Madrid: Villa Magna
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AddressPaseo de la Castellana, 22 28020 Madrid, Spain +34/915-871-234 villamagna.es
A la carte room service breakfast: the Restaurant Villa Magna has excellent service and a terrific breakfast buffet, it can't beat the blissful inertia of sitting on a couch in a robe eating flaky pastries, rich coffee, and fresh fruit in the calm quiet room.
Massage at the Kiara Kare spa
Tapas, wine and people-watching at Bar Magnum
- "Les Clefs d'Or" concierge service
- Multilingual staff
- Valet service
- Laundry & dry cleaning
- Babysitter service
- In-room shopping
- High speed internet and Wi-Fi
- Fitness facilities
- Hairdresser and beauty salon
- 100 rooms and 50 suites
- Full conference center, business center and secretarial service
Tucked above pedestrian traffic behind a lush greenery and a U-shaped driveway surrounding a dancing fountain, I enter the front doors and am again reminded not to rely on first impressions. The lobby is bustling with energy. Attentive doormen help new arrivals with their luggage in front of quirky modern art; young couples sip cocktails at the club-like Magnum Bar; business men and women in designer clothes wait for a table at the popular in-hotel Cantonese restaurant Tse Yang and the elegant Restaurante Villa Magna (which has wonderful food: During my stay, I enjoyed a light Cantabrian fish soup and grilled beef fillet with Parisienne potatoes, but most memorable were the desserts—strawberry mousse and raspberry tartlets). After taking in the scene, I grab my key, pass a lovely floor-to-ceiling stained glass feature behind the hotel's signature spiral staircase, and head up to my suite.
Built in 1972, the Hotel Villa Magna underwent an in-depth renovation and modernization in 2007, demolishing the interior to create fewer but larger, more luxurious guest accommodations. The rooms and suites are decorated with tasteful understatement, with warm cream and soft taupe interrupted only by the dark wood details on the chairs and tables. Without realizing it, my posture changes: After an early morning alarm, a stressful airport transfer and a lively but full schedule upon arrival to the city, I can finally rest. It takes me a moment to discover that there are flat screen TVs hidden behind mirrors on my wall. Deciding against a dramatic soap opera after a few scenes (betrayal! redemption!) I take my luggage to the walk-in closet and changing room and then relax in the deep marble bath. Although I am only a few floors above the traffic and bustle on a Friday evening in the heart of a capital city with a vibrant night life, the room is perfectly dark and silent. I fold myself into bed under a sumptuous cloud of a duvet, soft sheets and downy pillows. At the risk of sounding insincere from presumed hyperbole, it is my duty to declare that this was the most comfortable bed I have ever slept in.
I awake refreshed and ready to explore the city. I reference my map and see that the Villa Magna is a long walk or a short cab ride from "the Golden Triangle of Art": the royal collection at the Prado Museum (pre-20th century), the Reina Sofia (20th century modern), and the privately collected Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum (ancient through contemporary). I wander too quickly through each museum and marvel at the square-mile density of masterpieces. I stroll through the literary quarter, walking over bronzed quotes in the sidewalk, past Cervantes's burial site, past Hemingway's favorite beer hall Cerveceria Alemana, and a lovely statue of Federico Garcia Lorca; I meander from the Plaza Mayor to the Plaza del Sol, through Retiro Park and up the Golden Mile, and I find myself so enamored of the city and my soothing accommodations at the Villa Magna that I'm no longer paying attention to the late-night crowds and street musicians surrounding me—I'm scheming planning my next trip to Madrid. —Marnie Galloway
IN THE AREA
- Poncelet Cheese Bar:The airy and modern Poncelet Cheese Bar offers a modest but gastronomically inventive appetizer and entree menu, but unsurprisingly the hundreds of international cheeses take center stage. Order a "flight" of cheese that comes paired with dried fruits, rustic bread and a beautifully designed menu with detailed graphics with culinary details on the selections, and enjoy with a glass of Spanish verdejo. Calle Jose Abascal 61; tel: +34/913-992-550; ponceletcheesebar.es
- Chocolateria San Gines: In the old city of central Madrid, up a rising cobblestone passageway near San Gines church is a Madrid institution: since 1894, the Chocolateria San Gines has offered chocolate con churros. Sit outside at small tables or at a booth in the dark, mirror-walled bustling cafe and dip freshly hot, crispy churros in thick dark chocolate. Pasadizo de San Gines 5; tel: +34/913-656-546; chocolateriasangines.com
- Mercado de San Miguel: The Mercado de San Miguel is a vibrant food market in the beautifully restored Beaux-Arts glass-and-iron structure adjacent to Plaza Mayor. Graze on the offerings while you browse food stalls offering fish, pastas, pastries, stuffed olives, ham, beer and wine, tapas and almost anything else you could want to nibble. Plaza de San Miguel; tel: +34/915-424-936; mercadodesanmiguel.es