Hotel Ritz, Madrid: A Family Stay in the City’s First Luxury Hotel
With an unbeatable location within walking distance to major Madrid attractions
The fact that Hotel Ritz, Madrid is a belle époque palace hotel in the city’s “Golden Triangle” of culture is enough of a reason to check in.
This combined with the fact that it’s a recent acquisition of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group made it our top choice for a luxury hotel in Madrid.
It may not seem to make sense to write about a hotel on the brink of change—this one is slated for a massive renovation starting in 2017—but I’m going to quickly do it anyway. The reason is because I adore historic hotels, I’m curious to see what Mandarin Oriental will so with it, and the location is simply awesome.
Table of Contents
An Interesting History
Hotel Ritz, Madrid was originally build in 1910 and is the type of place that local families and traveling guests have been loyal to for over a century. It was built at the request of King Alfonso XIII of Spain. He’d returned from traveling in Europe and felt that Spain lacked a hotel that was suitable enough for royalty and dignitaries visiting from around the world.
No expense was spared. Famous hotelier César Ritz, whose previous projects included the Ritz London and Ritz Paris, was called upon to lead the project. It was the first luxury hotel in the Spanish capital.
Hotel Ritz, Madrid’s Location
The Golden Triangle of culture is made up of the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and Reina Sofàa Museum. These three major museums deserve a space on any Madrid itinerary and are walkable from this luxury hotel.
Hotel Ritz, Madrid is located across the street from the Prado and some rooms have views of this famous Madrid museum. Right up the street is also the fabulous Buen Retiro Park for lovely walks and lake rowing. We even walked to Plaza Mayor.
Getting there from the Madrid-Barajas airport (MAD) took about 20 – 30 minutes. Transfers in the hotel’s Mercedes were included in our room rate, which is one of the perks of booking this hotel through Luxury World Traveler.
This is absolutely the best location in Madrid for our family, based on what we like to do.
Our Hotel Ritz, Madrid Suite
Madrid was our family’s first stop on our three week European adventure so with jet lag in mind, I booked a one-bedroom suite. We were upgraded to a Deluxe Suite (another perk of booking through Luxury World Traveler).
Decor was a lovely and comfortable European-style with hand-made carpets, two large closets and plenty of storage. I expect attention to minute details in a hotel like this which Hotel Ritz, Madrid had covered from the selection of Nespresso coffee and tea to a nice range of Loewe bath amenities. I believe our bathroom floor was heated, the towels were enormous and plush, and in there they also left some cute kids’ bath amenities for my daughter.
Our living room had a desk and a fireplace. Guests indicate privacy and request housekeeping via an adorable knit doll that my daughter affectionately nicknamed Matilda.
Our room also had fresh flowers (that pair well with a bottle of Cava, of course).
The suite was fairly quiet as we did not hear any street or hallway noise. I believe it can be expanded into two bedrooms because there was another door inside our entryway.
At any rate, we comfortably slept straight through until 10:00 a.m. completely avoiding jet lag. (This would never happen if the three of us were in the same room together.) I really did feel at home in this suite.
Dining: Breakfast Buffer & Garden Terrace
For a short stay of just two nights, we did a pretty good job of eating our way through the hotel.
Breakfast Buffet at Goya Restaurant
Our Luxury World Traveler rate included the morning buffet breakfast at Goya Restaurant which had a nice range of cheese, charcuterie (with loads of Spanish cured meat), fruit, cereals, hot dishes, fresh bread and even Cava. I was pleased by the selection and ease of seating… one could be in and out in a jiffy.
The room is particularly beautiful and much larger than it looks. Guests also have the option of sitting on the terrace. It is the type of breakfast we pay for anyway so it was nice to have it included.
The Ritz Garden Terrace
We decided to take a late afternoon break here and could tell immediately that it’s a popular spot with locals. Despite it being a hot summer day, the terrace is shaded by mature trees and has to be one of the best places in Madrid to enjoy afternoon tea and a glass of bubbles.
The food here is outstanding, especially the gazpacho.
Later on this day, my daughter decided she was hungry. I ordered her a burger off the room service menu. It was quite sizable for a kids’ portion and pretty tasty (I took a bite, of course).
Yes, they do have a Krug Bar at Hotel Ritz, Madrid which is a lovely and quiet place to enjoy a good drink. As I do love a glass of good champagne, my husband and I decided to kick off the trip by ordering some Krug but none was available. I’m admit to finding this a little curious, but it just left us with a lighter hotel folio at the end of our stay. No harm done.
The Hall Restaurant
We did not have a chance to enjoy drinks and light bites at The Hall but, as you can see, it’s beautiful.
A Top-Notch Concierge
Guests of Hotel Ritz, Madrid can skip the queue at the Prado and Thyssen museums by purchasing tickets directly through the concierge. This is extraordinarily helpful because during our stay the line just for tickets at the Prado was probably 2 hours long. We stood in it for about 15 minutes and did not move at all. That’s when I called the concierge who told me to get out of line and grab tickets from him. That’s what I did. Whew.
My husband also likes to research notable places to eat in cities we visit. The concierge helped him tweak his list for the better and landed us with last-minute and preferential seating at a historic restaurant in Plaza Mayor called Los Galayos which I would highly recommend as opposed to the other touristy restaurants in the area.
Also, as their desk is located next to the entrance of the hotel, they were always quite kind to welcome us in and out of the hotel when not servicing other guests.
Gorgeous Hotel Flowers
The lobby flowers, in contrast to the hotel’s European decor, were quite modern and stunning.
Good to Know
Currently, it makes more sense to book Hotel Ritz, Madrid through a Virtuoso agent because the perks alone will save you more money than any discounted booking site might. For the same rate advertised on many other travel sites, through a Virtuoso agent, we received complimentary breakfast, airport transfers, a room upgrade (this is subject to availability) and a $100 dining credit (subject to a few restrictions). These benefits change so if you are planning on a stay, as I am now an agent who can secure these benefits for you, send me your dates and I’ll tell you what’s on offer at the time of your stay.
They do have a run Madrid program where a staff members leads guests on a morning run through the city. Alternatively, they have jogging maps for those who would like to explore on their own. I regret not taking a scenic run so don’t make the same mistake.
Hotel Ritz-Madrid has a small gym and a wellness center with a nice range of beauty and massage treatments (no pool). Again, I had no time for this but appreciate they are there.
I anticipate that the coming renovation will retain the hotel’s historic feel while modernizing the rooms and common areas, but only time will tell. In the meantime, this is not the hotel for those like a sleek and modern experience. It’s really for those who appreciate iconic properties and comfortable, European-style luxury.
I will say it again… location, location, location. We will be back.
Have you stayed at Hotel Ritz, Madrid?