Openings: The Plush New Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid Hotel
We definitely really miss Europe – and we’re pretty sure it misses us. But with EU travel restrictions not budging any time soon, we’re not expecting that situation to be remedied at least until the onset of autumn. (Sigh.)
Yet it is undoubtedly encouraging that, at least here and there, fabulous new hotels are fearlessly throwing open their doors. Indeed, there’s something distinctly hopeful about that rather intrepid act, at such an uncertain time as this. And it’s inspired us to start planning those October to December 2021 trips – even if our plans may yet be thwarted.
Specifically, we’ve been dying to return to Madrid – since taking memorable trips to there in 2016 and 2017 – for another dose of flamenco, monumental museum going (The Prado, Reina Sofia), and the legendarily endless nightlife. And we’re especially enthused for the possibility of checking into the new Mandarin Orienta Ritz Madrid when we do – especially as it’s so brilliantly located in the Spanish capital’s Golden Triangle, where several of those museums just happen to be.
At last now open after much anticipation, it’s actually an update of the city’s richly storied Ritz hotel, dating back to 1910 – when it was debuted at Plaza de la Lealtad, 5 by César Ritz. To give an idea of its enduring allure, Hemingway, Princess Di, Viggo Mortensen and Nicole Kidman have all traversed its glittering hallways. But decidedly modernizing its ‘Grand Dame’ interiors, Spanish architect Rafael de La-Hoz and French design duo Gilles & Boissier have imbued it with a more understated, contemporary cool (think: refined shades of white and grey, with opulent gold accents), employing the assistance of local artists and artisans – all of which doesn’t in the least detract from its original Belle Epoque architectural majesty.
Epicures should take note that the hotel is actually poised to become one of the most desirable culinary destinations in Spain, with five dining concepts overseen by three Michelin-starred Chef Quique Dacosta, whose eponymous restaurant in Denia, Alicante, has arguably picked up where the now shuttered El Bulli left off. Deessa is fitted into the plush Alfonso XIII room, overlooking the garden, and serving a pair of degustation menus edifyingly titled Quique Dacosta Classics and QDRITZ Contemporary; El Jardin del Ritz offers al fresco dining in strikingly lush surrounds; Pictura is where visually rapturous cocktails are served in an intimately elegant setting; and the historic, glass-domed Palm Court serves afternoon tea daily, and is sure to be amongst the city’s most fashionable scenes – especially with its new eight-seat Champagne Bar.
Upstairs, there are 206 understatedly chic rooms and suites, featuring parquet flooring, modern four poster beds, Neo-Classical wall paneling, and just the sort of exquisitely elegant detailing one has come to expect of the brand. Highly recommended: book one with a view of the aforementioned Prado, for a constant frisson of cultural buzz during one’s stay.
All in all, the Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid was a $103 million renovation project – and there are still at least a few slow months ahead. But one guesses it will soon enough be buzzing with longtime Ritz devotees, and those seeking to stay in what just might be the city’s most spectacular hotel.