Worth getting out of bed for
If you tire of people-watching in Plaza de Santa Ana and Teatro Español, the diversions of central Madrid are all on the doorstep, including the city’s three flagship museums: the Prado (www.museodelprado.es), the Reina Sofia (www.museoreinasofia.es) and the Thyssen-Bornemisza (www.museothyssen.org). The Prado is famous for its works by El Greco, Velázquez and Goya, and the Reina Sofia museum showcases a predominantly Spanish collection of modern masterpieces.
Convivial local favourite El Rincón de Esteban (+34 91 429 9289; www.elrincondeesteban.com) in the Huertas district is a temple to authentic Spanish dishes, with traditional crowd-pleasers such as Toledo partridge, Galician pork chops and tuna escabeche washed down with a wide selection of hearty reds. Set in a gorgeous historic building in the Plaza Major, La Capilla de la Bolsa (+34 91 521 8623; www.lacapilladelabolsa.com) is worth a visit for the baroque vaulted ceiling, frescoed onyx walls and ever-shifting lighting scheme alone, but the cuisine – a masterly rendition of modern Mediterranean – may even manage to tear your eyes from the fabulously OTT surroundings. Style-conscious gastronomes will be delighted to find Phillippe Starck-designed Ramses (+34 914 351 666; www.ramseslife.com) close by. The city’s in-crowd have got their feet in the door and their names on the waiting list – make sure you book at least three weeks in advance if you want a table in the bistro. The more informal area, Petit, overlooking the cocktail bar, is ideal for tête-à-têtes. Europa Decó at the Hotel Urban (+34 91 787 7780) serves inventive Mediterranean cuisine in stylish minimalist surroundings and its Glass Bar is a great spot for an aperitif.
Once a haunt of Hemingway, Museo Chicote on Calle Gran Via (+34 91 532 6737) is quiet until around midnight, when hordes of cocktail-quaffing Madrileños flock to this classic ’30s bar and hang out until the early hours.
Now into its second century, Chocolateria San Ginés in a little alleyway off Calle Arenal (+34 91 365 6546) is an essential breakfast/post-club stop-off for piping hot chocolate and churros to dip in it.
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Smith extra at ME Madrid
Free parking (normally €28 plus tax), cocktails for two with lunch or dinner, early check-in and late check-out (if available), and VIP entrance to the Roof Lounge
From the Guestbook…
A funky modern hotel in a very convenient location. Not to be missed is a trip to La Terraza del Casino de Madrid, a short 10-minute walk away from the hotel. This top restaurant h...more