Hotel Review: Hotel Ritz By Belmond, Madrid


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History

When Cesar Ritz was born on the 23rd of February 1859 in the Swiss canton of Valais as the 13th child of poor parents, no one could have imagined the immense class journey the little shepherd boy would take both himself and the hotel industry in just three short decades. Having left Switzerland at 14 to work as a waiter in Paris, Europe quickly proved to be fertile ground for the young man  ambition and talent. Through apprenticeships in Paris, Vienna, London and Monte Carlo, he gained the necessary experience to manage and curate luxury hotel experiences and eventually open his own properties in Baden-Baden and Cannes. The rest, as they say, is history.

The Ritz name is now synonymous with the very best in hospitality.

Sadly, however, by the time the Hotel Ritz Madrid was being planned and constructed in 1908,  Ritz’s mental health had deteriorated such that it was impossible for him to manage the newest addition to the Ritz  franchise. The task fell to Marie-Louise Ritz – his wife – who made sure the hotel was set to the high standards of their family name. Since then, the Ritz Madrid  – now managed by hotel and travel company Belmond  – has not only been home to people from all walks of life but taken a front seat in history; it’s doors has seen notable figures such as spies during World War 1 – including Mata Hari (1917), The Noble peace prize winner Alexander Fleming (1948), movie star Cary Grant, though he quickly left for another hotel after the Ritz refused to accommodate his dog and even been a makeshift hospital during the Spanish Civil War.

The Fernando VII arch monument which is only a short walk from the Ritz Madrid.

The Fernando VII arch monument which is only a short walk from the Ritz Madrid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                   The Location

The Hotel Ritz By Belmonds location, for someone like me who enjoys exploring cities on foot, was nothing short of a treat. Madrid’s famous Prado museum is located right behind the hotel, the Retiro park is a mere 5 minute walk away, the much talked-about Calle de Serrano shopping street in the exclusive Salamanca district another 10 minute walk away, and for those who enjoy more high street shopping the Gran Via  is also another 10-15 minutes in the opposite direction. The architecturally-acclaimed Atocha train station is also but a 10 minute walk away, as is the Reina Sofia museum of modern art. In other words, it doesn’t get more central than this.

A classic room at The Ritz Madrid.

A classic room at The Ritz Madrid.

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                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 The rooms

The Hotel Ritz By Belmond is divided into deluxe and classic rooms, junior and deluxe one-bed suites and finally presidential and royal suites at the top of the tier. I stayed in a classic room which was large, airy and filled with light coming in from the Plaza Lealtad the windows faced. Despite facing such a busy street in what is known as the Golden Triangle of Madrid, the double-glazed windows keep all of the noise away. Perfect for those of us who like to explore hard during the night and recharge our batteries in the evening and night.

The garden terrace at the Ritz Madrid.

The garden terrace at the Ritz Madrid.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                              Other amenities:

The Goya Restaurant, one of Madrid’s best restaurants, the Lobby Bar where a  a sumptuous breakfast buffet is served each morning and traditional afternoon tea every afternoon, The Terrace & Gardens which afford guests the luxury of an Al fresco meal in the warmer months and Velazquez bar, which serves cocktails and drinks in the evening. The hotel also boasts a small, moderately equipped gym.

Tripadvisor rating: 84% satisfaction rate, ranked 12th out of 457 hotels in the city.

Luxury Travel Beat Blurb: This was the first Belmond hotel I have ever reviewed so I did not check into the hotel with any preconceived notions. Check in was pleasantly swift and I was handed a large key with which to open my room on the third floor. The classic room I had been appointed was spacious and  welcoming, with the old-world luxury bathroom in it a delight to see . Staff was pleasant and helpful at every single turn – nothing was too much trouble. Check out presented a surprise as I bumped into Alec Baldwin in the lobby, who was in town to film Torrente 5.

Prices at Hotel Ritz by Belmond start from £226 per night, including taxes, based on two sharing a Classic Room. For further information or to make a booking, call the Belmond UK Reservations team on 0845 077 2222 or visit www.belmond.com.

Luxury Travel Beat travelled to Madrid courtesy of easyJet, who fly to Madrid from London Gatwick daily. Prices start from £36.49 per person (one-way, including taxes based on two people on the same booking).

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