There She Glows! Rosewood Villa Magna Is the Newcomer Madrid Deserves
MADRID - Rosewood Villa Magna, already one of Madrid’s most sought after addresses, has recently undergone a serious glow-up.Originally built on the site of the 19th-century Palace Anglada, a lavish Spanish-style villa similar to the Alhambra, the building was demolished in the 1960s and rebuilt in 1972 into one of the city's top hotels, a favorite of diplomats and celebrities alike. In 2020, the property underwent an extensive refurbishment and opened in 2021 as Rosewood’s first Spanish property. Madrid’s buzzing shops, restaurants, and nightlife are at its doorstep, while a Michelin-star restaurant, a vibrant terrazzo bar packed with locals, and a signature spa are right inside
Location. Location. Location! Perhaps THE most ideal address smack in the middle of Madrid’s sceney and well-dressed Salamanca neighborhood. Quite literally rubbing shoulders with embassies and their candy-colored facades as well as some of the city’s top boutiques (Gucci, Louis Vuitton, the Loewe flagship,to name a few). Salamanca’s Upper East Side vibes are a stone’s throw from one of the city’s most exclusive and oldest markets, Mercado de la Paz, where loyal madrileños stock up on the finest cuts and seafood and line up for iconic tortilla de patata at Casa Dani.
Nothing short of pure luxury and stately elegance. The once gray facade of the modernist building received a makeover at the hands of renowned Spanish architect Ramon Arana. Elegantly dressed bellmen welcome guests beneath a pair of two 30-meter high cedar trees on the grandiose white steps. A continuous murmur of seductive tunes and multilingual conversations (such an elegant crowd…) are the soundtrack to the lobby’s inviting, cozy corners, which ooze with regal touches like a 1970s stained glass window behind the main stairwell.
This Place Is Perfect For
Ideal for business travelers and longer-stay leisure travelers looking to explore the city. Foodies and shopaholics looking to take advantage of the weak euro, vintage Perrier Jouet trolleys, and bespoke negronis, this is your spot.
But Not So Perfect For
This is a Rosewood property: Those looking for a bargain should look elsewhere. Rosewood Villa Magna is 100 percent on the pricy side and 100 percent delivers on what it charges: understated luxury. Probably not the spot for the digital nomad / remote working / Zooming-all-day crowd either as the common areas are usually buzzing with IRL meetups and cocktails — locals and guests alike.
The hotel has 154 rooms, including 53 suites. The penthouses on the top floor, Salamanca House and Anglada House, are private residences. The rooms are beyond regal, comfortable, and, most importantly, functional. A bespoke negroni kit was the highlight in the minibar; the ubiquitous trusty Nespresso is always a balm for caffeine addicts. I loved the complete bathroom kit with makeup remover, eco-friendly toothbrush, and Instagram-worthy Claus Porto toiletries. The WiFi is solid and free, because, I mean, it's 2023.
You Can Bring the Kids
While definitely more of an adults-favored hotel, the fully kitted and palatial standalone residences on the top floor, Salamanca House and Anglada House, would be a great solution for those traveling with kids. Families are offered a special rate when booking connecting rooms, and cots are free of charge for guests under 12.
What’s on Site
Sense, Rosewood’s signature spa, is located underground and offers the ultimate refuge after a full day in the city. The many wellness options include a Turkish-style hammam, a Finnish sauna, and a robust treatment menu. The gym is accessible 24 hours and stocked with brand-new Technogym equipment. (A nice counterbalance to all the tapas.) Indoor and outdoor venues are available for meetings and events, whether intimate or huge.
Food + Drink
The hotel’s dining options are unparalleled, and all have expansive terraces and gardens. Amós, the signature restaurant led by Michelin-starred chef Jesús Sánchez, specializes in Northern Spanish cuisine and wines, specifically those of the Cantabria region. The menu is available a la carte or as the Estancia tasting menu, where anchovies and patés reign.
Las Brasas de Castellana is the all-day dining option. The lunch and dinner menu is heavy on grilled and roasted meats (Iberican pata negra, slow-roasted veal shank), but vegetarians will find plenty to love. This is nice: As part of Rosewood’s Partners in Provenance program, the local farms that provide the fresh produce, eggs, olive oil, and beef are credited on the menu.
At Tarde. O on the vibrant terrace at the back of the hotel, the mixologists can whip up more than 400 cocktails. In true Spanish style, they serve them alongside complementary tapas.
The beautifully decorated patisserie Flor y Nata is responsible for the tempting scent that penetrates the space adjacent to the lobby — an ideal spot for afternoon tea or solo (espresso).
The service was superb, as is to be expected at a Rosewood hotel. When I had a small mishap misplacing my AirPods, the housekeeping staff was on it like the FBI and tracked them down immediately. The terrace at Tarde.O was packed with cool kids every evening, which is always refreshing for a hotel lobby bar.
The only downside was the lack of an outdoor pool, especially in the height of summer.
What to Do Nearby
Salamanca is one of Madrid’s bougiest neighborhoods,with grand, old-world boulevards and pristine parks. This is a land where long, boozy lunches outdoors reign, and siestas are non-negotiable. Be sure to make time to aimlessly wander through El Retiro and walk towards the epicenter of Modern Spanish art, The Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, whose permanent collection has work from all the hombres and their masterpieces: Picasso (Guernica!), Dali, Miro, and Tapies (those jewels!).
For a true feast for the eyes and mouth, Quintin is part old-school grocer, part lively sit-down restaurant packed to the brim with beautiful produce and people. If you can’t snag a reservation, post up at one of the high tables and soak in all the good vibes, good wine, and good times.
For a city that starts dinner at 10 p.m., Madrid has its fair share of watering holes and dance floors. For a cozy conversation amid a dimly lit speakeasy vibe, Harrison 1933 is the spot. If dancing on couches and epic DJs are more your thing, Barbara Ann is a must.
When you need a break from all the jamon and crave something on the lighter side, Honest Greens offers ethically sourced organic fare less than a block away.
For a true shopping experience, go to EKSEPTION. Designed to feel like a continuous catwalk, it brings the world of international runway looks to Madrid through the latest from Bottega Venetta, Celine, and Fendi, among other usual suspects. Those with more taste than funds will want to visit their sister store, EKSEPTION 2: A hop and a skip away, it sells previous designer collections at up to 70 percent off.
Inspired by the artisanal take-away coffee shops of Japan, East Crema has outposts around the city and offers a no-frills specialty coffee experience with minimalist, beautiful interiors and details.
Because alfresco wining and dining is almost a requirement in Spain regardless of the weather, Florida Park, located in the heart of Parque El Retiro offers all the above. Pop in for a cocktail and stay for the live music; programming changes with the seasons.
Walk straight past the tourist trap cafes on Puerta de Alcala and dive into Berria, a chic upscale wine bar with an impressive wine list of more than 100 wines by the glass and, as required by owner Juan, more sommeliers than waiters.
And don't miss another Madrid little black book for more shops, more bars, more everything.