Away from the city centre between the Chamberi and the oh so trendy Chueca districts of Madrid, is this rather imposing neo-classical building. Once used as a palace, URSO, a newbie hotel opened its doors in 2014 after it underwent a renovation that transformed it into a plush yet contemporary five star hotel under the watch of architect Antonio Obrado.
The large reception has a colour pallete of muted autumnal shades and large Japanese prints that are easy on the eye. Very comfy sofas and a relaxed living-room style ambience seems to beckon suited and booted people perhaps discusssing business over coffee.
Obrado conserved may original features and as a result there’s lots of delightful eccentricity amid the decorum. A gorgeous stained glass window remains adding a dash of colour to the staircase and an antique lift takes centre stage as you walk in. It has narrow glass and wood doors, a sitting bench akin to one you might have in an old style carriage and it is caged in filigree style ironworks. It looks beyond quaint especially when compared to their alternative modern lifts. And a whole lot more fun.
Cool light-grey walls, contrasting dark wood floors, stylish armchairs and furniture combine to give off a city-chic look in their 78 bedrooms and suites and during the day the tall windows let in lashings of daylight. It is a scene of sensible luxury where a desk and free wifi means you can be working (or playing) online freely all night, perhaps refreshing with a cup or two of coffee thanks to the Nespresso machine. There’s a mini bar and flat screen TV to round off the mod cons. But amazingly I couldn’t find a pen to make notes – far too passe?
A compact marble bathroom has a separate bath and shower. It is a tad small but the huge mirror and lighting was welcome. As was their toiletries – these were designed for them by The Lab Room and their vanillaesque aroma is pleasing.
Loved the pillow chocolates.
The ambience is perfect for the corporate traveller, but then again with boutique shops nearby perhaps more precisely it’s for the city slicker. However families are not excluded as the hotel can supply cots.
There is a small but rather lovely spa run by Natura Bisse. Its seven metre pool and lounging area is a relaxation hot spot. Actually it’s not a swimming pool it’s a hydrotherapy pool.
It sits elevated in wood decking, in a room with dim lighting and luxurious sun beds. There are a couple of treatment rooms, a sauna and a gym.
A glass staircase with a water feature beneath leads to a small conservatory-style space, decorated with lush plants and wooden floors. This is where breakfast is served till around 11am and where fresh orange juice is poured into crystal goblets. People talk in whispers while they tuck into churros (a fried dough pastry) with hot chocolate or something cooked, perhaps a tortilla – Spanish omelette, eggs as you like them or even bacon and eggs, just ask.
Diner is served in their restaurant, The Table. They call it a pop-up restaurant because every month they change the chef and the menu. It’s certainly a nice space with interesting lighting and plant plumage but you never know what you will get. And it is closed on Mondays.
It’s location is slightly away from the centre in the trendy Chueca district. Hip bars, Michelin starred restaurants and a whole load of blow-the-budget shopping opportunities in Serrano Street are all a few minutes a way.
Free Wi-Fi is available throughout.
Stays at Urso Hotel & Spa from €200 on a B&B basis in a Double Room and from €570 for a B&B basis in the Urso Hotel & Spa Terrace Suite – including breakfast and based on two people sharing.
Value for Money
Great value for an almost-city centre location offering five star luxury and great service.
Image credits: Martino Matijevic and Hotel URSO