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How to Spend an Extra Day in Madrid

Hotels, restaurants and boutiques to check out in the capital of Spain

by Sahar Khan

March 11, 2024

Madrid / Photo: Alev Takil/Unsplash

Madrid’s storied history has played out across millennia in noisy tapas bars, sensual flamenco clubs, top-notch museums, the world’s oldest continually operating restaurant and Europe’s largest functioning royal palace. However, over the last few decades the city gained a reputation as the buttoned-up sister to carefree Barcelona. Not anymore, thanks to a spate of new hotels, restaurants and boutiques led by forward-thinking creatives who bring a uniquely Madrilenian flair to warm hospitality, innovative gastronomy and cutting-edge design.

1862 Dry Bar

1862 Dry Bar / Photo: Courtesy of 1862 Dry Bar

The first cocktail book was published in 1862. This lounge in hip Malasaña takes its name from that defining year. Mixologists serve classics such as the Moscow mule and Singapore sling to the rhythm of jazz licks. The bar’s own concoctions are as noteworthy as the standards: The Prado, a tequila-based tipple mixed with cream, triumphs.

Los 33

Los 33 / Photo: Courtesy of Los 33

The aroma of meat cooking over fire engulfs this cool eatery. Mood lighting casts shadows across leather seats and shelves in the bar lounge at the front of the house. At the back, a communal table faces a grill where chefs prepare Galician beef chops and Creole sausages. Tuck into Barcelona’s classic Bikini sandwich, which Los 33 packs with prosciutto.

Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid

Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid / Photo: Courtesy of Manolo Yllera

This beauty was built at the behest of King Alfonso XIII, with guests over the years including Ernest Hemingway and Grace Kelly. A palette of creams and chocolates envelop its 153 rooms and suites, embellished with brass accents and leather. Chef Quique Dacosta explores flavors of the Extremadura region at Deessa, which has earned two Michelin stars.

Prado Museum

Prado Museum / Photo: Zuma Press Inc/Alamy Stock Photo

Founded in 1819, this building is home to Spanish masterpieces. Famed treasures include Diego Velázquez’s Las Meninas and Francisco Goya’s The Clothed Maja, which is displayed next to an identical version in which the maja reclines in the nude. But one of the museum’s lesser-known duplicates, the Prado Mona Lisa, is just as enticing.


Cocol / Photo: Courtesy of Cocol

Owner Pepa Entrena scours the Iberian Peninsula in search of authentic crafts—expect to find handmade Teruel jugs and blankets made in Spain’s oldest textile mill. Our pick for the sweetest souvenir? Avian sculptures by Andalusian artists who sculpt agave and wire into kingfishers and toucans.