Staying at IberoStar Las Letras Gran Vía will have you in the center of Madrid’s action on the Gran Vía, the city’s main shopping and entertainment thoroughfare. Several of the city’s greatest hits are a few minutes’ walk away, including the Plaza Mayor, Palacio Real de Madrid, and world-class institution Museo del Prado.
Though the four-star hotel is housed in a restored (and protected) 1917 Belle Époque building, the interiors are anything but old-fashioned. The furnishings from the bedrooms to the lounge area are mod with white and bold colors from head to toe, and quotations from history’s finest writers and thinkers are inscribed on hallways and guestrooms as homage to the Las Letras (Literary Quarter) neighborhood’s legacy.
It’s a hotel as fit for gourmands as it is for the literati. “Informal haute cuisine” is the order of the day — and every day — in its restaurants, foregoing uninspiring chain hotel grub for standout eats. Breakfast features a traditional Spanish spread of thinly sliced jamón and other cured meats with assorted cheeses and breads, as well as made-to-order omelettes and eggs. The hip Ático 11 is a recently opened rooftop bar and tasty tapas joint that’s destined to become a hot spot in the city. Perhaps the hotel’s finest offering is Al Trapo, the brainchild of one of Spain’s brightest young chefs Paco Morales. Morales takes chances with plates such as fried anchovies with grapefruit, red curry powder and yogurt or steak tartare with mustard ice cream and black-pepper sauce. With great risks come great rewards — at least in Morales’ case.
The adults-only IberoStar Santa Eulalia is the brand’s newcomer, having only opened this past summer at the height of travel season. Its location on the more sedate S’Argamassa area of the island means the resort interests those seeking an “un-Ibiza” experience. No touristy crowds and no debauch — just pristine Mediterranean coastline and beaches with refreshingly laid-back vibes.
The 188-room hotel is stark white and punctuated throughout with boxy balconies; the minimalist yet comfortable rooms and common areas keep the easy-breezy motif going. There’s a pool on the premises where you can take Aquafit lessons with an instructor, and there’s also paddle boarding available along the beach. Its beachfront location makes a fabulous starting point for coastal walks and jogs, which are best followed up with one of their quality spa treatments given on the ground floor.
The main dining option for hotel guests is Agave, which hosts an expansive, international buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. If you’re looking to eat somewhere a bit more atmospheric, SeaSoul Beach Club would be your best bet. This is a spot that gives serious Ibiza beach vibes with deep house and chill-out tunes, comfy loungers and Balinese daybeds without the crowds. Because it’s directly on the coastline, it’s the best way to take the island in, preferably while eating one of their delicious fried calamari (a fixture in Ibiza) or tandoori chicken wraps with a cocktail.
Though a brand-new hotel, it promises to be bigger and better come next year once it undergoes expansion and refurbishment, to be completed in 2017.