While summer travel is in full swing, getting to your destination is proving to be a more complicated affair. The airline industry has been saddled with a host of issues, from delays to cancellations, while trying to meet the sharp boom in demand. So while you might crave an escape to a far-flung destination, why not wait until things have settled and consider a place more convenient (meaning: plenty of direct flights from major cities) but no less captivating?
This is when Madrid enters the picture. Spain, too, recently lifted its negative Covid testing requirements for those traveling from a foreign country on June 12, and the capital city feels as inviting as ever with something for everyone from hungry epicureans to museum buffs. But though the culturally-rich metropolis has never been short on appeal, the luxury hotel scene surprisingly has aired on the lackluster side.
So when Four Seasons Hotel Madrid was unveiled in September 2020 (during the pandemic, no less), it proved to be a game changer for madrileños and visitors alike. As with all properties that opened during these uncertain times, Four Seasons first foray into Spain had its fair share of delays and setbacks – but proved to be well worth the wait.
Centrally located on a prominent corner where Calle Sevilla and Calle Alcalá meet, the stately hotel is part of a significant urban revitalization project called Centro Canalejas. Over eight years in the making and comprised of seven historic buildings, the complex honors the structures’ collective rich history and architectural legacy while tying in modernity with upscale residences, high-end shopping (including Hermès, Aquazzura, and Rolex), a globe-trotting food hall, and Four Seasons Hotel Madrid.
Though being part of a project of this scale and scope was daunting in itself, no detail was overlooked. It’s a sublime example of what today’s urban hotel should look and feel like: unquestionably luxurious while blending into the neighborhood with a thoughtful mix of old and new.
Take, for example, the main lobby. Occupying what used to be the main hall of Banco Español de Crédito, the two-story public space is nothing short of dazzling with a winding staircase accented with the bank’s original brass banisters, stained-glass ceiling by Mauméjean, and colossal Along The Way sculpture by KAWS. That sort of fastidious attention to original details and modern flourishes extends throughout the hotel, from the light and airy guest accommodations – many of which sport unique configurations, like the two-level one-bedroom suites – to the signature restaurant Dani.
Located on the seventh floor, the chic indoor-outdoor brasserie and rooftop bar by lauded Spanish chef Dani García offers refined, but approachable all-day cuisine with Andalusian touches like green gazpacho with whimsical nitrogen-treated tomatoes and baby shrimp tartar and local bluefin tina, one of García’s most prized ingredients, prepared in several positively pretty ways. And discreetly hidden away on the second floor is Isa, a seductive space with imaginative sushi – the braised eggplant nigiri with caramelized miso is a standout – elegant libations (including zero-proof options with Seedlip) by bar manager Sophie Larrouture and head bartender Miguel Pérez, and DJs spinning tunes nightly.
And in true Four Seasons fashion, wellness is a key offering. The fitness center is spacious and spotless, with guests welcomed with bottled water and towels. There’s an attendant routinely making rounds to make sure you’re comfortable, and the light-flooded indoor pool terrace is a serene spot for unwinding afterwards. But if you’re seeking more relief, book the spa’s signature El Retiro treatment. The name takes inspiration from one of Madrid’s largest and most beloved parks, and is a deep tissue massage that’s especially beneficial for jet-lagged muscles and minds.