What’s on going to Madrid
Discover the magic of Madrid…
OWith its bustling street markets, thriving collection of museums and timeless tapas bars, Madrid is a city with soul. With hidden gems around every corner, history and heritage collide with a new wave of modern restaurants and new openings that are transforming this sunny capital into one of Europe’s most alluring and interesting city breaks.
Things to do
Soak up the sights of the Plaza Mayor
No trip to Madrid is complete without a visit to the Plaza Mayor. Once the center of old Madrid, the current buildings date from the late 1700s and early 1800s and among the most striking is the Casa de la Panaderia, which features beautiful Baroque-style murals on its facade. The Plaza Mayor has hosted markets, sporting events and bullfights, although every day you’ll find plenty of restaurants and tapas bars along the edge.
Row, row, row your boat in Retiro Park
For just €8, you can see one of Madrid’s most beautiful spots, Retiro Park, from a different perspective: leisurely rowing the waters of its picturesque lake. While locals sunbathe in front of the magnificent monument of Alfonso XII or picnic in the dappled shade, you can stroll on the lake, watching the street performers and busking musicians. Trick : Get there early to avoid the queues.
Discover one of the best museums in Europe, the Museo Nacional Del Prado
The crown jewel of the list of galleries and museums in Madrid is the Museo Nacional Del Prado. Steeped in 200 years of history, this art empire is one of three cultural masterpieces that make up Paseo del Arte. As well as housing the largest collection of Spanish paintings in the world, works from Italy and the Flemish region of Belgium can be enjoyed here, with over 8,600 paintings and 700 sculptures to peruse.
Shop till you drop at Galeria Canalejas
There are plenty of places to shop in Madrid: El Corte Ingles… Gran Via… but the latest is Galeria Canalejas, three floors of fashion, fine jewelry and gastronomy. After browsing the boutiques of some of the world’s biggest brands – Rolex, Valentino and Giorgio Armani – refuel in the food hall where you have a choice of 13 restaurants, ranging from Omakase and tacos to cuisines Castilian and Galician.
Where to eat
Mercardo de San Miguel
Tasting Madrid’s array of food vendors is one of the best ways to experience this city, and while the Mercado de San Miguel may not be the biggest, it’s arguably one of the best. . With over 30 market stalls to feast on, serving much more than jamon, tortilla and tapas (although there are plenty of those too), this historic market – located just around the corner from the Plaza Mayor – enjoys a central location, an array of bars serving local wine, cava and beers, and an electric atmosphere.
If you love the jaw-dropping jungle-inspired interiors of Amazonico Dubai, you’ll be blown away by the original in Madrid. A duo of such pretty terraces, a bustling bar adorned with rich foliage, and a restaurant dotted with cozy booths are all surrounded by Amazonico’s signature vibrant decor. The menu, like the restaurant in Dubai, offers the opportunity to explore flavors from across Latin America. The Picanha Rodicio is a must.
La Plateria Bar Restaurante
When you pass a restaurant where locals and staff are chatting like long-lost friends, enter immediately. La Plateria has all the trappings of an upscale tapas bar: red awnings, display cases filled with freshly prepared tapas, a scribbled slate menu with daily specials. Conveniently located just steps from the Museo Nacional Del Prado, the outdoor seating offers a scenic spot for people-watching, with generous plates of patatas bravas, crispy calamari, and Spanish tortillas. Together, you can eat like royalty and still have change for a €50 note.
Where to stay
Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid
Through the grand doors of the Ritz Madrid, royals, dignitaries and celebrities have walked through its 110-year history. Although it underwent an extensive three-year renovation to reopen as part of the famed Mandarin Oriental hotel group last year, the dazzling opulence remains, now fused with the modern magic of the Mandarin Oriental. Located in Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art, it’s the perfect base for exploring the city’s wealth of museums, and many of the Spanish capital’s top attractions are just a short walk away.
With celebrity Spanish chef Quique Dacosta at the helm of the hotel’s entire culinary portfolio, the five restaurants and bars attract a rotation of residents and visitors. Patrons flock to Palm Court for breakfast where meats are carved table-side and afternoon tea of picture-perfect Spanish pastries served to the sound of a live pianist. At sunset, few places are more breathtaking than El Jardin. An elegant and atmospheric open-air restaurant, smartly dressed waiters serve plates of grilled fresh calamari drizzled with black butter sauce, creamy Puglian burrata on a bed of pesto and sun-dried tomatoes, and beef tenderloin served straight from the barbecue, the scent of which could make even the fullest of stomachs rumble.
Rooms are suitably grand with custom leather headboards, marble bathrooms with oversized tubs, and crisp linens that include pillowcases embroidered with guest initials. But in keeping with the modern upgrade, rooms are also equipped with GHD hair dryers and straighteners, Natural Bisse amenities, and gold smart blinds. Room rates start at Dhs 3,334 per night for a superior room.