Effortlessly cool and stylishly dressed, boutique hotel Tótem Madrid is a jewel box of a stay just off high-end Jorge Juan. The lobby’s marble floors, brass accents and carefully restored 19th-century staircase are just some of its charms: expect a top-notch restaurant, worldly staff and airy rooms decorated with elegant restraint.
Get this when you book through us:
A signature Totem cocktail each at the bar and a bottle of wine (either white or red) on arrival, as well as free parking (subject to availability)
Noon. Earliest check-in, 3pm. Both are flexible, subject to availability.
Double rooms from £118.42 (€129), including tax at 10 per cent.
Rates exclude the Continental breakfasts (€19.50 a person) of avocado toast, cooked-to-order eggs, fruit-topped pancake or truffled mortadella sandwich served with tea, coffee and orange or grapefruit juice.
You’ll find rowing machine, exercise bikes and cross trainers in the hotel’s gym; for a more vigorous workout, ask staff to arrange a personal trainer for a high-intensity circuit around nearby Retiro Park.
At the hotel
Lounge, gym, free WiFi throughout. In rooms: flatscreen TV, minibar, air-conditioning, free bottled water and Per Purr bath products; Attic Deluxe, Junior Suite Corner and Junior Suite Superior rooms also have tea- and coffee-making facilities.
Our favourite rooms
Pared down and understatedly chic, rooms at Tótem Madrid have a grown-up Farrow & Ball aesthetic, with deep-hued accent walls, floor-to-ceiling drapes and black-marble bathrooms. Bath tubs in Deluxe Attic rooms make up for a lack of views; the rooms are also surprisingly bright, thanks to Velux windows that let in plenty of Madrilenian sunshine. Smaller courtyard-facing Double rooms are still large enough to squeeze in a corner sofa. Corner Junior Suites have our vote for leisurely breakfasts in bed: throw open the three street-facing windows and let the breeze gently stir you from slumber.
A local translation of The Beautiful and Damned, to brush up on Castillian and classic Fitzgerald in one breath.
Tótem Madrid has two Deluxe Exterior rooms adapted for wheelchair users, who have access to the hotel from the restaurant’s entrance on the corner of Lagasca and Hermosilla streets.
All ages are welcome. Extra beds (€77 a night for over-3s) can be added to Junior Suites and Suites. Free cots for under-3s can be added to any room. The restaurant has highchairs and will happily adapt the menu for little Smiths.
Opt for a table to one side of the room for the best people-watching opportunities.
Pick up something casual-cool from neighbourhood favourite Sita Murt.
La Parrilla del Pimiento, helmed by chefs Félix Guerrero and Andrés Amero, dishes out traditional Spanish fare from morning to midnight. Start leisurely dinners with sharing plates of creamy croquettes and chipotle-drizzled squid rings. For the main event, there are classic Spanish stews, fish and meat dishes – try the wild turbot in Basque sauce or the Iberian pork tenderloin. Save room for artisanal ice creams and homemade cheesecakes.
Dressed with electric blue banquettes, marble tables and tropical fronds beneath a glass roof, Malditos does a fine job of enticing the ‘damned’ it’s named after. Resident DJ João Ribeiro keeps up the speakeasy vibe by spinning everything from bossanova to ragtime Jazz until 2am (Thursdays to Saturdays). The mirrored bar is manned by mixologists in white lab coats – a tongue-in-cheek sign of how seriously the art of cocktail-making is taken here.
Breakfast is served from 7am to 11.30am, lunch from 1.30pm to 4.30pm and dinner from 8.30pm to midnight.
Order from the restaurant’s full menu during opening hours, after which a light menu of sandwiches, cold cuts and sweet things is available around the clock.
Tucked away on a quiet side street in the upmarket Salamanca barrio, Tótem Madrid is within easy reach of Calle de Jorge Juan’s tempting boutiques and must-try restaurants.
Touch down at Madrid-Barajas airport, an international hub about 25 minutes’ drive from the hotel. Taxis are readily available, but you can also catch metro line C1 to nearby Recoletos station.
Madrid’s speedy metro network is handy for exploring the capital. If you’re venturing further afield, Atocha railway station is a 10-minute drive away and serves Renfe trains from across the country.
Madrid’s sights are best explored on foot: cheap public transport, plentiful taxis and charming streets render cars an unnecessary nuisance. If you do decide to bring your own wheels, the hotel has on-site parking for €36 a day.
Worth getting out of bed for
Ask Tótem’s staff for insider tips on the city’s latest on-trend haunts: they’ll happily sketch out a tailor-made itinerary based on your interests. Gawp at works by Miró, Bacon and other modern luminaries at the Reina Sofia Museum. Picasso’s Guernica is the pièce de résistance, but carefully curated temporary exhibits of contemporary artists are equally illuminating; its futuristic terrace restaurant Nubelgets our plaudits too. The streets around the hotel are brimming with indie boutiques and hard-to-find gems. Splurge on a pair of sky-scraping heels at Hannibal Laguna. Staff can also arrange off-the-beaten-path excursions. Snap Insta-worthy shots on a photographer-guided city-centre tour or get a bird’s eye view of the capital from its hidden rooftops. If cabin fever strikes, get up early and head to Atocha train station for a day-trip: Seville’s orange-scented streets and Barcelona’s lively nightlife are only two-and-a-half hours away.
You needn’t stray far for a taste of Madrid’s buzzy dining scene: just a stone’s throw from the hotel, Jorge Juan is a hotspot for foodies committed to working their way through the capital’s culinary delights. Refined La Máquina has linen-clad tables, tantalising tapas and an impressive wall of bottles from Spain’s under-the-radar vineyards. Busy Ultramarinos Quintin is all exposed brick, whimsical ceiling foliage and high stools crammed around small convivial tables; stop by for melt-in-the mouth tartare, delicate Ibérico ham and perfectly cooked pasta.
Rawcoco Green Bar is all about Californian-style healthy eating: drop in for cold-pressed juices, detox smoothies and colourful raw food bowls.
Gin enthusiasts should make a beeline for diminutive Shuzo’s (52 Calle de Jorge Juan, +34 (0)914 35 9171) is handily within stumbling distance of the hotel. Elegant brass-and-glass hangout Dry Martini Bar regularly features on the world’s best cocktail bar lists: pull up a stool at its glitzy counter for fresh-fruit martinis, one-off concoctions and the eponymous drink made just how you like it.
After a stressful few months renovating a house in the Balearics, with our six-month-old daughter in tow, we decided we needed some pampering, somewhere relaxing and indulgent after the rustic simple life in stormy Menorca (with only very basic heating). So we decided to book a few days at the luxurious Tótem Madrid hotel as a treating pit stop on our way back home to the UK. Located in the elegant and glamorous Barrio de Salamanca, the hotel itself is tucked away among beautiful boutiques and chic cafés. The entrance is understated, but as you open the doors you’re welcomed into a strikingly stylish lobby area, leading into a beautifully dressed bar. I was instantly in love with the decor: mix-and-match textures, green-marble flooring, just-right hues and tactile velvets, plus an overwhelming sense of light and space in the bar.
We arrived feeling slightly like Balearic bumpkins – wa were little scruffy around the edges, as we hadn’t really needed to dress up while in Menorca, and also a little damp and cold after coming in from the rain. Once settled in our lovely room, we quickly warmed up. It was a double-aspect Corner Junior Suite, which had a lot of light to brighten the darker tones of the modern decor. The rooms are really simple in design and feel very welcoming, and sultry colours have been cleverly used throughout to make them feel even cosier.
After a shower and a change of clothes, we felt sparkly and new again and ready to explore the local area. Now at this point I should mention that Mr Smith grew up in Madrid and his father still lives in the city, so we do know it fairly well. But I had never spent any time in Salamanca and also had never just pottered around the city, as we usually have plans with family and friends, so this was the first time we’d had a proper minibreak in the city. The hotel was the perfect base from which to potter and explore Salamanca – such an elegant part of the city and close to the Retiro Park, which is now up there as one of my favourite parks in the world, certainly competing with Battersea in London, which I adore. Retiro is an excellent perch for simply watching the world go by.
Back at the hotel we opted for a cosy night in – travelling with a little one changes things slightly, but on this trip we were more than happy to stay warm and snuggly in the room and eat our supper there after Lily Rose’s bedtime. The suite was perfect for a family of three and spacious enough for dinner and breakfast in the room, as there was both a built-in banquette area and a table for two. Room service was from the hotel’s restaurant, La Parrilla del Pimiento, helmed by chefs Feliz Guerrero and Andres Amero, which served traditional Spanish fare; however, we were in need of some comfort food, so both opted for the burger out of the international options, which didn’t disappoint.
After a very comfortable night’s sleep we spent another day exploring Madrid. The weather was a welcome change, cooler temperatures with blue skies proved perfect for hot-chocolates outdoors – so many cafés have blankets and fires on their terraces, so you can still dine alfresco. On the second night we headed down to Tótem’s restaurant for supper and took the little one with us to sleep under the table in her pram top. We soaked up the buzzy atmosphere while enjoying delicious Spanish wine and their famous flores de alcachofa (fresh artichoke hearts), which ended in clean plates. The only thing we would change about the hotel is to have a menu and an extra mixologist in the bar area. It’s such a lovely space to spend time, but always felt slightly understaffed, so we often had to go in search of someone to order a drink. There wasn’t a cocktail or wine list either, so there wasn’t the temptation of browsing different drinks.
We really enjoyed our stay at Tótem Madrid – everything from the design to the beds to the food, and the friendly, welcoming staff, delivered exactly what we’d been hoping for. We felt relaxed, pampered and ready to go home and tackle Christmas by the time we left.