An invitation to stay in the centre of Spain’s exciting central capital, with all its beguiling charm, surprising architecture and gastronomic delights, is never easily refused. So it was with great pleasure that my friend Hannah and I touched down in Madrid and pointed our feet towards the elegant and achingly chic CoolRooms Atocha.
As the flagship hotel of the CoolRooms brand, the building is conveniently situated on 34 Atocha Street, right in the heart of the action. And, as you might expect from a hotel in such an arty city, every inch of the place oozes style and sophistication.
Once a majestic house dating back to 1852, it’s since been redesigned and reimagined as a luxury hotel. Indeed, just the discreet yet classy entrance tells you, this hotel has a little something about it. Wide wooden doors open off a busy street and the large flagstones beckon us into a miraculously calm and tranquil courtyard, with exotic green plants and a retro neon sign.
We’re greeted by smiling, smartly-dressed staff and shown to a small but sweet reception area, from which a spectacular spiral staircase rises to the floors above. Learning our room is ready early (pretty impressive at 10.30am!) we hurry upstairs to drop off our bags and freshen up.
As we opened the door to our Premium room, we were immediately struck by the palatial proportions of the suite. In Madrid, where space is something of a premium, it’s rare to be treated to quite so much room. Our concierge helpfully showed us around, highlighting the mini bar, mood lighting, heat controls, high speed internet and various other elements, while we gazed adoringly at the intricate wall panels and coving and admired the yellow bowl light fixture that drops elegantly from a central ceiling rose.
All 35 rooms and suites are designed with serenity in mind and offer chic accommodation that playfully straddles the boundaries of classic and contemporary. Old school luxury mingles deliciously with a monochrome colour palette and art deco flourishes and sits alongside state of the art tehnology like the 43 inch smart TV, Bang & Olufsen speaker and Nespresso coffee machine.
A quick peek in the bathroom makes for another giddy moment as the door opens to an enormous space, complete with a huge walk-in shower, double sink and a separated toilet area. The dark wood and monochrome tiling is beautifully accented with piles of fluffy white towels, chic gold hardware and Molten Brown toiletries that all look spectacular against the white marble sinks.
Once we’ve inspected and cooed over every inch of the suite – and quickly fixed our ‘airplane hair’ thanks to the handy GHD straightening irons in the bathroom – we decide it’s time to set off into the city and explore. Our two-night stay means we’ve got just the right amount of time to see all the sights, and we’re keen to see exactly what Madrid has in store. Full of elegant boulevards and well-kept parks, the city is stunning and every street begs to be photographed.
As it’s our first day we take a gentle stroll towards the Plaza Major, a majestic square just a few minutes walk from the hotel, with narrow little streets that lead off in every direction that hold cafes, shops and bars with chairs that spill out onto every pavement. There’s no shortage of restaurants set up in the square either, and we take a seat here to enjoy a glass of wine and a spot of people watching.
The great thing about Madrid is how perfect it is to simply wander around, no itinerary needed. We found ourselves constantly interested in a hat stall or a bar with a great deal on Cava, perhaps some fascinating architecture, a market selling fresh churros or a cute tapas restaurant with a spare table outside. We were constantly pulled along by the buzz and thrill of the city – all plans lay forgotten as we let Madrid take us along for the ride.
Gran Via is the most famous street in Madrid and soon enough we’d found our way here to indulge in all the retail therapy the road offers. With bulging bags and slightly less bulging bank balances, we headed back to the CoolRooms Atocha ready for a sit down in their outdoor terrace restaurant.
While two of the CoolSuites in the four star hotel enjoy a private rooftop terrace and outdoor Jacuzzi, those without their own secret oasis can still retire to a peaceful sanctuary after a long day, thanks to the fabulous pool garden. Finding a swimming pool in Madrid is no mean feat and after a day pounding the hot pavements, a tranquil lagoon to cool off in is almost as welcome as the two fruity cocktails that are quickly brought over by the bar staff.
After a refreshing dip, a lounge on the squashy grey cushions is in order, as we take in the charming green vines that crawl up the surrounding walls and listen to the gentle trickle of water lapping against the pool edges and the occasional bird chirping. It’s truly a very relaxing spot indeed.
For those wanting to stay close to home for their dinner, the adjacent EL34 serves up authentic tapas and looks directly out into the bustling Las Letras neighbourhood. Or, if you fancy taking to the streets and see what the city has to offer, you’ll find the most explosive gastronomic scene waiting for you, in a city that’s quickly evolved into one of the most exciting culinary capitals in Europe.
Whether you prefer cutting-edge roof top restaurants, Michelin-starred dining or low key home-cooking, there are more restaurants waiting for you here than you could ever eat at. Don’t forget to explore the bars here too, as the nightlife options are so varied you won’t be able to stay in one place for long. Move from cosy café corners to lively cocktail bars to exciting clubs, with after dark action picking up around 9 or 10pm.
Once you’ve painted the town red, retire to your luxurious suite to wind down. Bedtime at CoolRooms Atocha is something of an indulgence, with delicious chocolates, pastries and teas waiting for you upon your return, as well as a soft white bathrobe and embossed slippers. Sinking into the crisp white sheets of the king size bed, we reflected on our incredible day in Madrid, but before long the soft comfort of CoolRooms had lulled us into a wonderfully restful slumber.
Thick window blinds and drapes kept us soundly asleep until gone 9am – always a good sign in a hotel – with not even the birdsong penetrating through the soundproof windows. Waking up to a new day in the city, Hannah and I excitedly took ourselves downstairs for breakfast in the terrace restaurant. Despite the hotel being fairly full, we have the place to ourselves and take our time over the buffet, ordering fresh eggs and coffee to the table to accompany our impressive selection of fruit and pastries.
With full tummies and the sun shining, it’s off to explore the famous Museo Nacional del Prado, which is home to most comprehensive collection of Spanish paintings in the world. As one of the biggest attractions in Madrid, it can get pretty busy, so aim to arrive by 10am to beat the queues.
While you’re in the area, a walk around El Returo Park is a great idea, and you can even enjoy a leisurely boat ride on the lake. Expect plenty of bloggers and loved-up honeymooners in these parts and don’t forget your camera! The Palacio de Cristal or ‘Glass Palace’ in the park is also worth a look. An enormous glass conservatory built in 1887, it is widely considered one of the capitals finest examples of architecture.
In terms of culture, Madrid really holds its own and is a real gem not only for its art museums and historic sights, but also its friendly locals, cute markets and world-class cuisine. With a host of activities and places to tick off your list, you could easily spend fair more than a couple of nights here, and it’s a city trip that works for a romantic break, girly getaway, time with your mum or even a family trip.
Whatever your plans, you can’t go wrong booking a suite at CoolRooms Atocha! With unforgettable custom-made experiences, room service and airport transfers all organised in a heartbeat at reception, you know you’re in the very best hands. Just two nights here and we returned home feeling rested, recuperated and terribly spoiled.
IN A NUTSHELL
This art deco hotel ticks all the boxes if you’re after an Instagram-friendly luxury bolthole from which to explore the city. Other than the small pool, there’s not a huge amount to keep you entertained within the hotel, so use this as your base.
Room rates at CoolRooms Atocha are from €200 per night.
Address: Calle de Atocha, 34, 28012 Madrid, Spain
Phone: +34 910 88 77 80