Very deep pockets are not required in Madrid, where you can acquire an abundance of basic survival needs—food, wine and culture—quite reasonably. But if your Travel depends on rare vintages and astronomical thread counts, the city can handily deliver those too.
SLEEPING QUARTERS Hotel Santo Mauro is not the “latest” place and that’s precisely the point. Located in a 19th-century nobleman’s palace in the city’s prettiest quarter, it provides layers of style and tranquility. There’s also top-notch service and a spritz of Local buzz as glamorous Madrileños pop in to see and be seen in the hotel’s suite of sitting rooms, bar and a cozy restaurant done up by A-list interior designer Lorenzo Castillo.
COST From $380 per night, acsantomauro.com
CULTURE FIX Compared to the extra-terrestrial-looking opera houses that have recently landed in cities like Oslo or Hamburg, Madrid’s neoclassical Teatro Real, which turns 200 this year, may appear buttoned-up and boring. Evidence to the contrary includes a fantastic lineup of opera, ballet, concerts and other programs, plus intermission nibbles care of Ramon Friexa (a Local restaurant with two Michelin stars). Even if you don’t see a show, take a backstage tour (like the Pentagon, the building has more floors below ground than above).
COST Opera tickets peak out at $240 each for the best seats in the house. Tours are about $10, teatro-real.com/en
OUTDOOR EXCURSION An hour north of Madrid sits Spain’s loveliest royal palace, La Granja de San Ildefonso, built by the first Bourbon king, Felipe V, in 1724 with gardens and fountains designed to remind him of his youth at Versailles. At 4,000 feet above sea level, La Granja boasts crisp, dry air in summer and visitors who so desire can get good and wet at the Fountain of Fame, which shoots a jet 150 feet in the air.
COST About $500 for a driver for half day, with more affordable options like buses, trains and ride-sharing apps like Uber and Cabify; entrance to palace and gardens, $10, patrimonionacional.es/real-sitio/palacio-real-de-la-granja-de-san-ildefonso
MIDDAY MEAL Santceloni, known for celebrating seasonal delicacies, is the only restaurant in Madrid to have won all three of Spain’s national gastronomic prizes—for cuisine, sommelier and atmosphere. Dishes range from firm white asparagus bathed in an emulsion of smoked carrot, corn and curry to decadent duck lasagna. Don’t skip the cheese table.
COST About $460 for a three-course lunch for two plus a bottle of wine, restaurantesantceloni.com.
SOUVENIR Spain creates exceptional leather goods, often for foreign (read Italian) brands. A proud member of the Made-in-Spain-label club is La Portegna, a line of men’s and women’s shoes, bags, wallets and other goods crafted in Ubrique, Andalusia.
COST $300 for a leather tote, $110 for suede Travel slippers, laportegna.es
REFRESHMENT Enjoy sunset and a crisp Catalan rosé from the rooftop terrace at the Principal hotel with humbling views of the city stretching far beyond the whimsical, if massive, sculpture topping the iconic Metropolis Building just across the street.
COST $15 for two glasses of wine, theprincipalmadridhotel.com
DINNER Corral de la Morera, one of Madrid’s most authentic flamenco clubs (called tablaos here) has upped its game with a tiny gastronomic restaurant in a former dressing room. Diners enjoy a six- or nine-course tasting menu by celebrated Basque chef David Garcia while listening to the restless guitars and fast-moving feet of the 8 p.m. flamenco show. After dinner they pass into the tablao for the real show.
COST About $240 for two for a short tasting menu (to allow time for flamenco performance) and a bottle of wine plus the show, corraldelamoreria.com
NIGHTCAP If flamenco makes you want to twitch rhythmically yourself, head to the Jungle Jazz Club at Amazonico in Barrio Salamanca. Since it’s a frat party for well-heeled 40-year-old Spaniards, they take reservations.
COST Cocktails for two $40, thejunglejazzclub.com
TOTAL COST: $2,435 (exchange rate at press time: $1 = € 0.85)
$400 a day
If lodging were free, you could live in Madrid for an entire week on $400. Unfortunately, under-$150 hotel rooms tend to offer wrinkle-enhancing lighting and synthetic “wood” floors—real buzz kills if you plan to spend time indoors. But paying just a bit more yields big rewards.
SLEEPING QUARTERS The latest addition to the Madrid hotel boom is the NH Collection Gran Via, which just opened in May on—appropriately enough—Gran Via. The bustling boulevard is Madrid’s version of Manhattan’s Broadway, and like other hotels in the area, it’s upside down with lobby and restaurants on the top floors to make the most of the views. Restaurant Picalagartos Sky Bar generates its own buzz with a hipster culinary and cocktail scene.
COST $180 for a double room, nh-collection.com
CULTURE FIX Behind the vast Reina Sofia modern and contemporary art museum, nearly 40 contemporary art galleries line Calle del Doctor Fourquet. Check out established Madrid dealers like Helga de Alvear and Espacio Minimo as well as the smaller cutting-edge spaces, such as Nogueras Blanchard.
COST Looking is free, buying is on you.
OUTDOOR EXCURSION For joggers, cyclists and anyone who craves being outside, Madrid Rio, a newish 6-mile park, is giving the grand Retiro Park a run for its money. It was created in 2011 on the reclaimed banks of the Manzanares River, which, while not much of a river, winds through one helluva park. There are bike paths, zip lines, 17 playgrounds, urban beaches, cafes, bars and a few museums and historic monuments tucked in along the way.
MIDDAY MEAL Sitting at the juncture of the trendy Chueca and Malasaña neighborhoods, Café Comercial was deeply mourned when it closed in 2016, but all was forgiven when it opened with a groovy new look by interior design studio Madrid in Love and a vastly upgraded menu. Simple dishes like sirloin steak, grilled razor clams and seafood risotto are adroitly prepared. Or do like the Locals and sit at the bar making a lunch of a wedge of Spanish omelet and a flauta (a slender baguette) of jamón Serrano and fresh tomato.
COST About $70 for lunch for two with wine, cafecomercialmadrid.com
SOUVENIR Most American homes appallingly lack an aceitera—the little cruet or flask that lets you serve olive oil without ruining your tablecloth with drips. Madrid’s best selection of aceiteras—not to mention an encyclopedic selection of sangria pitchers and other must-have items is available at Alambique, a delightful shop near the Royal Palace that specializes in Spanish crockery and utensils. They also have really fun cooking classes for paella, pintxos, ceviche and sushi.
COST $10-20 for an olive oil cruet, alambique.com
REFRESHMENT Restaurant resuscitator Carlos Zamora (re-launcher of La Camencita, Celso y Manolo among other noteworthy restos) just rebooted an ages-old boîte in the heart of historic Madrid as Café Angelica. Signature fare: special coffees, herbal teas, a selection of organic snacks (including a corps of avocado toast options) and few decadent sweets. The outdoor seating area, spilling down a series of staircase landings, is one of Madrid’s most Instagrammable nooks.
COST $25 for two, cafeangelica.es
DINNER Arzabal, one of two newish restaurants set inside the Reina Sofia museum, is considered by many exacting gourmands the gold standard of Madrid tapas joints. Start with porcini croquetas, jamon iberico, fried artichokes and steak tartare—all designed for easy sharing—and go from there.
COST About $90 for dinner for two with wine, arzabal.com
NIGHTCAP Located in a former pornographic cinema, Sala Equis (equis is the Spanish letter X) in the bohemian La Latina neighborhood has traded adult films for adult beverages and organic snacks, along with a cocktail bar and micro-cinema. Both highbrow arty films and offbeat comedies are shown in their original language.
COST $20 for two for the 10 p.m. screening and two craft beers, salaequis.es
TOTAL COST: $400 (exchange rate at press time: $1 = € 0.85)
Source : WSJ