My stay at the iconic Hotel Ritz by Belmond | Madrid, Spain | Over a week ago, I had the opportunity to spend four days at this uber iconic hotel. A baroque palace in the heart of Madrid’s ‘Golden Triangle’, Hotel Ritz by Belmond is the quintessential experience of a traditional luxury hotel, rare this days on its kind, that has managed and learnt how to remain relevant and appealing throughout time. The moment you walk through the revolving doors, a air of sophistication and royal heritage welcomes you, in the most friendly approach.
I have been lucky to experienced this before, only in a few places, mostly in Europe, such as the National in Moscow, the Grand Europe by Belmond in St Petersburg or Le Negresco Hotel in Nice. Let me tell you something, being this iconic and the ultimate expression of what truly the word luxury represents, it is quite a daunting task, that not many these days understand, recognize nor choose. If there is something I have very clear, Hotel Ritz is not a hotel for everyone, but it is certainly the hotel for me. There is so much heritage, so much cache and distinction, that every corner of this property will talk to you and inspire your visit in more ways than you can imagine.
Without mentioning names, during my time in the city, I got to see other 5-Star hotels in Madrid. They all were referring to Hotel Ritz as their competition, and using the word luxury very lightly. To this I pointed out, to set the tone straight, the big difference between them and Ritz Hotel, is that Ritz represents the core of luxury, glamour and traditional old-school service. Simply as that, and this means a whole world apart, to those, like me that appreciate gems like this.
Built in 1910 according to the wishes of King Alfonso XIII, this iconic landmark established Madrid as one of the truly great European cities. Ever since, it has welcomed visiting aristocracy and dignitaries with inimitable style and luxury.
Location could not get any better indeed. Two blocks away from one of the most beautiful, not to be THE most beautiful entrance to Retiro Park, as it is Puerta del Felipe IV. Two blocks from The Royal Botanical Gardens, and a short stroll further to Atocha Railways Station. Within walking distance of all the major sights, Hotel Ritz by Belmond is surrounded by superb museums, exclusive shops and delightful restaurants. My favorite was to walk along Cibeles and then onwards to Chueca or Plaza Mayor by Gran Via Avenue and Callao. Literally across the street from Museo del Prado, more so, the gate you see above connects the lobby of the hotel, directly to the Museo del Prado, and of course my Les Clefs d’Or Concierge, arrange everything for me to visit the museum, without even having to cue for hours to get my tickets.
I was hosted at one of their signature true belle époque style, Deluxe One-Bedroom-Suites, uniquely designed with meticulous attention to detail, featuring handmade carpets, embroidered bed linen, antique furniture. Deluxe One-bed Suites have a spacious sitting room, a bathroom flooded with natural light and wonderful views to admire of hotel gardens, Prado Museum or La Plaza de la Lealtad. In my case was Plaza de la Lealtad.
Waking up every morning at my suite was delightful, more when opening my eyes and having this lovely views of Madrid, coming right through my windows as I lay on my bed.
Breakfast was the perfect compliment of such a great beginning. The breakfast rooms is so beautiful, that I would spend at least two hours each morning, tasting all the delights, and enjoying watching the guests come down, and being pampered by their professional and attentive staff. Each morning I would repeat the same way… get ready in my suite, get my first coffee in my living room enjoying the views of Madrid and the sunlight. Leave my room, hanging my little Menina (Velazquez inspired) so that the service could be done while I am having my long prolonged breakfast. Walk four floors down the stairs, just to arrive to the lobby down the main staircase, making the right entrance to my new day, not without noticing each morning the fresh flower arrangements at the lobby, and onwards to my morning gourmet experience. Of course upon return my suite would be in PERFECT conditions, and a little present or amenity always waiting for me. ( I hate to be spoiled… well not really ha ha ha )
I would then have my second coffee at my suite, and then plan my outfit and activity for the day. I was very lucky with the weather during my stay, so each day, I spent long hours walking or biking Madrid ( you can read that on my upcoming posts).
A few interesting details. Hotel Ritz by Belmond, is a pet friendly property. Wellness Center. An oasis of relaxation and rejuvenation, the Bodyna Wellness Centre provides an extensive range of beauty and massage treatments. A small, fully equipped gym is also available for the use of hotel guests. Personal training can be scheduled. The gym remains open 24 hours a day.
A lively gathering place for Spanish high society, the hotel’s restaurants and bars are a constant buzz of activity. Its leafy outdoor terrace is especially popular for a traditional summer Sunday brunch following a stroll in the adjacent Retiro Park. The main lobby bar is very popular among locals and tourists for their classic Afternoon Tea, but do as I did… Save the afternoon tea for England, and while in Madrid, try their ridiculously tasteful hot chocolate with churros. You won’t be disappointed. Of course with the soothing sounds of a pianist, harpist or classical Spanish guitarist will delight in the background.
Goya Restaurant is quite magical. But before that, you should start your night at the Velazquez Krug Bar. The perfect place to enjoy the excellence, personality and legendary taste of Krug Champagnes. Beautifully crafted wood panelling and luxurious furnishings create a warm and inviting space. A destination on the rise for guests who enjoy the finer things in life, the new bar is set to bring the legendary champagne house closer to its devotees. Savour a glass of the mythical Krug Clos du Mesnil. A superb selection of caviar, Iberian ham and Daniel Sorlut oysters are also available.
A MUST is to try the Dalitini, inspired on a true story, by no other that Mr Dali himself. A regular at this bar during his young student years in Madrid. Of course the Ritz Hotel was the ultimate gathering destination, were only royals and aristocrats were welcomed and only a few artists and even fewer Hollywood stars.
DaliTini, a reminder of the fact that Salvador Dali first took to cocktails here, when he came to study at Madrid Fine Arts school in 1920, at the age of 16. The story tells that Dali in his early age, used to visit the Bar at the Ritz and always order a Martini. One day he found something inside his drink he thought it was a hair. He felt so ashamed he tried to take it out using his finger. It happened to be that it was that the glass was broken, not a hair. While trying to take it out, he cut his finger and blood was spilled in his drink. He was mortified, but people were intrigued about his drink, which became a legend. Today known as the DaliTini. Martini Bianco, Cointreau, Vodka served with cherries pulp from the Jerte Valley. You can still see his blood floating in the drink
Now, you are ready to experience Goya Restaurant. One of the best restaurants in Spain, expect flawless fine dining in a magnificent atmosphere at Goya. The high ceilings and huge chandeliers give the restaurant an air of old-world opulence, and the food is equally impressive. Chef Jorge Gonzalez’s menu is a spectacular mix of classic Spanish delicacies and avant-garde creations, influenced by French and Basque cuisine. The wine selection was quite unique, featuring small vineyards from the periphery of Madrid. I had the honor to have Ms. Inmaculada C. – PR Manager of Hotel Ritz by Belmond, join me for this lovely and intimate evening.
After this lovely dinner experience, I went off for a walk along Paseo del Prado an Cibeles, and then back to my Suite, to unwind, enjoy a glass of wine and spend my last night enjoying this wonderful suite.
For those of you interested on booking Hotel Ritz by Belmond, I can offer you the following VIP Amenities as part of their select travel advisor and member of the VIRTUOSO network: Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability + Daily Buffet breakfast, for up to two in room guests + A Welcome Amenity. For room bookings: Airport transfer from the Ritz Hotel Madrid to the Barajas Airport (departure). For Suite bookings: Round trip airport transfers. For a 2 night stay: $100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full) + Early check-in/late check-out subject to availability.
A beautiful setting complemented by superb service makes this the perfect place for a fabulous wedding or an unforgettable honeymoon. The hotel’s elegant function rooms—from small and stylish to grand and imposing—can accommodate up to 500 guests. Each is individually decorated and distinctive in character. Our gardens are also available for cocktails and drinks.
Indeed was quite an experience. I want to thank Hotel Ritz by Belmond, for inspiring me to take this fabulous journey in time and style to Madrid. Hotel Ritz Madrid, the true definition of Luxury. Carlos Melia Luxury Travel Curator – www.carlosmelia.com
(*) To book your own travel experience, do not hesitate to contact me either by email firstname.lastname@example.org or phone # 917.754.5515. Also check our scheduled Small Travel Groups at Coups de Coeur. I am an experienced Travel Agent with over 25 years of experience, member of LGTNetwork, VIRTUOSO, First in Service Travel, TZELL Travel Network. www.carlosmelia.com