Madrid’s Luxury Hotel Scene Gets A Makeover With Four Seasons, W and Ritz Coming Soon

Madrid is having a moment when it comes to hotels. In fact, Madrid is having a moment with tourism in general, boasting a record-breaking number of visitors over the past year. The Spanish capital is now on the same level as Rome, London or Paris and finally catching up to its more sophisticated sister to the north, Barcelona. After many years with a stagnant luxury hotel scene, with the Ritz Madrid and Marriott’s Westin Palace as the two most coveted luxury properties, that’s all changing. Hoteliers are realizing that now is the time to enter the Madrid luxury accommodation market, and will be doing so with gusto throughout 2020.

The movement started when the Hyatt Centric opened in 2017 on Madrid’s very own “5th Avenue” — Calle Gran Vía. Other luxury brands began to take notice, interest brewing among hotels like Park Hyatt, The Peninsula, Six Senses and the St. Regis (all rumored to still be searching for the right property location in Madrid).

Rooftop drinks at the new Hyatt Centric. © Lori Zaino.

Rooftop drinks at the new Hyatt Centric. © Lori Zaino.

The most anticipated new opening is the new Four Seasons Canalejas in 2019. Developers are hinting it could be the most luxurious property in Europe! Complete with interior design by Bamo, the hotel will offer 200 rooms, including an opulent presidential suite. The hotel will also feature a spa and a covered pool, as well as private residences for purchase in case you’d prefer to just stay forever (be prepared to put up over 13,000 euros per square meter, though).

Following the recent Marriott-Starwood merger, the group is now one of the largest and most powerful in the world, is opening a trendy W Hotel near the Puerta Del Sol in 2019. The 141-room property will include 20 suites as well as one Extreme WOW suite, which will surely offer epic views, plenty of space and other special amenities. Not to be left behind among Madrid’s budding rooftop scene, the W Madrid will have a rooftop terrace with swimming pool and bar.

Although the millennial-geared Aloft Hotels aren’t quite on the same level of luxury as the W, Starwood/Marriott has plans to open a branch on Calle Gran Vía in the coming years, steadily augmenting the brand’s presence in Madrid.

Not to be left behind, the antiquated Ritz Madrid, built in 1910, is undergoing a massive renovation to modernize its rooms and amenities. The almost-100 million euro renovation will renew the garden to include a pool and spa, and will raise the roof to include new, luxurious attic rooms — and of course, a Royal suite. The hotel is slated for reopening again in 2019.

The Ritz Madrid before the renovation. © Raúl Hernández González via Flickr.

The downside of the luxury hotel movement, though, is that the grandeur won’t come cheap. Rooms at the Four Seasons will start at 500 euros per night. Thanks to so many new openings, the hotel prices in Madrid may increase up to 50%, so be prepared. If you’re searching for good rates, it may be best to reserve soon. But if you’re hoping for a splurge, you’ll definitely have more to choose from come 2019.

Plan to pair your luxury hotel stay with an Insider’s Madrid tour, offering curated tours focused on art, museums, shopping, cuisine, wine, flamenco or all of these combined.

The Perfect Packing List For Visiting Madrid, Spain

When packing for a trip to the Spanish capital, organizing your suitcase is important. You don’t want to pack too much, too little or forget any of the key items listed below. Packing right will help you blend in seamlessly with the locals and not look like a tourist. Here’s a list of things you shouldn’t forget to put in your suitcase when visiting Madrid.

Learn how to pack right for the Spanish capital. © Madrid Destino y Cultura

Sunglasses (and an Umbrella)

Madrid sees 300 days of sunshine a year, and the blue skies are usually bright and cheerful. The sun is strong, even in winter, so bring along a pair of shades to protect your eyes. While it doesn’t rain often in Madrid , having an umbrella in case the weather changes is key – walking in the rain in Madrid without one is no fun.


Cash is king in Madrid. While most hotels, restaurants and shops do take credit cards, if you’re sitting at an outdoor terrace sipping a 2 euro glass of wine, using your card for such a low amount may not always be an option. Most restaurants and bars have minimums (usually hovering around 12 euro). While this may not be a problem in other cities or countries, drinks and tapas are often so reasonably priced in Madrid that you may not always meet the minimum. Not all taxi drivers have their card terminals working and occasionally visitors complain that the metro machines reject foreign cards. Waiters at some of the older restaurants may huff and puff when it comes to splitting the bill on several cards. So pack some euros, or simply take them out of the ATM upon arrival.

Don’t forget to have some cash on you. © Reynermedia via Flickr.

Comfortable Shoes

Madrid is a walking city. Flip flops and stiletto heels are not ideal, especially when walking on cobblestone streets or rushing down the stairwell to catch the metro. Instead, you’ll find locals wearing trendy gym shoes, wedged espadrilles and cute, flat sandals or oxfords. Cooler temps bring ankle and knee high boots, usually flat, with a solid sole. Once you’ve lapped the city, you’ll thank us for this expert packing tip.

A Scarf

Besides being a fashion statement, a scarf is the perfect accessory – and one that the locals use too. It can double as a shawl or beach cover up or keep your neck and shoulders toasty. Weather in Madrid can drop and rise dramatically when the sun comes or goes, so having an extra layer in the city is essential. A scarf can even double as a picnic blanket if you want to lounge on the green grass at the Retiro Park and partake in a quick afternoon siesta.

Jazz up an outfit with a colorful scarf.

An Adaptor

Remember, Spain uses EU plugs, so bring an adaptor if you’re coming from countries the UK or USA. While larger hotels will have them for loan, smaller spots or Airbnb rentals won’t, and with the number of electronics we travel with these days, you’ll be glad you remembered to stow this item in your suitcase

Cute Day-to-Night Outfits

Madrileños don’t wear sweats and leggings outside of their home or the gym. You’ll notice that locals put a good amount of effort into their appearance, so leave your old jogging pants at home and instead bring along jeans, trousers, dresses and tops that can be worn to wander the city by day and look elegant at night.

If you happen to forget any of the above key items, consider taking an Insider’s Madrid shopping tour to pick up these missing items — and more!

Visit These 7 Beautiful Beaches in Spain

Summer brings the heat to Spain, and the best way to cool off and refresh is to do as the Spanish do: escape to the beach! With miles of coastline surrounding the country on both the Mediterranean and Atlantic sides, the sand and sun options are endless, but we’ve narrowed it down so you don’t have to. Here are some of the most beautiful beaches in Spain.

Playa del Silencio

As its name suggests, you can expect to get some serious peace and quiet and this beach. Backed by large cliffs, the silvery sand runs into the emerald waters seamlessly, though thanks to underwater rocks, it’s not the best cove for swimming. But it is perfect for strolling, relaxing and soaking in the sun. Expect ultimate tranquility here — there are no bars, restaurants or even bathrooms at this secluded spot.

Playa del Silencio © Jaime González via Flickr

Playa de Treumal

Just about an hour north of Barcelona sits the Cala Treumal, a small cove with golden sands and turquoise waters. Part of the protected area of Pinya de Rosa, you can spend the morning exploring the stunning cactus botanical gardens there,  and then spend the afternoon on the beach. Although the beach is just a few minutes away from the town of Blanes, it seems to be part of a quiet underworld, hidden away by pine trees, rocks and stones scattered along the sand.

Cala Treumal © Albert Torelló via Flickr

Playa de Las Catedrales

This beach was made for adventurists, as the stunning stretch of sand and rocks has formed arches and caves that can be explored during low tide. Just be prepared for cooler waters and temps. The beach, which is located in the Lugo region of Galicia, sits on the shore of the Cantabrian Sea, which is chillier and rougher than the Mediterranean. Often called Playa de Aguas Santas/Beach of the Holy Waters, you may feel a bit ethereal after bathing in these salty waters. And the spiritual fun doesn’t stop at the beach: a stop here can be combined with Corazón Travel’s guided Camino de Santiago Tour, which takes you through the unique and diverse landscapes of Northwestern Spain.

Playa de las Catedrales © Oswaldo Rubio via Flickr

Playa de Carabeillo

Located in Malaga’s Nerja region, you’ll face a steep descent of about 117 steps to reach the beach, but we promise it’s worth it!  Although the sand here is dark and coarse instead of fine and white, Carabeillo beach is still postcard perfect, thanks to its giant rocks sheltering the sands and the bold blue waters. Although there aren’t many amenities here, you can walk to the nearby Burriana Beach for restaurants, bars and bathrooms.

Playa de Carabeillo © micah craig via Flickr

Playa Bolonia

Close to Cádiz and Tarifa, this Andalusian beach haven is considered a windsurfing paradise thanks to its breeze — called levante –that blow through the cove. While many Spanish beaches are flanked by high-rises and bustling urban hotspots, Bolonia beach has managed to retain its tranquil charm, encased in a natural park called Estrecho. Home to one of the largest dune systems in Europe, the soft white sands seem to stretch on forever.

Playa Bolonia © Torpe via Flickr

Playa de La Garrofera

Located in the La Albufera nature reserve, this beach features dunes up to 1500 meters high. It’s unique protected location is special for another reason: the beach has the Mediterranean waves lapping on one side, but when you tire of the the salty sea, the tranquil Albufera lake sits on the other side. Here, you can rent boats, hike or bike around the lake and surrounding greenery. If you sign up for the guided Valencia Tour with Corazón Travel this September, you’ll be able to enjoy a boat ride on the Albufera lake, in addition to wine tastings, cultural visits and more.

Albufera Lake near Garrofera beach © David Talens via Flickr

Playa de Ses Illetes

Frequently topping lists for the best beaches in the world, you’ll have to fly to Ibiza and then take a boat to the tiny island of Formentera to reach this gem. You may actually think you’re in the Caribbean, as the beach has that fine white sand and crystal clear water you might find in Cuba or Antigua. Many have even deemed this beach the ‘Spanish Caribbean.’ It’s best to visit in the shoulder seasons like May, June, September or October when the weather is still pleasant, but the crowds have subsided.

Playa de Ses Iletes © Vriullop via Wikipedia

7 Spots For A Romantic Honeymoon In Spain

Spain is one of the most romantic countries in the world for a honeymoon. Imagine intimate dinners by candlelight, passionate flamenco dancing and long riverside strolls at dusk with your one and only. But with so many magical cities to visit, where do you even start? Read on to discover to some of the most idyllic spots to celebrate your post-nuptials.


With a thriving tapas culture and the blissful gardens of the Alcazar palace, Seville is definitely one of the sexiest cities in Spain. In fact, the whole southern region of Andalusia is sultry and inviting, and you can’t go wrong with an intimate evening ride in a horse-drawn carriage or a walk through the magnificent Plaza de España at sunset. Exploring a nearby white village such as Arcos de la Frontera is a perfectly picturesque day trip.

Plaza España in Seville. © Lori Zaino.


Once of Spain’s hidden gems, the tranquil island of Menorca is a serene beach getaway perfect for couples wanting to get away from it all. Rent a car and explore the island, discovering rocky coves and beautiful sandy spots — you may just find yourselves completely alone to relax in the sunshine. Evening walks through the port and past the old British houses of Máhon are a peaceful way to unwind, and this island is truly a place for you to bond with your new love.

Cala Galdana in Menora. © Ben Salter / Wikipedia.


Such a large city may seem imposing for a honeymoon, but with a growing number of boutique hotels as well as 5-star luxury properties, you can bask in the very best in Spain’s capital when it comes to accommodation. With day trips to nearby charming villages like Segovia and Toledo, getting out of the city is just a hop, skip and jump away. Madrid has endless cultural adventures, and the city is full of eclectic art, live music and dance, gourmet restaurants, cozy bars and boutique shopping.Remember, Insider’s Madrid can always help you to book tours — we’ll curate the perfect food, shopping, art or fashion tour with newlyweds in mind!

Plaza de la Villa in Madrid. © Madrid Destino Cultura Turismo y Negocio.


The Arabic influence on this southern Spanish city creates a special ambiance perfect for couples. Enjoy panoramic views of Granada, the Alhambra Palace and beyond as you and your honey take in a sunset at the Mirador San Nicolás, the city’s most coveted viewpoint. Once the sun sets, there’s nothing more romantic than soaking in that post-wedding bliss by admiring gypsy flamenco deep in a mountainside cave while sipping on sangria.

Granada and beyond. © Lori Zaino.

La Rioja

Close your eyes and picture you and your partner sipping red wine paired with savory Iberian ham and exquisite cheese, all to the backdrop of medieval villages and rolling vineyards. If this sounds like a dream, head to the Rioja region of Spain, one of the most popular areas in Spain for wine tasting. The charming towns of Logroño and Haro can be explored by two on foot after a delightful day of tasting and touring the nearby vineyards and villages.

A small town in the Rioja region of Spain. © cenobio / Wikipedia.


Beach-loving couples looking for a sophisticated, glamorous honeymoon should head to Marbella. Spend your days frolicking with your plus one on long streches of sandy beaches lined with palm trees or unwinding at one of the many spas. Once the sun sets, treat yourselves to elegant dinners and cocktails at fashionable beach bars.

Port Banús in Marbella. © Tomas Faro / Wikipedia.

San Sebastián

Foodie couples should immediately head to San Sebastián, famous for its incredible eats, including a number of Michelin-star restaurants. But going beyond the fancier food scene, you’ll discover a whole other layer of dining — pinchos — which is really a way of life. These small tapas, often ‘pinched’ with a stick, can be found at most bars and restaurants, so grab your partner and start sampling. If you’re too full to do anything else, walk hand-in-hand along the city’s most famous beach, La Concha.

La Concha beach in San Sebastián. © Keta / Wikipedia.

6 Plans Perfect For Your Bachelorette Party in Madrid

Wedding season has officially arrived! Before you and your partner tie the knot, you should plan to have a bit of fun first. With so many other wedding decisions on your plate, don’t overcomplicate things and instead choose a destination you and your entire gal group will love for the ultimate bachelorette party send-off into married life. Regardless of what you may have imagined for this quintessential ladies getaway, Madrid has it all. Whether it be high-end fashion and shopping, craft cocktails, gourmet cuisine or a nightlife scene that rivals Las Vegas or Ibiza, Madrid is a dream spot for your hen party.

Design by Isabel Zapardiéz

Soak in the sun

Nothing ruins a girl’s getaway like rain. But Madrid’s 300 days of sunshine per year will ensure you’ll not only have clear skies, but you may even bronze those shoulders as you stroll the streets of the Spanish capital city beneath the rays. Spending time outside sets the scene for serious bonding with the girls, so consider hosting a picnic or doing a relaxing yoga class in the park. After all, not every bachelorette party activity needs to be wild — simply enjoying time outdoors with friends is the best.

Hit the shops

Shopping with the girls is the perfect way to prepare for your upcoming nuptials and there’s plenty of boutiques in Madrid where you can discover one-of-a-kind items. Whether it’s leather shoes, vintage shops, wedding lingerie or bridesmaids dresses, you’ll be sure to find the ideal garment(s) here. If you aren’t quite sure where to go, Insider’s Madrid (authors of the style section for the Louis Vuitton Madrid guide!) curates customized fashion and shopping tours — meaning we’ll plan you a flawless shopping day, from stopping into the boutiques of Chueca, Alonso Martínez, and Serrano to visiting the workshops and the independent stores of Spain’s designers and curators, all based on the bride’s preferences. If you’d prefer to include wedding dress shopping into your itinerary, we can arrange that too.

¡Ole! Time to Dance

If you imagined attending a flamenco show surrounded by your closest friends or even taking a dance class itself, Insider’s Madrid can make it happen. Flamenco Uncovered is a unique tour where you’ll get to actually get to spend the evening with a flamenco dancer and learn a full flamenco choreography during a personalized dance class. We even offer discounts for groups over two people! Whether you see the art, learn about it or even begin to dance it yourself, flamenco will make your bachelorette celebration a special one.

Drinks High Above

Madrid is budding with rooftop bars where you can enjoy cocktail after cocktail with the ladies. The views of Madrid, speckled with red-tiled rooftops sitting beneath the blue sky, will seem even more impressive as you sip a crisp glass of cava or a refreshing mojito. Make sure to reserve ahead of time for your group to ensure you get the best spot in the house.

Photo by Lori Zaino

Night Out on The Town

If you want to swing traditional for your bachelorette party with a (wild) night out on the town, Insider’s Madrid will curate every detail for you — we can plan cocktail workshops where you meet Madrid’s most fashionable mixologists, an upmarket tapas tour or whatever style of evening you desire. You can’t go wrong with one of Insider’s Madrid’s food tours — the Spanish wine tasting is a wonderful way for you and your girls to chat over Riojas and Riberas.

See Spain Beyond Madrid

For an extra exclusive fashionista hen party, why not get out of Madrid and see all of Spain, eating, drinking and exploring the history of fashion along the way. The fall edition of the Fashion, Food and Textiles Tour hosted by Corazón Travel will be an unforgettable experience — one that includes an insider visit to meet Nacho Aguayo, creative director of Spanish fashion house Pedro del Hierro in Madrid, a almazuelas patchwork workshop with former Givenchy model Lola Barasoian at her converted water mill and meeting couture designer Isabel Zapardiéz in her San Sebastian atelier for your own personal design !

Design by Isabel Zapardiéz

If you’d rather focus on dining and drinking instead, Corazón Travel’s Insider Gourmet Tour offers your group the chance to indulge in some of the best tapas, wine, sherry and more throughout central and southern Spain. The fall event includes meeting winemakers, dining at Michelin-star restaurants, Iberian ham tastings and so much more.

San Sebastián under sunny skies

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