AC Palacio del Retiro

Paseo del Prado, Madrid, Spain Book from

An extravagantly decorated Edwardian palace opposite Retiro Park, near the ‘golden 3’ museums, with stylish bedrooms, tasty tapas and a top-notch spa
This palatial residence was built in 1908 for an Oriol aristocrat who brought in Mauméjean stained glass, Julio Romero frescoes, a Talavera ceramic fountain, oak flooring, a dozen marble columns, and a wrought-iron lift to transport her horses to a rooftop exercise ring. These are still in place, but now offset by arresting art - Lichtenstein prints on glass doors, pink sculptures with ET heads and monkey lips in the reception lightwell. The result is bold, imposing and occasionally incongruous, but always extravagant.

Huge bedrooms retain ornate plaster moulding overhead and patterned parquet underfoot, but gain chrome chairs, defiantly angled kingsize beds and excellent bathrooms (some with Jacuzzis). Arched windows look through maple branches to the trees of Retiro Park. Plus the 50 black-clad staff (that's one per room!) provide faultless service, from the subterranean spa to intimate Suite Bar for a drink and bite to eat. If you want to spoil yourselves on a special weekend or an anniversary, with 3 world-class museums on your doorstep, you could do no better.


  • You get spoiling luxury as standard, combining mod cons (Jacuzzis, spa, WiFi) and understated contemporary design with Edwardian elegance
  • Incredibly well placed for exploring the city; 5-10 minutes from the Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia, and 1 minute from Retiro Park
  • Perfect for combining sunset walks, spa treatments, shopping and art
  • The spa is perfect to unwind in after a long day shopping and sightseeing; body wraps, massages and beauty treatments are all on offer
  • We loved the incredibly unique Presidential Suite, which is set in the old library and features original dark-wood panelling


  • The modern, minimalist grey, chrome and brown furniture clashes deliberately, but not always successfully, with the ornate plaster-, wood-, and iron-work
  • We enjoyed our lunch at The Suite Bar during our 2014 revisit, but found it overpriced
  • The 40-inch plasma TVs (in some rooms) may feel a little ostentatious
  • It’s not cheap, but service is truly 5-star, and frequent promotions make it better value than other hotels in the area
  • Guests aren't able to iron their own clothes; instead there's an ironing service available for a charge

Best time to go

With so much of cultural interest, any time of year is a good time to be in Madrid. May and September are perhaps the best months as the city is fairly quiet and pleasantly warm. Bear in mind that it gets very cold in the winter and very hot in summer.

Our top tips

Make the most of Madrid's excellent cafe culture; we love exploring the city with stops at tapas restaurants, cafes and bars.

Great for...

City Style
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 50
  • Restaurant + bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym


So vast is this palace that it has space for 50 bedrooms, ranging from a decent size (the rooms) to a frankly indecent size (the larger suites). Designer Isabella Claramont has combined the ornate splendour of the original 1908 structure (high ceilings, flowery stuccowork, grand arched windows, red-marble fireplaces) with unashamedly modern furniture (chunky brown armchairs, chrome and glass cabinets, vast plasma TVs, desks with black-leather swivel chairs). It’s a bold juxtaposition, a little incongruous or ostentatious for some perhaps, but kept easy on the eye by the muted colour scheme of brown, grey and white.

Huge beds occupy pride of place in the middle of the room, some angled towards grand arched windows overlooking the interior courtyard (quieter) or the broad avenue of Alfonso XII (leafier). Bathrooms are decorated in sleek grey and chrome; showers are powerful rainfall types and most rooms have baths, too.

Some fourth floor rooms are livened up by bright Lichtenstein comic-prints on glass bathroom doors; one is an attic room with portholes over Calle Montalbán. Third floor rooms have dark walnut-effect laminate floors and huge grey plexi-glass wardrobes, giving them a particularly hard, modern feel. Those on the second floor retain the original parquet with its pretty, meandering inset.

We loved the Presidential Suite, which has panelled walls with bookshelves, fabric wallpaper and translucent gold drapes screening a tall windowed balcony, plus a huge Jacuzzi in its interior. Another one of our favourites is the panoramic corner Luxury Suite, with its intricate Rococo plaster moulding set off by a long-armed chrome lamp and simple stick-man art by Eleazar. In its bathroom, 2 of you could sit in the whirlpool tub and look through maple leaves to Retiro Park, before cooling off in the separate shower cabinet.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Internet access
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Nespresso coffee machine
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Tv
  • WiFi
  • Wifi internet


Breakfast (excluded from the room price) is a buffet, with cooked dishes like huevos revueltos con chistorra (scrambled eggs with a very tasty local sausage), toasted pan de hogaza (rustic sandwiches) and the classic churros con chocolate (fried dough twirls with hot chocolate), to supplement the usual yoghurts, fruit salads, cold meats and pastry selection. There are no fewer than 5 fresh juices (try the carrot and lemon, very tangy and healthy-tasting), plus 4 infusions (including cherry), 7 types of tea, and Madrid’s full range of coffees.

On the ground floor is the contemporary and intimate The Suite Bar, with brown walls, geometric curtains and red lamps, where simple but delicious tapas-style dishes are served for lunch and dinner alongside a creative cocktail menu. We enjoyed a relaxed lunch of Iberian ham croquettes followed by hake on a bed of grilled vegetables. While we found the food tasty, we did feel that it was a little overpriced, plus most guests dine out, which means the atmosphere here is pretty quiet.

Alternatively, you could slip out to the renowned Horcher restaurant or the simpler Spanish Viridiana for dinner (both just a block away).

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu


  • Spend a lazy afternoon in Retiro Park; it is on your doorstep after all!
  • You're a short walk away from all 3 major museums - Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia - offering an inexhaustible supply of art from all ages and styles; Picasso's 'Guernica', whose brutal imagery is the most eloquent anti-war statement, is among the most famous works of the 20th century
  • Shopping around the Gran Vía offers everything from designer boutiques to the all-encompassing department store and food halls of El Corte Ingles. Be sure to visit the stores on Calle Serrano, it’s like the Spanish version of Bond Street!
  • The Monasterio de las Descalzas Reales is a working convent which houses an award-winning museum: frescoes, paintings, tapestries, sculptures, woodcarvings and liturgical silverware are on display
  • The Plaza Mayor is Madrid's most famous square, enclosed by 17th- and 18th-century residences, and now brimming with outdoor cafés, statues and a Sunday stamp and coin market
  • The Royal Palace (Palacio Real) has over 2,000 frescoed rooms and chandeliered halls, many of them open to visitors, as well as a chapel, armoury, landscaped gardens and the throne where royal visitors are received. The Botanical Gardens are worth visiting, too
  • The Medieval Quarter is a warren of winding lanes, tapas bars and cerveceńas, with the huge-domed basilica of San Francisco and the museum of San Isidro to punctuate your wanderings
  • To its south (a short metro ride away) is the Sunday flea market of El Rastro, a mecca for antique hunters and collectors of bric-a-brac (watch out for pickpockets)
  • Unwind after a hard day shopping and sightseeing in the spa with a massage, facial or body wrap

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Museums / galleries
  • Shopping / markets
  • Well being


We felt that due to its design and location, the hotel is perhaps best suited to adults. That said, cots and full-size extra beds are available free of charge for under 12s, with a supplement for older children.

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available


Babysitting is available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...


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