It might be situated in the financial district of Madrid, but the Hotel Urban certainly couldn’t be described as dull; in a city that’s no stranger to a slick hotel, this five star property has art and design at its core.
In the heart of the city’s “Golden Triangle” formed by the Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza and the Fundación Reina Sofia, this five star property is mere minutes away from the city’s main attractions, including Paseo del Prado, Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor. Located in a newly-constructed avant-garde building, upon arrival you’re greeted by a sleek black lobby, bookended with the hotel’s two top notch restaurants (more on those later…). Designer furniture is accompanied with a dazzling collection of contemporary artwork, throughout the lobby and beyond, something of a theme as unique pieces of great art appear around every corner.
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Hotel Urban is part of the Derby Hotels Collection, a group with four properties in Paris, Madrid, Barcelona and London with art at its core. Each hotel houses a unique collection, making them small museums of inestimable artistic and cultural value.
The 96 designer rooms and suites are similarly well-designed; think black leather seating, dark wood, metal accents and marble bathtubs. My Superior Room was spacious and light thanks to the floor to ceiling windows, with a handy built in closet, Nespresso machine and iPad docking station; whilst tailored towards the business traveller, it’s done so in a very subtle way. This is sleek sophistication at its best, there’s something almost a little 80s New York about it. If the budget will stretch to it, the impressive Loft Suite is a luxurious duplex with a four metre high window commanding views across the Carrera de San Jeronimo, bathing the suite in extraordinary natural light.
During the summer months, head up to the roof where the outdoor pool and roof terrace affords spectacular views of the city. Alas, during our March visit it was closed, but it’s easy to see how would be entirely possible to while away a sunny afternoon up there, soaking up the rays, or unwind after a long day of meetings with a cocktail in hand enjoying the sunset over the city skyline.
The food is the standout star of Hotel Urban, giving it boats two spectacular restaurants. CEBO, run by head chef Aurelio Morales, was recently awarded its first Michelin star. Based on the concept of ‘contemporary, progressive and free cuisine’, the menu is dedication to local produce and changes seasonally, we didn’t have the chance to discover it for ourselves but if it’s anything like the other hotel’s restaurant, you’re in for a treat.
With a host of well thought out packages available the hotel has something for every stay, whether a romantic weekend mini break calls for champagne and a rose petal bath or you’re travelling with a four-legged friend who requires some special attention. It might be in the heart of the city’s buzzing business district, but this is one Madrid hotel that certainly feels a world away from a stuffy boardroom.
Spotlight on Glass Mar
While the Spanish capital is no stranger to mouthwatering gastronomy with delicious mouthfuls literally around every corner, if you’re a lover of seafood, Glass Mar really is one restaurant you need to book while you’re in town.
The brainchild of Ángel León, the chef behind the three Michelin Star and three Repsol Sun (the Spanish equivalent) Aponiente in Cadiz. Since 2016 he’s also been the Gastronomic Director of Alevante, home to yet another star; this is one chef who knows his way around a kitchen.
With Glass Mar, Ángel León disembarks in Madrid and brings the ocean right to the heart of the Iberian peninsula. Every recipe features a gasp of the Atlantic Ocean, bringing the flavours of the sea to the city. With a menu encapsulating the essence of the sea with every bite, you’ll discover traditional flavours, such as smoked sardines, with the relatively unknown.
A word of warning, embark with an empty stomach; you’re in for a feast. The menu is made up of a number of small dishes and a selection of mains, though to really make the most of the sheer smorgasbord of flavour we’d recommend the former.
We began our sumptuous dining experience with an oyster, delicately flavoured with a dash of ponzu, finely chopped onion and just a smattering of fresh coriander. The aforementioned smoked sardines arrived crisply grilled, melt in the mouth, on a bed of smoky aubergine baba ghanoush a toast.
A dish of grilled mussels were sweet and smoky, almost barbecued in flavour, with a sweet potato and carrot purée. The dish somewhat appropriately named ‘The Sausage of the Sea’ was a plate of cured meat-style sausages, but fish. An odd concept, a little too salty and in fact the only one we didn’t enjoy from the otherwise sublime menu.
The gloriously captioned ‘Elegant Version of the Spanish Marriage’ was a divine combination of crisp, flaky pastry, covered in pickled vegetables, vibrants salted anchovies, aioli and chives. Chunks of tender octopus were served with a bold Peruvian chipotle sauce, while the pièce de résistance from the small plates was a juicy cuttlefish croquette oozing with squid ink aioli and a kick of jalapeño.
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Though our ever expanding waistlines could hardly muster another bite, we tried two of the dishes from the mains; the plankton creamy rice, a bright green, creamy risotto studded with mussels, and a delicious chunk of tuna, drenched in a completely wonderful tomato sauce with a hint of sherry, boiled for 24 hours to a sweet, sticky, almost jam-like consistency.
If by some miracle there’s still space left for dessert, there’s a rather delectable chocolate mousse, speckled with fried quinoa, tangy orange peel, chopped hazelnuts and almonds. It’s worth noting there’s also a marvellous cocktail and wine list, with additions from around the globe, so even if you’re not there for a feast, it’s wholly possible to enjoy a tipple or two with a selection of the small plates and still sample the superb small plates.
In a city of a thousand meals, this is one you will definitely want to make time for.
Looking to relax? Check out our Spa of the Month Villa Magna’s Mytha Spa in Madrid