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Madrid has come out the other side of the pandemic to become a world leader in luxury travel, offering lavish holidays that cater to high-spending travelers.  Despite the financial struggles many are facing around the world, it seems as though this has not impacted luxury travelers who are now flooding Madrid in eagerness to stay in many of the Spanish capital’s newest 4 and 5-star hotels, dine at the many Michelin-star restaurants, engage in high-end shopping, and take advantage of luxurious new attractions and VIP experiences.

Madrid: The Newest World Capital of Luxury Tourism

Madrid Has Become a Luxury Travel Hotspot

Madrid’s devotion to kick-starting tourism again in a big way should come as no surprise since it is the home of the UN’s World Tourism Organization which is dedicated to promoting tourism as a driver of economic growth around the world.

Spain is the second most visited country in the world and Madrid looks to have its sights on overtaking Barcelona as being the most popular city within the nation for foreign tourists. Madrid has long been a popular holiday destination for travelers from the UK, France, and Germany, but now looks to become a top European travel destination for American travelers as well, with more and more flights to Madrid readily available from cities across the US.

As one of Europe’s top 10 largest cities, Madrid looks to only continue to strengthen its position as a premier luxury travel destination with its grand hotels and fine-dining restaurants alongside its many experiential attractions. Take a look at what this beautiful city has to offer you in terms of a luxurious first-class holiday.

Madrid’s Luxury Hotels

Madrid definitely doesn’t have a shortage of luxury 5-star hotels, many of them located in the city center or fancy neighborhoods like the Salamanca Quarter. Many are located within steps of the city’s finest museums and can arrange private museum visits.

A great many of Madrid’s finest hotels are historic buildings that have been renovated or refurbished to become opulent accommodation for both affluent and business travelers.  They often offer up some of the finest fitness and wellness centers in the city, alongside world-class spas and rooftop pools and lounges.

There are 5 hotels in Madrid that belong to the Leading Hotels of the World organization, which is a collection of more than 400 independent and unique hotels across 80 countries. This list includes Madrid’s Gran Hotel Inglés, BLESS Hotel Madrid, and the Palacio De Los Duques (a Gran Meliá Hotel) which is located next to the Royal Palace and Opera House.

Marriott also features in the city with its Luxury Collection Hotel Santo Mauro which was once the former residence of a Spanish duke, while the recently renovated Mandarin Oriental Ritz lies in the heart of Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art. Meanwhile, Westin Palace has had many notable guests in its lifetime including Pablo Picasso and Ernest Hemingway.

JW Marriott also recently made its debut in Spain with the opening of its JW Marriott Hotel Madrid. The hotel is housed within one of the city’s oldest perfumeries. You’ll find it in the Plaza de Canalejas just steps from prominent art institutions and theatres.

And finally, we have the Four Seasons Madrid which sadly timed its opening to coincide with the height of the pandemic so is only now getting truly noticed for its impressiveness that includes a 4-level spa and immense art collection.

Michelin-Star Restaurants

Madrid boasts nearly two dozen Michelin-star restaurants that will appease even the most sophisticated palates.  DiverXO leads the pack of fine restaurants with its 3 Michelin stars. The restaurant is the masterpiece of Chef Dabiz Muñoz, a young and very talented edgy chef that brings avant-garde cuisine. He has a memorable 12-course tasting menu where his dishes are referred to as canvases due to their artistic brilliance.

There are then half a dozen 2 Michelin-star restaurants which include Deessa , the signature restaurant of Mandarin Oriental Ritz. Chef Quique Dacosta presents a choice of gastronomic experiences whereby you can select between two different tasting menus, one focusing on his historic signature dishes and the other featuring more contemporary flavors. The Mandarin Oriental also features an exclusive Champagne Bar, a sparkling experience reserved for just 8 seats where you will accompany fine champagne with oyster, caviar, white truffles, and Iberian ham.

You will also want to check out Sobrino de Botín which is said to be the world’s oldest continually operating restaurant. Founded in 1725, the restaurant has been going strong for nearly 300 years using many of its original recipes.

Forbes magazine named Sobrino de Botín the world’s third-best classic restaurant, the restaurants specialties being its delicious Castilian style suckling pig and roasted lamb. The restaurant is so  famous it was mentioned in Hemingway’s novel The Sun Also Rises and the great Spanish romantic artist Francisco Goya was actually employed here as a dishwasher.

City of Palaces

A visit to Madrid allows you the chance to literally walk in the footsteps of Spanish royalty thanks to the city being home to at least a dozen different palaces. While some are quite hidden or lesser-known like Palacio Fernán Núñez, Palacio de Buenavista, or Palacio Parque Florido, others are major tourist attractions in Madrid.

The most famous palace is of course The Royal Palace or Palacio Real de Madrid. Walking the rooms and banquet halls will definitely have you feeling you are of noble blood. The palace is still the Royal family’s official residence but it is only utilized for state ceremonies. The remainder of the time it is open to the public.

So expansive is the Royal Palace, that only portions of it are open at any given time and the selected tour offerings are switched up ever few months. Europe’s largest royal palace, Palacio Real de Madrid is said to contain well over 3,000 rooms.

Another must-see palace has only just recently been made available to the public. Liria Palace is the official residence of the House of Alba and dates back to around the mid 18th century. This palace is often regarded as the Royal Palace’s younger sibling and offers up a grand collection of art and library of more than 9,000 books.

Once-restricted to only distinguished guests of the family such as Winston Churchill, Theodore Roosevelt, and Oscar Wilde, it is a real treat for normal everyday travelers to now get the opportunity to see the impressive collection of historical items and artworks. You’ll see works from Goya, El Greco , and Diego Velázquez as well as writings of Christopher Columbus, a first-edition copy of Don Quixote, and the last will and testament of King Philip II of Spain.

Witnessing Real Madrid Football in Style

No trip to Madrid would be complete without being able to see the Real Madrid Football Club play a match. The $5 billion team is not only the most popular in Spain, but is one of the most supported football clubs throughout the world and was named by FIFA as the best football team of the 20th century.

You don’t’ simply settle for standard seats in the nosebleeds when you are a luxury traveler. Watching a game in style at Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, with its roughly 85,000 seating capacity, means purchasing VIP Hospitality tickets.

The Real Madrid VIP experience will see you seated in fantastic boxes near the pitch between the team benches and the presidential box. It also includes gourmet catering, hostess services, and cloakroom.

You can also witness one of the most prestigious sporting venues in the world with a VIP tour on non-game days free from the noisy chaotic crowds. You will get the chance to tour the press room, changing rooms, presidential box, and trophy room.

The stadium is currently undergoing a major €525 million renovation which will see the addition of a retractable roof and football pitch.

Shopping, Fashion, and Art

Madrid also offers visitors the chance to walk along the tree-lined Paseo del Prado and glorious 300-acre El Retiro urban park which have collectively recently been named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Paseo del Prado was one of the first park-like boulevards to be opened to all people and not simply reserved for the upper class as they were in other early European cities.

Paseo del Prado is the perfect place to head to surround yourself with the city’s finest museums and shopping. You’ll pass numerous historic buildings and monuments, along with the Museo del Prado which exhibits one of the finest collections of European art in the world that spans nearly ten centuries. This museum is one of the three that make up Madrid’s so-called Golden Triangle of Art.

The three museums that make up the Golden Triangle can all be easily reached on foot from the Paseo del Prado and are just a sampling of the dozens of museums, galleries, and theatres that are scattered throughout the city. The other two museums making up the Golden triangle include Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia and Thyssen-Bornemisza Museo Nacional.

Many of the city’s finest hotels offer up specialized VIP or private tours of various museums and cultural venues.

Spain is the birthplace of renowned luxury fashion houses like Paco Rabanne and Cristobal Balenciaga, but Madrid has a few of its very own elite fashion designers including Jorge Vázquez, Roberto Verino and Miss Garcia footwear.

Madrid also hosts the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week which attracts big name luxury designers and notable celebrities from around the world.

When it comes to luxury shopping, head to the Salamanca District not far from El Retiro Park. Here you will find the city’s finest luxury shopping streets known as Calle Serrano. The street is home to Madrid’s most exclusive boutiques and designer shops including Chanel, Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton.

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 100+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.



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