If life were a city, it’d be Madrid – that’s the message fronting Turismo Madrid’s new promotional campaign, which invites visitors from all over the world to enjoy premium experiences and a convivial atmosphere in the vibrant Spanish capital. Tapping into key consumer trends accelerated by the pandemic, including demand for authenticity and slow travel, Madrid is throwing the spotlight on its diverse destination offering, encouraging travellers to the city to savour every moment. Here, Business Traveller rounds up some of Madrid’s most enriching experiences, with a focus on the finer things in life.
Madrid is home to some of the world’s most luxurious hotels, including the Four Seasons, which opened its doors in 2020 and the Mandarin Oriental Ritz, which has reopened after its iconic Belle-Époque building underwent restoration work. They join an extensive list of premium properties, including the historic Westin Palace, the Santo Mauro Autograph Collection, and the recently reopened Rosewood Villa Magna Hotel. Other new additions include the Hardrock Hotel Madrid, which opened in June.
Discover Galería Canalejas, a new home for exclusive fashion brands, a food hall offering unique culinary experiences, and 14 restaurants serving global flavours, located in the Barrio de las Letras (Literary Quarter). Other premium-sector favourites include Calle Serrano and Calle Ortega y Gasset in the well-known Salamanca District. Beyond designer shopping choose from bohemian, alternative and vintage fashion, handmade clothing, artisanal souvenirs, outdoor markets, and much more (www.esmadrid.com/en/shopping-madrid). Madrid is a city where luxury is synonymous with quality, design, detail, and passion and this is evident in the plethora of boutiques and studios showcasing home-grown brands and products. Look out for Salesas, Lavapiés, the Barrio de las Letras and Chueca, Malasaña, Conde Duque, La Latina, and Madrid de los Austrias – establishments selling everything from hand-crafted capes, gloves, hats, meninas dolls, dinnerware and fans, to Manila shawls, jewellery, handbags to furniture, tapestries, violet-flavoured sweets and guitars. For a map of new and old artisans of Madrid, visit the shop at Plaza Mayor Tourist Information Centre.
Culture and art
Private tours of Madrid’s most famed galleries and landmarks are now possible, with the popular Thyssen-Bornemisza, El Prado and Reina Sofía Museums offering this service. So too is Liria Palace, the official residence of the house of Alba in Madrid and the main location of its art collection and historical archive, as well as the Royal Tapestry Factory. Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art – the Prado, Thyssen-Bornemisza and Reina Sofía – is well known, but often-overlooked must-visit cultural attractions include the Decorative Arts Museum, the Royal Observatory and the Royal Botanical Gardens.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, Madrid is home to the oldest restaurant in the world. Founded in 1725, Botín, promises authentic and traditional cuisine. If you wish to delve further into the Spanish capital’s culinary history, the Illustrated Map of Century-old Restaurants and Tabernas has a foodie route for you (www.esmadrid.com/en/centuries-old-restaurants-madrid). For a Michelin-star experience, treat yourself to a meal at Saddle. With chef Adolfo Santos at its helm, it’s the latest addition to the city’s haute-cuisine scene. It collected its first Michelin star in December 2020 and, more recently, two Repsol Suns — a prestigious distinction that recognises culinary experience and contribution to the world of gastronomy. There are 20 restaurants listed in the Michelin Guide 2021 (www.esmadrid.com/en/michelin-starred-restaurants) ranging from DiverXo, headed by Dabiz Muñoz, with three Michelin stars, to Coque by Mario Sandoval with two and El Invernadero, by Rodrigo de la Calle, which has also been awarded a Green Star, a new accolade in the prestigious guide acknowledging restaurants at the forefront of sustainable gastronomy. Halal food is easy to find in Madrid. For more information, visit www.esmadrid.com/en/halal-travel-madrid#
Landscape of Light, a truly unique part of the city formed by Paseo del Prado and El Retiro Park, which has its sights on UNESCO World Heritage Site status. Culture, science and nature come together in this 190-hectare space, 75 per cent of which is green space.
Fútbol, with the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, which is currently undergoing a huge upgrade, and the Real Madrid CF Museum the third most popular tourist attractions in Madrid. If you want to stand apart from the crowd access the hospitality area get personalised service, premium catering, private elevators and privileged views of the field. www.esmadrid.com/en/the-best-football-in-madrid
Outdoor spaces such as Madrid Río Park, a sprawling cultural and leisure area in Manzanares, the Casa de Campo Park with sun-drenched terraces on an impressive artificial lake, which dates back to the 16th century and lesser-known city parks such as El Capricho and Quinta de los Molinos.
Exclusive experiences at Madrid’s theatres, museums, boutiques, football stadia and restaurants, plus helicopter rides, For grade-A flamenco experience, book a table at Torres Bermejas and enjoy the show and the Guajira menu.
Beauty and spa, with a wide range of facilities, from organic specialists and experts in Ayurveda to high-end spas at the city’s top hotels.
10 ways to explore Madrid – in a city brimming with life, the options for enjoyment are endless.
Discover a unique way of life
It happens every time. You arrive in Madrid and think, “What a great atmosphere!” There’s something in the air, an energy that invigorates you and fills you with positive emotions. Maybe it’s the sun, or the warmth of its people, but whatever it is, you want to get out and explore it right away. A simple walk will show you that life is lived and enjoyed to the fullest here, that life is celebrated in Madrid’s streets, its outdoor bars and cafés, its markets, its summer fiestas. You see people laughing in parks and you want to join the party. What is it about this place? If life were a city, it’d be Madrid.
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