AC Palacio del Retiro

High-end, modern, discreet

Alfonso Xii 14, Madrid 28014


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At a Glance

Located on leafy Retiro Park near Madrid’s most desirable sights, this hotel in a century-old mansion boasts surprisingly modern furnishings.

Indagare Loves

  • Immediate access to Retiro Park for a morning run or walk
  • Free bicycles for guests
  • The Presidential Suite, in the palace’s former library, with sixteen-foot ceilings, soaring bookshelves of Cuban oak, a fireplace and a two-person tub


The appeal of the Palacio del Retiro is undeniable. Facing the Retiro Park, just a few blocks from the Prado and the restaurants of Salamanca, the hotel is peaceful yet conveniently located. Its rooms are spacious and its architecture elegant, yet the décor is modern with a stylish flair, falling somewhere between the traditional Ritz and the cutting-edge Hospes. And the staff, if not as numerous and as formal as the ones at some of the grander properties, is helpful and friendly, eager to make guests feel at home from the moment they arrive. The hotel’s few, minor drawbacks are balanced by homey comforts. It does not have a major lobby scene, but the quiet bar is a pleasant place to meet for a pre-dinner drink. And although it lacks a full-service restaurant, the pretty breakfast room serves a wonderful morning meal, and throughout the day guests can order light tapas or drinks while contemplating the park. A small fitness room is stashed in the basement, but a run or a bicycle ride (the hotel has free bikes for guests, although they may rent them out in the future) through the Retiro is infinitely more appealing.

A grand early 20th-century mansion, the Palacio retains the trappings of its aristocratic past. Throughout the property are original stained-glass windows from Paris and carpets manufactured by the Royal Tapestry Factory, as were the ones at the Ritz and the Royal Palace. The furnishings here, however, are sleeker, with platform beds and muted colors. Even the smallest of the hotel’s 50 rooms, a single with interior courtyard views, is spacious and has a modern marble bathroom complete with Molton Brown products. Today’s comforts are present in plasma televisions, Bose sound systems and WiFi, while the ancient iron keys (by law, landmarked properties cannot convert the door locks to modern card systems) link travelers to the past. The Palacio also offers free shoe shining and iPod docking stations in the rooms. Just avoid the few interior rooms that look out onto a brick wall.

Who Should Stay

The hotel’s guests tend to be chic thirty- to fifty-somethings who want a stylish property that’s not over-the-top. The Palacio also draws traveling executives who value its location and intimate feel.

Written by Henley Vazquez

What's Nearby
Indagare employees walking up stiars

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