When thinking of a Spanish weekend away, Madrid’s often overshadowed by the tourist traps of Barcelona, Seville and Valencia, but maybe we should think again? We spent a weekend at the newly opened Rosewood Villa Magna to see if Madrid can stand the heat.
Set in the centre of Madrid’s bouji Salamanca district and on the doorstep of Calle de Serrano (think 5th Avenue), Rosewood Villa Magna offers the perfect jumping off point to experience the city’s trendiest bars and restaurants, shopping, galleries and more. Close enough to all the main tourist attractions but far enough away to feel like one of the locals; it offers the best of both worlds.
Having recently undergone a transformational refurbishment led by world renowned architect Ramon de Arana and interiors curated by Australia’s BAR studio; the 154 guest rooms and suites now represent Rosewood's signature charm and understated luxurious finish.
Whether you opt for a standard deluxe room or one of the spacious suites each offers up king size beds and crisper than crisp white linens, unxious toiletries, and all the usual mod cons you’d expect from a hotel of this calibre. We opted for the Villa Magna Suite and were spoilt with our own bar and lounge area complete with daily treats, double dressing room and bathroom area. As a fun added extra we particularly enjoyed the funky Marshall speaker to pump out the tunes.
For the rich and famous amongst us then one of the two private rooftop ‘houses’ are perfect for unleashing your inner diva. The vast Anegada House spreads over two and a half thousand square feet of living space as well as sixteen hundred square feet of rooftop terrace. Entertain from your private outdoor kitchen, or work out and enjoy your own personal gym and sauna, either way be sure to phone your bank manager as each house will set you back around €20,000 a night.
The Salamanca district is abundant with great places to eat but you’ll struggle to fit them in given the gastronomic options available at Villa Magna itself. For breakfast enjoy the continental table at las brasas de castellana followed by your choice of a la carte hot plates - our tip; try the Rancheros: Fried Eggs, Crispy Corn Tortilla and Ranchera Salsa to put a spring in your step! Lunch and dinner are also served, and if the weather’s in favour why not dine on the terrace overlooking the Villa Magna gardens.
Indulge in a light bite or afternoon sweet treat at Flor Y Nata and pair it with a glass of champagne or cava to mark the occasion. If like us you struggle to pick between pastry chef Emanuel Alvés’ creations then we suggest trying them all! Well versed in all the deliciousness we can confirm the lemon meringue tart is a triumph, the raspberry mille-feuille pure heaven and when paired with a chocolate delice, freshly baked madeleines and dulce de leche ice cream you won’t be moving far or fast afterwards.
If you’re more for nocturnal goings on then there's always something enticing at Tarde O bar and terrace: negroni tasting, mexican pop ups or mojito nights were flavour of the month during our stay but if nothing else the moody, wood panelled bar and contrasting bright and modern terrace both provide a convenient stop for a pre dinner tipple.
Multi Michelin starred Chef Jesús Sánchez is at the helm of Amos: Villa Magna’s signature fine dining restaurant. Offering up a “gastronomic homage to the exceptional produce of Spain’s northern lands and the traditions and flavours that have inspired this culinary region, bordering the Cantabrian Sea” it should definitely be on your list to try. Sadly we couldn’t get a table but we have it on good authority that the anchovies are to die for. Other things tickling our fancy were the tuna tartar, caramelised foie gras on black olive sponge cake, heifer tail in potato crust and the chocolate marquise with custard.
If a day pounding the streets, sightseeing and carrying all your new purchases has taken its toll then may we suggest sampling the Rosewood’s Sense Spa. A haven away from the hustle and bustle of busy Madrid outside, the Sense Spa is sunken below ground and welcomes you like a warm embrace. Manis, pedis, waxing or massage treatments are all available or why not try the “El Retiro” sense journey incorporating a power walk through Madrid’s most famous park followed by a ritual experience.
Out and About
One quick google will tell you all the top sights to tick off: grab coffee on Plaza Mayor or take a turn around the Royal Palace, the biggest in Europe don’t you know (well excluding the Vatican). Go boating in El Retiro park or catch sunset at the Temple of debob.
No trip would be complete without visiting one of the 69, yes 69, museums and galleries - check the latest exhibitions but at the time of writing KLIMT and Frida Kahlo were both hot tickets.
For drinks we headed to Circulo De Bellas Artes, set on the rooftop of a not-for-profit cultural centre. It proved less flashy than other rooftops on offer but provided just as good a view, great music and most importantly fantastic cocktails. Established in 1880 and still going strong it’s clearly doing something right.
You’ll be stumbling over fantastic restaurants, bars and eateries in the Salamanca district so rather than list a hundred options here we suggest you just follow your nose and sample somewhere new every night. If, however, you need a quick pit stop whilst sightseeing and want to sample an array of different tapas then Mercado de San Miguel is your answer. Madrid’s equivalent to a Time Out market, this bustling corner just off Plaza Mayor brings you all the flavours of Spain under one big glass and wrought iron roof - cava y croquetas? Si por favour!
So did Madrid stand the heat? Si. Will we be back? Si!
Visit Rosewood Villa Magna to book now.
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Sarah Hayman is a contributing food and travel writer at Marie Claire UK, covering everything from UK breaks to far flung destinations, the best greasy spoon to Michelin star dining.
Growing up on the Kent coast Sarah spent virtually every day of her summer holidays frolicking on the beach so it’s no wonder that a life living and working in London leaves her yearning for sand between her toes and cool wines on summer eves.
To ensure she’s ordering the right thing in a restaurant and knowing her lefts from her rights, Sarah has since dabbled in languages being conversational in Spanish and currently studying Arabic at SOAS.
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