The epicentre of Spain, is Madrid. Sure, there may be opposing opinions from Valencia, Seville or Barcelona, all dynamic cities. But when it comes to having it all, few cities, almost anywhere, Madrid is tops.
Firstly, it you’re a culture vulture, there are the over 40 museums plus many galleries. If fashion is your passion, you don’t have to look or walk very far for finery on Serrano or Calle Jorge Juan or other less expensive areas like Las Letros. Food?, how can you not be overwhelmed by the choices and the numerous eateries from top end to lesser priced or just go to one of the many mercadoes (markets) for your ‘nosh’..
And on to one of my favourite subjects..hotels. I love hotels that are luxurious, well serviced, obviously well tended to with great care and thought given to decor and architecture. Places where I want to return to every day.
As a solo female traveler, a hotel with a cafe or a few restaurants is important since Spanish eating hours are an entity to Spain, when their dinners only begin at 9.30 onwards. On my own, it isn’t a good idea to challenge safety. And by the way, Madrid is safe but I do tend to be aware of the areas I visit and the times to get back to my accommodations.
However, one day, I hired a taxi, and when the driver pulled up to a black wrought iron fence that looked locked (which it wasn’t) and I peered between the structure, what I saw was startlingly stunning.
In a most desirable location, Chamberi, (Zurbano, 36) was a large circular rotunda. One of the three buildings had an overhang of a glass and wrought iron canopy. The signage is discreet. Santo Mauro, is a new acquisition to the growing Marriott Hotel brand, now going very top end. This relatively (2016) new acquisition is one of their Autograph Collections.
Hotel Santo Maura, with only 49 rooms, in three on site buildings, is unique. Built in the early 1900s, by the eponymous Duke Santo Mauro, obviously involved in the upper echelon of society, as his palace/residences. I would have enjoyed meeting someone with this discriminating taste level leaving me with exhuberant reminders of days gone by but meeting up with the 21st century.
Up the few steps to the reception area,which is really two desks on either side of the doorway, almost unidentifiable as reception areas. But before even telling my name, I was overwhelmed by a glimpse of the grand living room, the Red Room, (which I think of it as more burgundy and gold) What an introduction. Large and grand are not an ample description.
Next to it, through a wide doorway, is the quiet reading room where one woman looked quite at home with her book and elevated feet on a hassock. I was shown the elegant, small restaurant with strips of the predominate color, blue. This draped window room, looked out onto a huge, well manicured garden, the choice for meals during the warmer months. Although, November, it was balmy that day, but all serving and cooking in the garden, was now just for walking
Elegant is a word that isn’t often a description for a bar, but here it was, panelled, and cozy. And then still on the main floor, are various rooms which are for conventions, parties, weddings and whatever other entertainment, that would suit any reasonable group size. And how beautifully decorated they are.
As we walked up the swirling staircase, where the rooms are located in this building (the other rooms are in the other two almost attached buildings, just metres away. Each suite is different, from Oriental to old English but all have one common thread. They are, for me happily, done with neutral colored walls and have an eclectic sense with antique pieces meeting a contemporary world and it works perfectly.
Huge flat TV screens are either hung on the wall or on a stunning piece of furniture. But what makes them each especially grand is that each painting is original and extremely modern. Much thought has gone into every detail of each room from the deluxe suite with a furnished terrace to what is considered a standard suite — large and spacious.
Naturally, much attention has been paid to the marble bathrooms which your may realize only in your dreams and the made-in-Spain amenities that one of my guides claimed are ‘the best’.
If I did ever have the opportunity to stay at Hotel Santo Mauro, my fear is that I’d never want to leave the premises, therefore missing out on magnificent Madrid.