When exploring hotel options in Madrid I struggled with the choices that are available for a non-business focussed Grand hotel. I narrowed it down to the Gran Melia or The Ritz. Eventually I decided to plump for the far more classical Ritz. [I happened to walk past the former property during my time in Madrid, and disliked its location, the Hard Rock Café on part of its ground floor, and the very small public areas – not impressive and in no way comparable to The Ritz]
The moment I drove up to the property the doorman rushed over to help me and didn’t so much as mention that I’d driven in the wrong way (which I later discovered myself)! Check-in was quick and they showed me to my room. The room itself had been very recently repainted and the woven, heavily patterned carpet had been restored/replaced, but I wasn’t happy with the room so asked to see some alternatives. There was not wrong with it per se, but rather, didn’t fit well with my own preferences. It is worth noting that most of the rooms are individually decorated so if the hotel was fully booked it is something of pot luck which one you are allocated. After being shown a few rooms I eventually settled on a delightful one on the fifth floor which even had a very small balcony overlooking the gardens. The style is very Ritzy (if you have stayed at the Ritz Paris this is a similar style although not nearly as frequently refreshed – even though this property is now undergoing a major refurbishment all of their bedrooms were continually repainted etc) and whilst all of the fixtures and fittings are a good two or three decades old, housekeeping is of such an high standard that they have been preserved in a very serviceable and acceptable condition. There is a lot of very deep wardrobe space, they even have hat “hooks”. The twice daily housekeeping is very efficient and very thorough with a real attention to detail; really good old fashioned service. I found the accommodation very charming and was not the least bothered that it wasn’t 21st century; I enjoyed the slightly faded opulence and grandeur.
The public areas are in keeping with the faded opulence theme and whilst they are all very well maintained, they will need a refresh in the next few years. That said, they are very pleasant places to spend time and enjoy the property. The garden and terrace are a peaceful place to enjoy dinner or breakfast and the food is a mixture of contemporary and more traditional dishes, all cooked to a very high standard with a similarly attentive level of service. I do not understand the criticism that has been levelled at the breakfast buffet (unusually modern for this sort of hotel and most welcome) which is also accompanied by a small menu offering items a la minute e.g. eggs, French toast, etc. etc. etc. The buffet itself is compact but extensive in its offerings of quality local cheeses and charcuterie, breads, pastries, a beautiful selection of fruit (fresh berries included) and a hot selection in addition to any of the hot items that you may order off of the menu. There are also half a dozen or so fresh juices and house mixed “juice bar” type offerings such as orange, carrot and ginger or apple, kiwi and spinach. It is really nice to see such contemporary items available in one of the capital’s most traditional hotels. Unlike the décor, this is certainly an area that is up to date.
The service and warmth of the staff, for me, is what really makes the property stand out; the friendly greeting from the doorman every day; the patient and helpful concierges who discussed everything with me from restaurants to things to see and do; the personal service and attention to detail really made The Ritz stand out from its blander competitors.
If the lack of 21st century fixtures and fittings (all of the services are 21st century such as wi-fi etc.) in the rooms isn’t going to bother you then you will have a fabulous stay here and enjoy some really indulgent service in an elegant city.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the best area of Madrid, facing the Prado and the Thyssen Museum, Hotel Ritz, Madrid is a legendary 104 years old Grande Dame from Europe. The standard of its service and unrivaled prestige have earned it a place among the world's best hotels. Immaculately presented rooms and suites, and elegant dining in our restaurants and our beautiful al fresco garden terrace in summer, make Hotel Ritz the perfect place to stay in Madrid. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Ritz Madrid
- Madrid Ritz-Carlton