The best of the Spanish capital is on your doorstep at Ocean Drive Madrid, leaving little spare time for a siesta. The city’s culture hubs, contemporary art and cervezas will have to do well to lure you from the hotel’s rooftop pool, well-stocked bar, patio idyll and private terraces. When you do finally leave, roll out of bed into the Plaza de Isabel II and its iconic teatro and palacio, then make for one of Madrid’s affable neighbourhoods, such as La Latina and Las Letras. Madrid’s renowned blue skies were the limit in the design of this Ocean Drive outpost: Scandi-inspired rooms encourage fun with unlikely touches such as beer taps and photo printers (a combination that could probably keep us entertained for hours).
Double rooms from £142.78 (€162), including tax at 10 per cent.
A buffet and a la carte breakfast can be purchased in the Mar Mía restaurant for €25 per person.
Summer in Madrid brings the heat – and we’re not just talking about the temperature. Culturally, this season is one of the most exciting to be in the city. La Paloma’s verbena street party happens in mid-August in La Latina neighbourhood. Don’t miss the booze-injected limonadas and just-fried churros. The city’s Pride celebrations take place in summer too, plus a number of music festivals including Dcode and Mad Cool.
At the hotel
Restaurant, bar, patio garden, co-working space, rooftop pool. In rooms: WiFi, TV, speakers, Nespresso machine, tea- and coffee-making kit, Etro bath products
Our favourite rooms
The rooms are spacious, light and fitted with contemporary furniture, such as Eames LCW chairs. The minimalist Scandinavian aesthetic evokes an Ibizan air, but the natural materials are met with Bower & Wilkins speakers, desk record players and photo printers – plus some rooms have a beer tap and in-suite Taschen library. Personally, we’d angle for a corner deluxe room – some of the top-floor private terraces overlook Plaza Isabel II and the Teatro Real.
The outdoor rooftop pool is bijou, but with a backdrop of downtown Madrid and the opera house. There are loungers to sunbathe on, with a house cocktail from the neighbouring sky bar in hand.
There's no spa, but guests have access to a full gym (and its rooftop bar) just a five minute walk from the hotel.
We wouldn’t typically class a city break as an adventure holiday, but Madrid has so much going on that you’ll need to arrive with an air for adventure. No two neighbourhoods are the same, and there’s nothing to say that your plans won’t be derailed (by a wine bar, plaza-side tapas restaurant or bohemian thrift shop, for example).
There’s an accessible room on the first floor with wheelchair-width doorways and accessible features.
The largely pedestrianised location is particularly child friendly. Note that there’s no kids’ club or babysitting available at the hotel.
Serious sustainability tech is at play here: bioclimatic strategies and passive air systems are used to achieve the maximum reduction in energy demand possible, plus you’ll find eco-friendly bath products in your room. The hotel is conscious to prioritise the environment, land and local people in the decisions they make.
Alfresco dining in the city sunshine: need we say more.
Madrid is unpretentious and outgoing, so bring the dress you’ve never worn or your most outlandish shirt.
For a land-locked city, Madrid sure nails seafood. The hotelrestaurant Mar Mia goes heavy on Mediterranean catches – try fried red mullet, Andalucían style squid, Atlantic bass and lobster rolls. There are famed rice dishes from Catalina-born chef Luís Rodríguez, plus juicy grilled leeks, dressed tomato salads and artichoke confit. There's daily live music, too. The tapas bar is informal and the open kitchen summons the bustle of a Spanish market. Dishes include acorn-fed Iberian ham, smoked salmon brioche rolls and oysters, but our pick is the bocadillo de calamares – a traditional street-food favourite of ocean-fresh calamari rings and spicy tomato sauce cocooned in a white baguette.
The open-air rooftop bar is right in the thrum of the city – peek-a-boo at neighbouring rooftops, grand slate spires and nearby plazas. The spirit selection is… impressive (hic) – particularly the tequila line-up. Order an Adonic aperitif (wine, sherry, vermouth and orange bitter), a Japapiña (sake, cachaça, chilli and pineapple), or a liquid-dessert-like Sweet Speyside (whisky, chocolate liqueur, Cointreau, chocolate bitters).
Breakfast is available 7.30am–11.30am, and lunch 1–4.30pm. Dinner starts at 8pm (madrileños are known for their relaxed approach to evening meals) and finishes just before midnight.
You can have your breakfast, lunch and dinner delivered to your room around-the-clock for an additional fee.
Ocean Drive is slap-bang in the middle of Madrid in the pretty Plaza de Isabel II, just steps from the Teatro Real.
Touch down at Madrid–Barajas airport, a 30-minute drive from the hotel. A taxi costs around €30 euros – contact Ocean Drive directly to arrange.
Madrid’s extensive metro network will whisk you around the city and to the airport, which has its own station. The Ópera metro station is a one-minute walk across the square from the hotel. Further afield, Madrid’s Atocha station is served by Renfe and Eurostar, taking you all over Spain and beyond.
The city is very strollable (and has user-friendly public transport, should your legs need a break) – which renders cars mostly redundant. If you do arrive on four wheels, you’ll find a private indoor car park at the hotel, the price of which is €25 per day.
Worth getting out of bed for
The marvels of Madrid are on your doorstep. Explore the Teatro Real, shop along the calles of Gran Via or Serrano or visit the Prado museum, which houses the works of Goya, Velázquez, El Greco, Titian and Rubens. The cultural centre Círculo de Bellas Artes has a calendar packed with shows, films, exhibitions and events. Get more cultural kicks from the Reina Sofia modern art museum (look out for Picasso’s Guernica), the Egyptian El Templo de Debod or the Palacio Real right on your doorstep. The picturesque Palacio de Cristal was built in 1887 as a greenhouse, but now hosts art exhibits. Cerro del Tío Pío, known colloquially as ‘park of the seven breasts’ for its succession of rounded hills, is blissfully off the tourist track. Grab some slices of Iberian ham, a bottle of vermouth and a fresh baguette and have a sunset picnic with a backdrop of the Madrid skyline and snow-capped Guadarrama Mountains. For antique shops and independent boutiques, head north to the exclusive Salamanca barrio. La Latina is set on the grounds of a mediaeval Islamic fortress – now a maze of narrow streets with numerous tapas bars and taverns. A flea market has existed on the same site as El Rastro since the Middle Ages; magpies can get their fix every Sunday and public holiday. Playful Las Letras is all cobblestones and inns, with a long-standing affiliation with the written word, making it a favourite of bohemians and bookworms. For something a little different, try wild swimming in the rocky pools at Río Manzanares en La Pedriza, an hour’s drive away at the Cuenca Alta Manzanares Regional Park.
Madrid’s restaurant scene is ever-changing, but St James has a well-established reputation as one of the best paella places in town. Mo de Movimiento has salvaged interiors and a kitchen staffed by at-risk youth. The ambitious social experiment is focused on sustainability and economic justice, with refugees, marginalised people and formerly incarcerated youth making up much of the workforce (eighteen countries are represented among staff). Opt for a pizza topped with a rainbow of in-season vegetables in the shade of an orange tree. For seafood, head to Opazo, or try Casa Botín for classic Madrid favourites. For some of the best tapas in town and a whole load of old-school wood-panelled charm, hit up Bodega de la Ardosa on Calle de Colón, which has been deep-frying croquetas since 1892. Down-to-earth tapas joint Lateralhas several outlets in the city: start with the salmorejo, a creamy Cordoban take on gazpacho, then pick from the tempting pinchos menu.
Take breakfast at Magasand by El Retiro park, with its hearty spread of croissants, muesli, crêpes and smoothies. Hipster-favoured Habenera on Calle de Genova has indoor palms, parquet floors and brunch dishes.
Raise a toast to all things cerveza in the old-fashioned German beer hall Cerveceria Alemana, which has been serving fermented hops to thirsty punters since 1904. For live music and livelier conversation, hit the iconic Café Central on Plaza del Ángel. Sip cocktails at Del Diego on Calle Reina, sherry at old-school and storied La Venencia or vermouth at Gran Clavel. Nocturnal sorts will find like-minded souls at the Jungle Jazz Club – stick around until the small hours and join fellow clubbers in the tradition of going for churros after dancing – everyone flocks to Chocolateria San Ginés.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this sustainably-minded hotel in the Spanish capital and unpacked their aromatic vermouth and wooden castanets, a full account of their city break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Ocean Drive Madrid…
The sleepless Spanish capital is one of vivacious spirit – and this is true of Ocean Drive Madrid: the ambience welcoming and good natured. There’s a chiringuito-style restaurant, tapas bar, co-working space and a rooftop pool and bar, where every lounger, table and low-lying sofa affords views of the Plaza. And if vistas are what you’re after, you’ll take to the rooms and their full-height windows immediately (many have their own balconies). Interiors are design-led: the furnishings and textiles were made exclusively for the hotel, and the sleek lines and bright, spacious layouts evoke urban elegance. There’s much to do out in the plazas and barrios – duck into hip cafés between museum visits, and head to one of the many green spaces to soak up the late afternoon sun. The birthplace of Goya and Velázquez (look out for their work in the Prado museum) also pays homage to national names such as Miró, Dalí and Picasso (find his Guernica in the Reina Sofia). Days might be filled with museums, art exhibitions and culture, but there’s after-dark appeal to the city too (it has more bars per capita than any other city on earth). Dip in and out of vermouth bars, storied cocktail spots and heavy-on-the-bass nightclubs – before returning to the view of the lit city skyline from your cloud-like bed.