5 Reasons To Visit Mandarin Oriental, Ritz Madrid

Madrid’s finest hotel now is part of the growing luxury portfolio from Mandarin Oriental, but it has not lost its Spanish flair. In fact, designers pumped millions into the design from gorgeous artwork in hallways and public areas to staff uniforms. Even the artwork behind reception showcases the pleats of a Spanish fan, which just happens to be MO’s signature (each Mandarin Oriental around the world has its own style of fan). As you descend from the grand staircase into the lobby, you cannot help but feel like a prince or princess. Here are the top five reasons to stay at Mandarin Oriental, Ritz Madrid.

The History

This Belle Epoque hotel was one of the first built in the city and has hosted the most visiting dignitaries, celebrities and other famous visitors to town. It sits just across from the Prado and within walking distance to other famous art museums and city sights like Retiro Park, Plaza Mayor and Puerta del Sol.

King Alfonso XIII ordered the hotel to be built to compete with the leading hotels of other European capitals. He became an investor in the Ritz Development organization. This is what led to the involvement of César Ritz (yes that Mr. Ritz), who oversaw the design and initial operation of the hotel. His attention to detail is notable in little things like how the check-in area is tucked into a small room (he didn’t want arrival formalities conducted in front of the elites dining and conversing) and the elegant architecture both inside and out. In fact, this was the first building of full steel frame in Spain (although you wouldn’t know that from the outside).

In 2021, the entire property was redone during the transition to Mandarin Oriental, and it emerged as one of the most beautiful remakes across Europe. Not a stich of the historic façade was changed, something that locals and hoteliers are proud of as this is a landmark.
Top-hatted doormen swing open large metal doors and offer guests bottles of water while pointing them wherever they need to go. Once inside, the city’s most connected concierges help arrivals with whatever they need. Look up to discover a glittering display of metallic leaves that represent the trees native to Madrid as well as those that are not (they are in contrasting hues of gold and silver).

The Rooms

The regal theme continues in the hallway with a crown embroidered on the carpet in front of each room. Beautiful guest rooms feature herringbone parquet floors with area rugs, magnificent headboards with easy-access power outlets, some of the most must plush bedding in the capital and bottled water at every turn. Rooms have eclectic pillow menus for every comfort and preference. Spacious work desks provide a spot for guests to sign their big business deals in privacy, and wide closets contain everything from garment bags to thick slippers to use in the room.

Views vary from the interior courtyard to the tree-lined streets of this neighborhood. Many guests adore the rooms facing the Neptune fountain in the traffic circle in front of the hotel, and this property has many rooms directly facing the entrance of the Prado museum.
Bathrooms stock Spanish-born Natura Bisse products, drenching showers next to deep soaking tubs and separate water closets. Dual vanities come stocked with all kinds of additional toiletries, and when housekeeping makes one of its daily visits, they organize personal belongings and even hang or fold any clothes you have left around the room.

The largest suites here have two bedrooms, two living rooms, a dining area with small kitchen and even a steam room in the bathroom.
Nearly one third of the accommodations here are suites, an indication of the type of guest that stays here.

The Dining

It should come as no surprise that the dining scene here sets the standard for luxury in the city. Neither Cesar Ritz nor Mandarin Oriental would have it any other way. It all begins at breakfast where a pristine dining room looks like it was cut and paste from a palace, and white-jacket staffers patrol the starched linen-covered tables with aplomb. The buffet is laid out in the finest of china with presentation befitting of royalty.

Locals drop it for a business breakfast, midday champagne or light meal, and afternoon tea here or in the main Palm Court lounge. With two Michelin stars, Deessa is an unforgettable dining experience with hard-to-get reservations for lunch and dinner. It shares the same dining room as breakfast where glamorous chandeliers, stunning statues and natural light add to the artful food Mediterranean menu and presentation.

Pictura is the fashionable cocktail bar serving masterful drinks and mocktails with flair amid a stunning atmosphere with large-scale photographs of notable Spaniards dressed in various types of historic clothes. It’s a whimsical touch that fits a cocktail bar. The Jardin del Ritz is one of the city’s most elite outdoor cafes and restaurants serving from a lengthy Champagne menu, but also offering light bites and other drinks throughout the day.

The Service

As one would expect of Mandarin Oriental, the staff here anticipates guest needs before they realize that they need anything. Name recognition is impressive, and everyone from the housekeeper to the restaurant server sees it as their job to assure guests are comfortable. What I found especially nice was how tastes from every type of customer were met in similar fashion.
The staff offers to-go coffee to those that look like they may want one (that’s an American favorite although not so common among locals), and if guests are traveling with children, you can bet there will be special goodies headed their way (think small robes and coloring books among other things).

The Spa

For such a historic and luxurious hotel, the indoor swimming pool will come as a pleasant surprise. Designers were tasked with not only providing an elegant plunge, but also one with natural light. From here, guests can lounge in a sauna or steam facilities, work out in the gym (a trainer is always on hand) or relax in the spa. This impeccable facility has quickly become the go-to spot for Madrid’s elite and glitterati looking to relax. If you don’t know where to go, it’s easy to miss, but, it has its own elevator and side entrance for those looking to be pampered.


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Ramsey Qubein

Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe.