The renaissance of Madrid's hotel scene. (updated March 2020)
I´m republishing this post from over a year ago, with updated photographs of the facade of the fabulous now completed Four Seasons which I took in February when it was just about to open.
When all this is over I´ll be popping back for lunch or simply a coffee in the lobby bar when meeting clients, I´ll be reminded of my times in Mexico.
When I arrived in Madrid in 2013 there were a number of well-established 5 star hotels, which were great if you wanted to stay in smart hotels in the classic style - but most of which hadn’t seen a lot of updating in the previous years. I had moved to Madrid from Mexico’s Pacific coast and seen at first hand the influx of the new wave of luxury hotels and their clients on that part of the west coast from 1999 onwards. In Punta Mita the first hotel to open was the Four Seasons. Five years ago Madrid was languishing behind when it came to new openings of hotels in this league. (I remember when a couple of years ago some friends came from London and stayed in the best hotel I could think of at the time. They noticed the a/c wasn’t working and when they called down to reception they were sent up a old fashioned fan! They were pretty under awed by their stay.
In the past few years in central Madrid we have seen an incredible number of world restaurants with new places opening up here on seemingly a weekly basis. Now the hotel scene is finally catching up as international interest in Madrid continues to increase and hoteliers and investors bet on Madrid. Slowly but surely over the past few years we have seen several gorgeous boutique hotels opening (Urso, the Urban, Only You, The Unico, The Principal and the just opened Heritage among several others) with trendy bars and restaurants, rooftop pools or funky terraces, Michelin-starred chefs and pop-up restaurants with guest chefs from all over the country, all set of course in the ultimate in spectacular interior design.
But the buzz this year is all about the opening of the large global brands in Madrid which will really bring the city back to the level of London or Paris. So far we have seen the new Hyatt opened on Gran Via, and a a huge Riu is under way to open in the emblematic 27 floor Edificio España with 589 rooms along with a three storey shopping centre, restaurants and other amenities. But to me the greatest game changer in the scene will be the arrival of the Four Seasons in the Canalejas building in Sol next year. The Four Seasons has long had a solid client base who only stay in their hotels, so the opening of this hotel here will certainly being a new breed of well-heeled tourist to Madrid. As well as hotel rooms you can also buy into the whole experience with their branded real estate offerings.
As for the Ritz, the grande dame of Madrid hotels, the Mandarin Oriental announced that it was closing the hotel in January of this year for a 121m USD (99m EUR) refurbishment. (Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group acquired Ritz in 2015 for US$148 million in a joint venture with The Olayan Group, an international investment group with a long history of success in the Middle East, Europe and the US.)
The W will also open in a hotel in Madrid later this year, with a 141 room hotel also in the Canalejas Plaza. W hotels (part of Starwood group) tend to appeal to a younger trendier demographic from the Four Seasons and their new openings will bring the number of W hotels to a total of 4 in Spain; along with the existing Barcelona hotel two more are to open in Marbella and Ibiza.
The St Regis and The Peninsula groups are also rumoured to be looking for space in Madrid.
Hotel investment in Spain reached a record €3.9 billion in 2017, beating the previous record of €2.6 billion that was set in 2015, according to the Insights on the Hotel Investment Market in Spain 2017, (article) with Madrid claiming the lead again for urban investment with €637 million in purchases of existing hotels and conversions. With all these openings a new wave of hotel guests isn't far behind.
References and more reading.