Before ME Madrid Reina Victoria opened its doors in the historic Plaza de Santa Ana in 2006, it was the Gran Hotel Reina Victoria. Built in 1923, the elegant palace was a place where aristocrats, diplomats and the creative set would assemble. Nowadays, you’ll still feel like a king when you’re there and shouldn’t be surprised if you spot members of celebrity royalty such as George Clooney, Jennifer Lopez or Queen Bee Beyoncé and Jay-Z gracing the halls.
The lobby is welcoming, and for a minute, you might mistake the area for your very own living room. With a comfy brown couch to plop on and maroon armchairs to swivel around, it’ll be easy to rest, flip through books on Louis Vuitton, read the latest edition of El Mundo or challenge a comrade to a game of checkers — the pieces are magnetized should you want to take the action to the lounge-at-home area in Ana La Santa, the hotel’s tapas-inspired restaurant.
Whether you’re in town for just one night or are here for a weeklong vacation, you’ll quickly realize that ME Madrid is the place to be. Just ask the locals — they hang out here, too.
1. It’s a must to check into the Passion suite. What we appreciate about this 861-square-foot abode is its hardwood floors, two 42-inch Philips flat-screen TVs, beautiful balcony with foliage and view of Plaza del Angel square, teka wood table that seats six for dining, two chaise lounge chairs (perfect for tanning!) and Jacuzzi. We also liked its playful offerings, such as the Koibito Debox, a hangover kit that comes with cooling head strips, lavender essential oil, vitamin B complex, milk thistle, a rehydration sachet and more, and the Koibito Love Box, which includes an origami love game and other items that help to spice up a romantic time.
Although there is a lot to delight in, the suite standout is definitely the main bathroom. You’re just going to relish walking in there and seeing quotes by English author Lawrence Durrell — “Travel can be one of the most rewarding forms of introspection” — written on the mirror. Other noticeable touches include the his-and-her Hansgrohe shower stocked with Apivita amenities (bath and shower gel with bergamot and green tea and natural haircare products with citrus and honey) and the six candles that line the deep-soaking hydromassage bathtub — there’s just a feel-good energy that emanates throughout this space and the rest of the property.
2. Fit in some gym time. Although ME Madrid does not have a workout center directly on property, burning calories is a must after one too many ham croquettes. When the mood hits you, walk a few steps next door to Palacio Santa Ana Sport Club & Spa for a little cardio. The facility, which is free to hotel guests, offers fitness classes such as body pump, Pilates stretch, Zumba and spin. But if you’d prefer to do your own thing outside of a group setting, hop on one of the Life Fitness elliptical machines or a TechnoGym stationary bike. With several flat-screen TVs throughout, you can catch Real Madrid in action before hitting the plaza with locals to savor a glass of sangria.
3. The fare and the scene are fantastic. Go to Ana La Santa for its tapas. We loved the truffle meatballs with mushrooms, crispy octopus, fried egg with Iberian ham, housemade Spanish tortilla with pan con tomate (bread with tomato) and the Andalusian squid with black alioli (garlic mayonnaise). We recommend grabbing a prime seat in the garden patio so you can people-watch and check out all of the activity — there’s a playground for kids, lots of outdoor cafés and peddlers pushing glow-in-the-dark knickknacks — going on in Plaza de Santa Ana. For dinner, the place to see and be seen is ME Madrid’s The Roof, located on the seventh floor of the hotel. You’ll be blown away by the cityscape as it lights up at night. We’re also sure you’ll be mesmerized by the mujeres bonitas bouncing around in little black dresses and five-inch heels with bubbly in hand. When it’s time to dine, the must-have dish on the menu is the risotto de boletus y trufa (mushroom and truffle-infused risotto). So, order up a savory bowl and stargaze — it’s just what the cool people do.
4. Get pampered. Every trip should include a spa treatment and a little R&R. Book an appointment at ME Madrid Reina Victoria’s Skin C Supplement Bar, where you’ll be asked to fill out a form pertaining to skincare (one question examines how many hours of sleep you receive and another takes stock of the skincare brands you use). When you’re finished, you’ll sit down with a therapist and receive a customized skincare recommendation for an Oxy Miracle Peel & Infusion, a Bye Bye Blemishes, an Age Revival Stem Cell Power Fix or one of the other facials. There are nine active serums, which all work to help the derma in a variety of areas, such as hydration, pigmentation, wrinkles and more. Once you’re given your assessment, the serums that fit your needs will be blended and you’ll head to an all-white treatment room with a therapist. It is here that a state-of-the-art, non-invasive machine will gently spray the ingredients all over your face. The result? Sheer luminosity. Should you want to continue this nourishing facial at home, the specific formula will be placed in a My Daily Dose bottle for you.
5. The hotel is in a prime location. Walk out of ME Madrid and take to the cobblestone streets for tapas at the contemporary Mercado de la Reina or black pudding at Prada A Tope. And at some point during your stroll, you’ll want to pop into stores such as Señorita Martita for a look at cute and colorful dresses. With Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia within walking distance, too, it’s a must to check out Pablo Picasso’s Guernica and then head over to Museo Nacional Del Pradofor the exhibit “El Greco and Modern Painting,” which highlights the artist’s influence on 19th- and 20th-century works and so much more.
Photos Courtesy of Meliá Hotels International