By John O’Ceallaigh
It feels like the Spanish capital is finally starting to gain momentum over Barcelona, in terms of its luxury-hotel offering at least, with yet another high-end hospitality brand choosing to make its debut in the city. The group’s first hotel in Spain, JW Marriott’s MW Marriott Hotel Madrid has now opened right by the central-as-can-be Puerta del Sol.
I saw the hotel being constructed during a visit just over a year ago to Four Seasons Madrid, which lies directly across the road and opened during the pandemic era, and the address is also just a 10-minute walk from the new Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid, which like Rosewood Villa Magna had also recently opened in the city. (As it happens, a hotelier had told me that a lot of hotel groups had found it difficult to do business in Barcelona, where some locals have been explicit in expressing their displeasure about increasing numbers of tourists and a ban on the opening of new hotels was also instated; I wrote about this previously for Robb Report.)
Back to the JW Marrott Madrid. First-time visitors will likely find the location ideal, given it’s near various art galleries, theatres and shops (including the glitzy new Galeria Canaejas, which occupies the same building as the Four Seasons), though some Madrilenos are still taking some time to come round to this district’s appeal. For a long time it was viewed as something of an undesirable area that nobody from the city would ever consider patronising – I was told on a couple of occasions to think of it as Spain’s Times Square. The arrival of the JW, not to mention its established neighbour, seems to be shifting sentiment about the precinct.
Designed by locally based studio Rockwell, the hotels features 139 rooms (with most of the suites having large terraces), a large spa area, and a restaurant led by Michelin-starred chef Mario Sandoval called QÚ. Apparently it “elevates and subtly reinvents local flavour”. For a guestimate of what that might mean, it’s perhaps worth noting that sample dishes include pork flank with pears and red wine, and grilled deer loin. Another idiosyncrasy they’re proud of here is the property’s enhanced focus on wellness, which extends beyond the confines of the spa and gym area to the interior of every guest room. There residents will find a yoga mat (nice to have but not too exciting, admittedly) alongside an on-demand platform that will allow them to access video workouts and meditation practices on their TVs by activating a QR code.
That’s a nice restorative touch given Madrid is a fantastically buzzy, fun city – with bars, restaurants and clubs that famously keep on going until long into the following morning. My own recent visit was very enjoyable – the destination really doesn’t receive the recognition it deserves as one of Europe’s most inviting capitals. Alongside the other aforementioned recent hotel openings, the new JW Marriott Hotel Madrid should go some way towards changing that.
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