Wylde World: Barceló Torre de Madrid
Report by Leanne Bracey
WHERE IS IT?
In the heart of Madrid, on the Plaza de Espana sits the Barceló Torre de Madrid. The Barceló brand are heavy-hitters across Spain and the Balearic Islands, and are known for their contemporary design, largely affordable accommodation and adults-only policy. The hotel’s designer, Jaime Hayon, has a string of design accolades including the 2016 EDIDA awards and turned one of Madrid's iconic buildings into this hotel. It’s location is right on the Calle del la Princesa, one of Madrid’s main roads and pretty much central to the rest of the city.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
This Barceló is large! It has a huge, spacious feeling, meaning that it never really feels full which isn’t a bad thing. The design of the entrance lobby gives way to the beautiful stylish Garra bar serving super cocktails and snacks. You’ll soon get used to the main hotel reception being on an upper floor after a few times of leaving and returning. The reception area is a blush-pink space with an inviting modernist style seating area full of coffee table books and interesting wall photography. It’s worthwhile spending a bit of time luxuriating in this light-drenched space with brilliant view out to the Plaza de España. The simplicity of it’s design can make it feel a little like a municipal office building which will appeal to fans of that style of design. But largely, it’s funky, fun and there’s something to Instagram around every corner.
WHATS ON OFFER?
Aside from the glamorous bar already mentioned, the hotel has a fantastic breakfast buffet offering a massive range of options from churros to chia seed pots and everything else in between. Breakfast here really is epic and mustn’t be missed. Dinner is served at Restaurant Somos, up high and overlooking the lights of the Calle de la Princesa. I imagine on a busy night, the vibe is cool and one would think local people would scoot to visit but in a city where food is at the forefront, it takes a lot to drive in local traffic, especially competing with the Malasaña district which is just a short walk away. I found Somos a little sparse and lacking a little something. But not forgetting the Spanish don’t eat until late, the restaurant was a little sparse at my time of dining. Still, the food has an interesting spin, influenced by worldwide cuisines, making for an interesting mix of Asian, Japanese, Spanish and whatever else takes head chef Benjamin Urritia’s fancy. Leaving food aside, up on the top floor, there is a functional and great gym, plus indoor pool and rooftop sunbeds for relaxing which is a must if you’ve taken an early morning flight.
HOW ABOUT THE ROOMS?
I’ve always been a fan of the Barceló room design and their modular style bathrooms that I personally find fun and functional, so it’s surprising to see a slight waver away in design from the two I’ve stayed at in Majorca and Menorca. But these rooms are much more grown up and stylish. Certainly, in the room I stayed in, they are more contemporary with plenty of space, comfortable large beds and very good lighting, a must for me in a hotel bedroom. Ask for a room up high, overlooking the Square or the main road for the best views. Yes a little noisy, but great for helping the immersion into the city life.
WHAT I LOVED
The on-trend colour schemes, the modernist fun design and all the fabulous photography. I also loved the bar and of course, the breakfast. As mentioned before, It has a great location near the Malasaña district, a must-do for quirky bars and restaurants. Plus it’s a quick walk to the Templo de Debod, an Egyptian Temple and museum in the beautiful Rosaleda del Parque del Oeste, great for outdoor running if you’re that way inclined, or to watch the sunset although avoid the overpriced tourist bars.
WHAT I DIDNT LOVE
The hotel felt a little empty at times, which is not necessarily a bad thing. When the hub of the hotel is often the bar and this is on the ground floor, not by reception, it kind of gives the reception area a bit of a clinical feel, but this did make up for it with its great art space.
B&B doubles from €132 (approx. £116) per night, based on two sharing and including taxes. Hotel Website (+34 915 24 23 99)