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AC Palacio del Retiro

Spain   Madrid   City Centre   Why Madrid?
Madrid Barajas 20km
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Reviewed by Michael Soffe

“AL LADO” DEL PRADO ..............

Literally translated as “beside the Prado”. Situated on Calle Alfonso XII, this fabulous conversion and contemporary mix of old and new is the most convenient Hotel for visiting Madrid’s trio of galleries: the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Collection and the Reina Sophia Gallery. It is placed equidistant between the two metro stations of Banco de Espana and Retiro on Line 2.

We do not normally feature Hotels of large Hotel chains, but AC Hotels have now decided (and should be congratulated!) that smaller boutique Hotels are the way forward. They have several new Hotels of this style under construction, converting old buildings into “chic retreats”. I thought this Hotel was wonderful and could see why it is gaining an ever-increasing excellent reputation.

An imposing building, on entering you are immediately “wowed” by the funky black and cream reception with blue fluorescent lighting creeping up from the floors – and you thought you had come to an old palace!!! Your eye is drawn to a large white/silver hand on the black glass doors of the restaurant in front of you. This is a five star Hotel and service is paramount. Lovely reception staff will check you in and as you make your way to your room it is only then that “the palace” becomes apparent. A protected building, original features have been kept and restored. The grand old staircase is a feature of the lobby area and there is even a beautiful old “art deco” style lift (sadly no longer useable for “health and safety” reasons – do not worry, modern lifts are available too!). The main staircase even has the original carpet (over a 100 years old) which is looking a bit threadbare in places but somehow adds to the striking effect that you get when you contrast old and contemporary styles.

There is a small spa with Jacuzzi, Sauna and Turkish bath. Massage and beauty treatments are available as is a small Gymnasium. There are a couple of comfortable salons and a bar.

The 51 bedrooms are an eclectic mix of old and new. They are large for a city Hotel and have a sense of space and light. They are beautiful. Many of the Suites have columned windows overlooking the park and are ideally suited for honeymooners. Some ceilings have original alabaster mouldings and some of the suites have old (non-working) fireplaces mixed with contemporary parquet floors and modern touches. The Presidential suite is, incredibly, in the old library of the palace and carved wooden bookshelves line the walls giving a sense of grandeur to this beautiful room. Bathrooms are modern and stunning in their own way. Some rooms have showers only (albeit large walk-in ones). Some bathrooms are separated from the bedrooms by “Warhol-esque” style paintings on glass. Rooms have flat-screen satellite TV, heating, air-con, CDs, bathrobes, slippers and hairdryers. The mini-bar is complimentary. Single travellers often find themselves in a cupboard at the top of a building – not the case here!! You get a smaller room (but still large) and a double bed, plus all the features of the doubles and suites. There are two rooms especially adapted for wheelchair access and for those with mobility problems. There is some traffic noise from the main Alfonso XII road, but I found this to be minimal. There are interior rooms overlooking patios (therefore no views) if you are a light sleeper.

Breakfasts (not included) are served at your leisure in the main restaurant “Indice” next to reception. It is waiter service and you can choose from a very extensive breakfast feast. The restaurant is well known (Head Chef id David Herrand - one of Madrid's rising culinary stars) and is open to the public for both lunch and dinner. It is a very contemporary black and white design with beautifully presented tables. Chic, chic, chic! 24-hour room service is also available.

An ideal Hotel for those who want a grand historical building with exquisite contemporary touches. Its location for the art galleries is unbeatable. Away from the hustle and bustle of Gran Via but just a short metro or taxi ride to the trendy Chueca area.

Gourmet restaurant


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From 300€ to 999,99€

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Please Note - the prices should be used as a rough guide only. The Hotel operates a policy new to the Hotel industry, similar to that of low-cost airlines with prices fluctuating according to occupation levels of the Hotel. The earlier you book the better deal you will get. We can guarantee that we will get the best deal available at the time of booking with prices sometimes much less than those listed above. Late deals may also be available so please contact s and we will do our best!

The Hotel requires credit card details in order to confirm a reservation.

Cancellations made within 24 hours of arrival will incur the charge of the total cost of the first nights accommodation.

"No Shows" or early departure will result in the total cost of the reservation being charged.

For all cancellations will charge an administration fee of 15 Euros.