The Weekend Australian - Travel - - Travel & Indulgence -

SPAN­ISH hote­lier Pau Guardans has opened a fives­tar ho­tel on Madrid’s fa­mous “great lane”, the theatre-lined Gran Via, with Miche­lin-star chef Ra­mon Freixa over­see­ing the kitchen and a rooftop ter­race and bar of­fer­ing some of the best views down­town.

The Prin­ci­pal Madrid, De­sign Ho­tels’ new­est Span­ish re­cruit, fea­tures 76 con­tem­po­rary rooms and suites, housed in a cen­tury-old Span­ish Re­nais­sance build­ing. Guests are re­ceived on the sixth floor Atico, or pent­house, where the in­for­mal re­cep­tion area in­cludes a bar, open fire and rooftop views from a con­ser­va­tory-style dining room.

The cor­ner ho­tel forms part of an av­enue of art nou­veau and art deco build­ings but in­side, the dou­ble-height ceil­ings, mar­ble floors and large win­dows make the per­fect back­drop for un­clut­tered mod­ern in­te­ri­ors by Pi­lar Garcia-Ni­eto and Barcelona-based de­sign stu­dio Luzio.

While the public ar­eas are cosy, the gue­strooms are cool and crisp, dec­o­rated in vary­ing shades of grey with pops of colour. Ameni­ties in­clude a flatscreen TV, free Wi-Fi, a 24-hour shoeshine ser­vice, Gilchrist & Soames bath­room unguents and a Ne­spresso ma­chine in most rooms.

The ho­tel has the usual 21st-cen­tury essen­tials: gym, a well­ness suite, and round-the-clock room ser­vice, but goes one step fur­ther with a 24-hour laun­dry and iron­ing ser­vice, and but­lers and babysit­ters on standby.

DON’T MISS: Give the gym a miss and give your credit card a work­out in­stead with the help of one of the ho­tel’s on-call per­sonal shop­pers.

DINING IN: Ac­claimed Cata­lan chef Ra­mon Freixa scored two Miche­lin stars at the Prin­ci­pal’s sis­ter prop­erty Ho­tel Unico Madrid; his new out­post will of­fer mod­ern Span­ish fare, and snacks 24/7. Dine in Atico or on the ho­tel’s rooftop ter­race dot­ted with para­sols and olive trees. Rec­om­mended dishes in­clude Bo­ti­farra sausage with baby squid and chick­peas, or tagli­atelle au gratin, in­spired by a dish served at Venice’s fa­bled Cipri­ani.

DINING OUT: Res­tau­rante MEAT­ing on Calle de Valen­zuela (Gali­cian beef and mar­ket-fresh veg­eta­bles from San Se­bas­tian) and Res­tau­rante Ar­riba on Calle de Goya (an­other Freixa eatery).

ASK THE CONCIERGE: The ho­tel is per­fectly po­si­tioned to ex­plore the city’s best bou­tiques, bars, the­atres and mu­se­ums in­clud­ing the Prado and Thyssen.

CHECK­ING IN: Rooms from €230 ($330). More: de­sign­ho­

ALSO TRY: Casas del XVI, Santo Domingo, Do­mini­can Repub­lic; QT Syd­ney; Sof­i­tel So Sin­ga­pore.


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