Narrowing down the best hotels in Madrid can be challenging. As of January 2020, Spain’s capital boasted more than 4,500 listings on booking.com alone. Considering that the number of annual international visitors to Madrid has increased almost every year since 2001, it’s not surprising.
So if you’re lucky enough to come experience Madrid, don’t stress about wading through endless online listings. I’ve narrowed down my seven favourite hotels in Madrid. They’re listed here in order from most to least expensive.
Plus, all are located in the historic centre basically 15 minutes’ walking distance from the main sights. Just choose one based on your budget and style, and you’re good to go.
I’ve also included the name of the neighbourhood that each is in. To see an overview of Madrid neighbourhoods, check out this PDF from the Madrid tourist office.
Four Tips For Choosing A Great Madrid Hotel
First, four things to keep in mind:
- External rooms will give you lovely European city street views, but these rooms risk having street noise. So if you’re a light sleeper, ask for an interior room.
- I would skip the hotel breakfast option – there are lots of places to get a good, traditional Spanish breakfast.
- Be aware that in cheaper hotel rooms you might get two single beds pushed together. Ask for “una cama de matrimonio” (literally, “marriage bed”!) to try and make sure you get a legit double bed
- You may see hotel called “hostal” or “hostales”. This doesn’t necessarily mean it’s a hostel, in the sense of a youth hostel. It often just means it’s a simple hotel.
Hotel or AirBnB?
AirBnBs and apartments are really handy when you’re staying in a city. You can buy food in a local market and cook at home (thus saving money), and it gives you a home base to relax in if you’ve had enough site seeing for the day.
However, these days I try and avoid AirBnb given the impact short-term apartment rentals are having on European cities. Often a landlord can make more money turning their inner-city apartment into an AirBnb than renting it to a long-term tenant or family. This is driving up rental prices and reducing the supply of housing in the historic centres of many European cities.
So for the moment, when I travel I choose hotels (that are more regulated). But hopefully this issue will be resolved with better regulation on short term rentals so that we can all enjoy apartment rentals in a sustainable way.
The 7 Best Hotels in Madrid
Neighbourhood: Los Austrias
An unrivaled location right on Plaza Mayor, with two pools to boot—what more could you want? With smart, contemporary rooms and views right out over Madrid’s most iconic plaza, it’s no wonder why Pestana Plaza Mayor boasts an impeccable 9.2 rating on booking.com.
But my favourite thing about this hotel, if I had to pick just one, would be the way that it brings history to life. Set in the historic Casa de la Carnicería (dating back to the 17th century!), the hotel pays tribute to Madrid’s storied past through various architectural elements: Baroque scenes, Moorish art, touches of inspiration from Goya and Velázquez, and so much more. It’s the perfect blend of past and present, and a true treat to experience.
Neighbourhood: Huertas or Barrio de las Letras
As the oldest hotel in Madrid, Gran Hotel Inglés is a history lover’s dream come true. Way back in 1886, its founders set out to make it “one of the best hotels in Europe,” and it’s safe to say that it remains so today.
The hotel is replete with old-world charm without seeming stuffy or old-fashioned; stepping inside feels as if you’ve been whisked back in time to a glamorous early-20th-century locale. This is truly where history and luxury come together like no place else.
If a trendy, urban vibe is more your thing, you can’t go wrong with Only You. This boutique hotel is located in Chueca, one of the city’s most happening neighbourhoods, and it’s a reflection of modern Madrid at its best.
With amenities ranging from a wellness room to weekend brunch, this is a hotel for the next generation. The rooms themselves range from the comfortable, contemporary Deluxe option to a penthouse with a sprawling terrace for the ultimate in modern luxury.
4. 7 Islas
Finding a family-run boutique hotel in central Madrid is harder than it sounds. Enter 7 Islas.
Opened in 2002 by Canary Islands-born businessman Juan Rosa, 7 Islas encapsulates the vibrant spirit of modern Madrid with a touch of island soul. Today, Rosa’s three granddaughters run one of the best hotels in Madrid with the same warm, welcoming vibe that originally made it a hit nearly a decade ago. Additions like a hip art gallery and a craft cocktail bar show off the creative spirit of the city as it is today.
Come to Room Mate Oscar for the iconic rooftop terrace and pool; stay for the friendly atmosphere that will make you feel at home. (If only our actual homes could be as cool as this place.)
This avant-garde hotel consists of 74 bright, spacious rooms offering a perfect blend of comfort and style. It’s located in Chueca, a favourite neighbourhood among Madrid’s LGBTQ+ community where there’s always something cool going on. Drink it all in from atop the hotel on that rooftop terrace I mentioned (homemade cocktail strongly encouraged).
Another member of the Room Mate family, Alba offers a relaxing experience in the heart of Madrid’s Literary Quarter. With a vintage-chic design and a superb location right on Calle de las Huertas, you can’t go wrong here.
The hotel itself, masterfully designed by Madrid interior designer Lorenzo Castillo, captures the old-world heart and soul of the Huertas neighbourhood without feeling old-fashioned or stuffy. Amenities are plentiful, from a fresh and colourful breakfast buffet to a well-furnished fitness center.
7. The Hat
Neighbourhood: Los Austrias
Whether you’re a backpacker on a shoestring budget or just down to meet a ton of cool new people, The Hat is the place for you.
This trendy hostel near Plaza Mayor boasts clean and comfortable rooms, one of the best hostel breakfasts in Madrid, and a rooftop bar that takes the saying “de Madrid al cielo” to another level. Keep in mind that it’s usually booked far in advance—another similar option is Generator just off of Gran Vía.
For the ultimate guide to Madrid, check out my Madrid Revealed guide. It’ll give you all the information and tools you need to experience this magical city like a true local!