised in thousands of photographs and quite a few films.
Today, just behind the very well known neon Schweppes sign, is hidden a remarkable designer art deco hotel: the Vincci Capitol, a 4 star hotel with incredible suites, specially reserved for romantic getaways in the centre of Madrid. Those on the highest floors just behind the neon sign are semicircular and in the centre they have a round bed in tribute to the round top of the famous bottle of tonic.
Another of the great buildings in Madrid, also situated in the Gran Via, is the Edificio Telefonica, which is considered to be one of the first European skyscrapers and was inaugurated at the same time as the Empire State Building (their source of inspiration) in New York.
This is one of the building that has the most historic events preserved within its walls. Damaged by bombs during the Spanish Civil War, it is a corner of culture for lovers of literature and journalism. Two of the maximum exponents of history were the war time reporters, John Dos Passos and Ernest Hemingway, who wrote a number of their chronicles from this building. The building is the property of the company which gives its name to the building and the same as the Edificio Metropolis, there is no possibility to spend the night here. What a shame.
Another building that has converted into a famous meeting place, mixing history with night life, is the Hotel de las Letras at Gran Via 11: the roof terrace in summer is a chill out area open to the general public and there are many locals and visitors who enjoy a cocktail and the incredible views. You need to bear in mind that the cocktails are around 20€ each!
A few metres away and in the middle of the Puerta del Sol near to the Calle Arenal, you will find one of those boutique hotel in Madrid that have grown witnessing history in the Spanish capitol. The Petit Palace Puerta del Sol constructed in a beautiful 19th century building, is an interesting hotel for getaways to Madrid or for a business trip because it is perfectly connected with all the city and the with extra value of being able to enjoy a room with views of the Puerto del Sol.