A suave and elegant 1920s Spanish Renaissance building by day reveals a boozy interior landscape for the city's pretty people at The Principal. Ideally located off central Madrid's Gran Via, a romantic Grand Dame exterior leads to a tonal ash-and-charcoal gray color scheme oozing polish, charm, and the promise of some grown-up fun. With a hidden alley door and bouncers with guest lists, gaining entry is not unlike getting admitted to an exclusive club. Extravagant furnishings in plush velvet and leather continues the theme. Come nightfall you'll want to make your way upstairs to the rooftop, gin and tonic in hand, so that you can look out on all of Madrid. When school is out for the summer, The Principal is where the adults go to play.
At A Glance
Vibe: Urbane, reconciling classic and contemporary.
Standout Detail: The reception with a view. Upon arrival, expect to be greeted by a Studio 54-like door list; you’ll want to hope your name is on it to gain access to the reception. After the pre-screening, you'll be whisked to the sixth floor for a reception check-in with some serious views.
This Place Is Perfect For: Cosmopolites and trendy types. Expect media and fashion crowds for its location and hip rooftop, although the classic interior styling is sure to win over just about anyone.
Rooms: 76 rooms including three junior suites and the Suite Gran Vía, a decadent space featuring its own sitting and dining rooms, and multiple balconies and entrances. Junior suites include couch-filled reading nooks. Large windows and high ceilings pay homage to the buildings historic bones, but coupled with the muted charcoal-gray and off-white palette, the rooms are modern and refreshing. Airy, subway-tiled bathrooms have walk-in showers filled with luxurious Gilchrist and Soames toiletries. Make use of the complimentary Nespresso machine or tea infusion set.
On Site: The Wellbeing Zone is a rejuvenation haven, incorporating both spa and gym in one; the second floor facility offers Technogym machines and personal training sessions, while the spa menu has all the facials and massages you could need. By day, partake of the rooftop solarium, a series of hot pink cushioned sun-beds, and an ornamental pool ideally located to soak up some Spanish sun.
Food and Drink: Restaurante Atico, run by two Michelin-star chef Ramon Freixa, is on penultimate floor of the hotel. The recent Repsol Sun-awarded eatery showcases informal, modern Spanish cuisine, an impressively classic cocktail menu, and lots of crushed velvet in salmon pink. A jungle-themed pergola, lush with cypresses and olive trees, leads to floor-to-ceiling windows. For a smaller bite and a bigger drink, ascend an extra set of stairs and sip your beverage with a highly sought after, 360-degree backdrop at atmospheric rooftop bar La Terraza.
What to Do Nearby
Kickstart your morning with a cafe cortado and a run around nearby El Retiro Park's boating lake — your friendly concierge will be happy to provide you with a map of suggested routes. After working up an appetite, take a stroll down Calle de Alcana — check out Puerta del Sol plaza as you go past — and make your way to Mercado San Miguel, Madrid's famed food market, to sample local pastries and churro con chocolate. You're spoiled for art options in Madrid, and you'll definitely want to take in a gallery in the afternoon. While the classic galleries of Madrid's Golden Art Triangle are all nearby, another option is Mad is Mad, a young gallery devoted to contemporary creation, irony, and urban experimentation. After a dose of culture, hit Gran Via for retail therapy and food. Mercado de la Reina does fantastic contemporary Spanish food or tapas, and while a cluster of bars nearby — namely Ginclub and Del Diego — should top your list for a great digestif.