WHAT’S IT LIKE?
Turning 40 years old this year, between 2007 and 2009 the independently managed Villa Magna undertook a €50 million revamp to create a new contemporary look. From the outside, the property looks unattractive, as it is housed in a 1970s concrete block, but as soon as you are welcomed inside by attentive doormen, the look is far more sleek and luxurious, with pearl-coloured marble floors, velvet sofas and abstract paintings. As one of the top hotels in the city, it is frequented by business people, celebrities and affluent tourists alike.
WHERE IS IT?
Located 15km from the airport, the hotel is in the Salamanca neighbourhood, a few minutes’ drive from the Museo del Prado and Puerto del Sol.
An additional 32 suites were added during the renovations, bringing the total to 50, although the overall room count decreased from 182 to 150. They range in size from 35 sqm to 290 sqm and come in nine categories. All feature free wired/wifi internet, 32-inch Magic Mirror televisions, iPod docks, minibars, workdesks, marble bathrooms, robes, slippers, sumptuous king beds and either a mahogany or white enamel finish.
My Luxury Prestige suite (65 sqm) also had a living room, Nespresso machine, separate rainshower and bathtub (entry-level rooms have a shower over the bath), Penhaligon’s toiletries (now changed to Blaise Mautin) and a walk-in closet. The décor was smart, with a palette of cream, grey and white.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
I ate breakfast in the main restaurant (€36 for the buffet), and despite plenty of staff being on hand was not impressed with the service. I was abruptly told not to sit at two tables as I was on my own, then had to ask to see a menu and order a coffee after waiting for some time. However, when I went back for lunch the next day with a group, it was a much better experience.
I also had lunch in the independently run Tse Yang Cantonese restaurant, which was atmospheric and buzzing, and the food tasty. The lobby lounge is good for a quick coffee or snack, and the adjacent Magnum bar for an aperitif.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
As well as a ground-level outdoor terrace, there are five meeting rooms and a gallery on the lower-ground floor with partitions allowing for events for up to 900 people, plus three boardrooms (holding 45 people in the largest) on the first floor with natural light.
There is a gym and a small spa with two treatment rooms. I tried the 75-minute “Cherry on Top by Kiara Kare”, which was memorable if nothing else – after being exfoliated, I was covered in what looked like cherry syrup and then wrapped in cling film, while given a foot massage.
The refurbishment has brought this hotel into the 21st century – business travellers looking for a top-end option will not be disappointed.
Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in October started from €360 for a Magna room.
Villa Magna, Paseo de la Castellana 22; tel +34 915 871 234; villamagna.es