Best Historic Hotel
Inaugurated by Alfonso XIII in 1910, Hotel Ritz Madrid (tel. 800/225-5843 in the U.S., or 91-701-67-67), the gathering place of Madrid society, is still the capital's leading luxury choice. This Edwardian hotel is mellower than ever before, the old haughtiness of former management gone with the wind -- it long ago rescinded its policy of not allowing movie stars as guests. Note: In summer, a tie is no longer obligatory and dress tends to be more informal (though the hotel still draws the line at shorts). The rich and famous continue to parade through its portals; today in the lobby you're likely to encounter nearly anyone, from the secretary-general of NATO to Paloma Picasso.
Best for Business Travelers
The concierge at the Park Hyatt Villa Magna (tel. 800/223-1234 in the U.S., or 91-587-12-34) is one of the most skillful in Madrid, well versed in procuring virtually anything a traveler could conceivably need during a trip to the Spanish capital. One floor below lobby level, this five-star hotel's business center is well stocked, with access to translators, computers, scanners, fax machines, photocopiers, and even a well-informed technology concierge. There's a branch of Hertz car rental on the premises and enough stylish conference rooms (staffed with butlers and stocked with caviar, if the nature of your business meeting calls for it) to provide a place for any sales or executive meeting.
Best for a Romantic Getaway
The AC Santo Mauro (tel. 91-319-69-00) opened in 1991 in a villa designed by a French architect and built in 1894 for the duke of Santo Mauro. As a sign of the times, more recent visitors have included Julia Roberts and Richard Gere. The lavish property has an ageless grace, although it has been brought up to state-of-the-art condition. In good weather, guests retreat to a beautiful garden pavilion and enjoy many facilities such as a gym and indoor pool. It's resortlike in nature, although situated in Madrid. If you can afford it, go for one of the suites with a fireplace.
Best Hotel Lobby for Pretending You're Rich
The Westin Palace Hotel (tel. 800/325-3535 in the U.S., 800/325-3589 in Canada, or 91-360-80-00), between the Paseo del Prado and Plaza de las Cortes, is a Victorian wedding cake of a place. To sit and people-watch in this lobby -- the grandest Belle Epoque lobby in Madrid -- is to be at the epicenter of Spanish political life. Head for the dazzling stained-glass cupola of the main rotunda lounge, and take in the fanciful ceiling frescoes and the custom-made carpets along the way.
Most Relaxing Hotel
Located in a leafy residential backwater in the north of the city, Residencia El Viso (tel. 91-564-03-70) is a distinctly rural hostelry, peaceful enough to be 100km (62 miles) out of town yet only 15 minutes from the lively center.
Madrid has grander hotels, but it's hard to find a staff as highly motivated, professional, and efficient as the one at the InterContinental Madrid (tel. 800/327-0200 in the U.S., or 91-310-02-00). Room service is offered around the clock, and the staff is adept at solving your Madrid-related problems. Nothing seems to make them lose their cool, even when there's a long line at the desk.
ME Madrid (tel. 91-531-45-00) is for those who want to be in the heart of Old Madrid, within easy walking distance of all those midtown Hemingway haunts. Dozens of the finest tapas bars are literally at your doorstep, and you can walk among the flower vendors, cigarette peddlers, and lottery-ticket hawkers, enjoying an atmosphere that's missing from the newer and more modern section of Madrid.
Best for Families
The family-friendly, chain-run Novotel Madrid Puente de la Paz (tel. 800/221-4542 in the U.S., or 91-724-76-00), on the outskirts of town, is a good place for the entire clan. Rates are reasonable, and the bedrooms can easily be arranged to sleep children. There's also a pool, and the breakfast buffet is one of the most generous in Madrid. Children 15 and under stay free in their parent's rooms.
Best Budget Hotel
In the very heart of Old Madrid, off the Plaza Mayor, Hostal la Macarena (tel. 91-365-92-21), has been housing Frommer's readers comfortably and well -- all for an affordable price -- for decades. Surrounded by ancient buildings, the little inn is modest itself, but its welcome is warm, its staff is accommodating, and its price is right.
Located in Chamartín just above the gravity defying KIO buildings at the northern end of the wide Castellana, the 2009 built Eurostars Madrid Tower is the highest hotel in Madrid. Its rooms enjoy stunning vistas of not only the city, but also of the distant Guadarrama mountains.
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Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.