The lowdown The Spanish capital may be home to the oldest restaurant in the world (the famous Sobrino de Botin) along with countless historic landmarks, but don’t let the city’s old world grandeur fool you. Located on the Plaza de Santa Ana, Madrid’s ME Hotel is a beacon of modernity in the heart of this vibrant city. Inside its early-19th century façade, a world of avant-garde design and high-tech entertainment greets you. But as up-to-the-moment as it is, this hotel is not for the tech-challenged traveler (although every remote, button and switch in its 192 rooms is thoroughly explained upon arrival). Dvd players, surround stereo systems, flat screen televisions, an iPod (uploaded with an extensive set of playlists) and even a Wii feature in the lounge, bedrooms and bathrooms of the 15 decked-out ‘The Level’ rooms.
The rooms The ultimate payday splurge is the two-level Suite ME. Housed in the lofty hotel tower, the breathtaking views from its two private terraces –overlooking Plaza de Santa Ana – and a fully-equipped Playstation at your disposal mean you’ll almost never want to venture outside (except to celebrity spot at the rooftop bar). Feeling ultra-decadent? Pop some bubbly and soak in the suite’s private Jacuzzi. Watching your pennies? While they’re still not a budget option, the stylish Deluxe, Supreme and the Level rooms are much more wallet-friendly and just as luxurious. Plush purple carpets cover the hallways, while tea light candles – lit during your turn-down service – pepper the coffee and dining tables. Bathroom junkies will relish the Aveda-stocked marble countertops and showers complete with massaging jets and rain showerheads. Simply divine!
The spa Feet sore from sightseeing? Treat tired toes at Spa Excellence, located just around the corner from the hotel, and book in for one of many excellent massages on offer while you’re at it. You wouldn’t come to ME Madrid for a spa holiday but the wine-based, water and Ayurvedic rituals on offer are well worth the splurge if you have time to spare, post fiesta. Plus, as a guest, you get a special day rate to indulge.
The views For the ultimate views of the city head to the VIP Roof Bar. Chances are you’ll also spot some celebrities, footballers and stylish locals lounging on the swish, white pillow-strewn benches.
What to do With the heart of the city literally at your doorstep, there’s endless options. Want to test the local cuisine? Head to the Mercado de San Miguel market for authentic paella, churros and plenty of Iberian ham. Or visit one of the city’s forty museums: the prestigious Prado is a must-see. Walking tours are easy thanks to the Spanish capital’s easy-to-navigate boulevards, so go out and enjoy the city – a cup of chocolate in the middle of Plaza Mayor will guarantee plenty of people watching. Staying for a few days? Head to Toledo for an afternoon. The medieval city is only a 30-minute high-speed train ride out of the city and at ten Euros per ticket, is well worth a visit.
The food Heaven! Fancy a spot of fresh sushi? Or rather a decadent chocolate soufflé? The hotel restaurant is the place to dine. As well as being the city’s late-night hotspot, it topped my list of places to find mouthwatering cusine. The wide-range of dishes includes a variation of tuna tartar and white truffle honey burrata as well as one of the best risotto dishes I’ve ever tried! But be prepared to spend all night dining, as most locals don’t start dinner until after 10pm. Not a night owl? You’ll be hard pressed to find a restaurant that opens for dinner before half nine, so stock up on fresh local fare or the city’s ubiquitous chocolate churros as an afternoon snack.
The details ME Madrid hotel, Plaza de Santa Ana, Madrid, Spain. Room rates start from £220 per night based on two people sharing, including breakfast and VAT. For more information, visit memadrid.com or call 0808 234 1953.
By Malena Harbers