Words Simon Gage
Where is it?
In the rinky dinky area of Salamanca, a short trot from the smart Retiro park in amongst ritzy boutiques, a swift 20-minute wile from downtown Sol and about the same from the gay districts of Chueca and Malasaña. So, y’know, handy.
Why so lovely?
In an area not known for its ooh la la, there’s plenty of the stuff in this 19th century building, from the dark woods and brasses of the reception through the navy walls, blue velvets and grainy woods of the lounge and bar to rooms where all the details have been pored over. Every light switch is a thing of beauty. It’s called design and it’s in the right hands at this place.
It may be chic but the staff are cheeky and friendly. We might even go so far as to say flirty in a way that we found altogether acceptable.
And the accommodations?
Our attic room may not have had an actual view onto an actual street but we did have nice skies – blue sometimes, rainy others, thank you for asking. A big bathroom with two-man shower and big bath (and more sky), a little sitting area that you could work at and lovely lampshades.
And the food?
A very smart ‘name’ restaurant called El Pimiento Verde (The Green Pepper), specialising in Basque food, is attached, meaning that you can have your breakfast there or dip into delights such as artichoke flowers, fried squid and ‘warm salad from fishermen with clams, gulas and prawns’. How funny are foreigners?
What is there to do?
Well, it’s Madrid so there’s everything from world-class galleries like The Prado (that’s an ‘o’, nothing to do with fashion) and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, a brilliant one-stop-shop for the history of Western art to scratchy markets, great food, you should even try a flamenco tablao: yeah, it sounds kitschy and touristy but it’s actually really weird and exciting. The hotel should be able to hook you up.
And the gay bit?
Traditionally, the gay bit was around Chueca but the smart gays have moved across to Malasaña next door, so check out both areas. Cazador in Calle Pozas is a good place to start: run by a Spaniard who used to live in Shoreditch, it’s got that cool, laid-back, fucked up vibe that you wear so well.
Silk windbreaker by Patrick McDowell, dungarees by One Teaspoon, necklace and bracelet by Alex Orso, sunglasses by Lyndon Leone, watch by GaGa Milano