When in Madrid, few hotels compare to the sprawling splendour of the Palacio de los Duques Gran Meliá – and none come close to its distinctive blend of culture and sophistication.
A stone’s throw from Madrid’s Royal Palace and furnished just as exquisitely, the five-star Palacio de los Duques – a proud member of the exclusive Leading Hotels of the World group – might as well be considered an extension of the regal residence, though there’s the added bonus of a glass of Cava upon arrival.
The genteel interior of this lovingly remodelled 19th-century palace pays homage to the Baroque oeuvre of Velázquez, with large-scale reproductions of the painter’s works adorning surfaces throughout the hotel (we admired ‘The Triumph of Bacchus’ in our premium room with courtyard views long before we laid eyes on the original in the Museo del Prado).
Other than great art, our room featured a smart lighting system, room service several times a day and a generous bathtub we sank into as we explored the many entertainment options available through a large, wall-mounted LCD TV. There were thoughtful gestures and sweet surprises, too: bedside chocolates nightly and a complimentary bottle of Vermouth – a local tradition, it turned out.
Right on time
While you’re Out There
A brisk 20-minute walk from the Palacio de los Duques Madrid, the tiny and inconspicuous San Antonio de la Florida Chapel just off the Parque del Oeste houses the remains of none other than Francisco Goya. And by remains, we mean everything but the head, which was reportedly stolen for phrenological studies sometime in the 20th century. We were shocked at how deserted this place was – if you’re an art lover, go pay the man a visit.
Among our personal highlights was the flawlessly attentive staff, who remembered our names, newspaper preferences and how we took our coffee at the breakfast buffet, which featured an impressive Asian section representative of the hotel’s global ambition.
And did we mention the rooftop Jacuzzi with sunset views over the sprawling Casa de Campo park, and the property’s beautiful 1,000-sq-metre garden that’s historically important as well as a haven of peace?