Tourists watch the traditional Changing of the Guard at the Royal Palace in Madrid.

London - From a five-star hotel to a budget-friendly hostel, Aoife O’Riordain picks five of the best places to live it up in Madrid.


The Principal

A recent addition to the Small Luxury Hotels of the World stable, The Principal arrived on the scene last year and has quickly established itself as one of Madrid's must-stays. Occupying a Spanish Renaissance 17th century building on a corner of the capital's vibrant Gran Via, there's an intimate clubby atmosphere at this 76-room hotel.



One of its standout features is its rooftop bar that has views of the capital and the sixth floor El Aticó restaurant showcasing the talents of Michelin-starred chef Ramón Freixa.

Marques de Valdeiglesias 1, Madrid (0800 0482 314; Doubles from €330 (about R5 000), room only.


Tótem Madrid

Avid shoppers would be well advised to check into Tótem Madrid, which opened in June in the Salamanca neighbourhood, where streets are lined with luxury stores, boutiques, restaurants and bars. With a pedigree that includes the city's Hotel Urso, Mallorca's Cap Rocat and Menorca's Torralbenc, expect lowkey, sophisticated glamour throughout its 64 rooms and suites.



A photo posted by TÓTEM Madrid (@hoteltotem) on


Hermosilla 23, Madrid (00 34 91 426 0035; Doubles from €145, B&B.


Gran Meliá Palacio de la Duques

The celebrated Spanish master Velázquez has provided the decorative theme for Madrid's latest luxury hotel, which swung open its distinguished doors this month. Fittingly, the palace was the former home of the Dukes of Granada de Ega and Villahermosa, who were long-standing patrons of the artist. Images of Velázquez's well-known works like the “Infanta Margarita” are innovatively applied to the walls of the hotel and its 180 rooms, set off by golds, whites and greys. The seventh floor rooftop pool has fabulous views over the city.

Cuesta Santa Domingo 5, Madrid (00 34 91 541 6700; Doubles from €320, room only.


The Hat

Not all hostels are created equal as the interior of The Hat clearly illustrates. Budget travellers don't have to compromise on style at this 220-bed property spanning 42 rooms of a historic mansion right in Madrid's historic centre. A gastro bar in reception, paella cooking classes on Sunday mornings and a rooftop bar are just a few of the perks that single this hostel-cum-hotel hybrid out. All the hot water is also generated from olive stones using biomass technology.



A photo posted by The Hat Madrid (@thehatmadrid) on


Imperial 9, Madrid (00 34 91 607 201 981; Shared bedrooms from €20 per night with breakfast. Doubles from €80.


Only You

From the witty white suitcase-adorned walls of the reception area to the 45 rooms that are all smart linens, geometric rugs, royal blue hues and tasteful touches, Only You is a fabulous reinterpretation of a 19th century palace by Barcelona-based tastemaker Lázoro Rosa Violán. Its cosy El Padrino bar is where to sample local wine and cured meats like the moreish jabugo ham, while the buzzing Chueca neighbourhood is right on the hotel's doorstep.



A photo posted by Margarita Zosa (@mimozsa) on


Calle Barquillo 21, Madrid (00 34 91 005 2222; Doubles from €135, B&B.