Las Letras Gran Via

Gran Via, Madrid, Spain Book from Book from £122 per night

Superb historic building on Gran Vía, boldly restyled to offer colourful, literary-themed bedrooms, a rooftop terrace and a fusion restaurant
From the bustling, boutique-lined pavements of Gran Vía, this 1917 building presents an ornate façade of arched windows, wrought-iron balconies and a corner tower. But step through the auto-revolving doors and it's another story, quite literally. Walls, unashamedly modern in grey-red livery, are dotted with quotations which you can ponder over a cocktail and a plate of tapas or two, sitting with Madrid's young and beautiful on white sofas in the glass-fronted lounge-bar, or enjoying creative fusion food in the adjacent sleek restaurant.

Continue upstairs (via the original tiled staircase or the slick lift - you choose) and the 109 bedrooms inject the same bold modernity into their Art Deco shell: vivid colours (deep sienna, bright orange) and contemporary fittings (plasma TVs and electric-blue desk lamps) within high ceilings and parquet floors. Plus, of course, the obligatory quotation on the wall. Deluxe Terrace Rooms come with a sun terrace, outdoor Jacuzzi and views over the city's number-one thoroughfare; there's even a stylish rooftop terrace.

Highs

  • We loved the delicate Asian-Mediterranean fusion food in the Al Trapo restaurant during our 2014 revisit; the chef trained under the 3-starred Michelin chef Ferran Adrià
  • There's a rooftop terrace with panoramic views over Madrid
  • Rooms are bright and airy, with the literary theme adding a quirky touch
  • The central location is close to the smart shops, plus the main art galleries and museums are all within easy walking distance
  • Staff are incredibly friendly and very helpful

Lows

  • Since our last visit the hotel has been taken over by Iberostar - we'll be updating our review soon
  • Being largely in Spanish or Catalan, the quotations may be lost on English-only speakers
  • As the hotel is on Gran Vía, one of the busiest roads in Madrid, there is a constant murmur of traffic noise
  • The water pressure in the shower can be touch-and-go
  • We've had reports that the WiFi is a little intermittent on the higher floors, but ours worked well

Best time to go

May and September are perhaps the best months as they are fairly quiet and pleasantly warm. February sees Carnival, April brings the pre-Easter Holy Week or Semana Santa (solemn religious processions). Summer (July to early September) is one of the quietest periods, when all self-respecting Madrileños flee to the coast or highlands to escape the intense heat. Late October is time for the autumn festival of dance, drama, film and music, followed by the procession and mass of the Virgin of Almudena on 9 November.

Our top tips

Cross Gran Vía outside the hotel and you'll find the Art Deco Museo Chicote, Madrid's most famous cocktail bar. Opened in 1931, it's played host to names such as Ernest Hemmingway, Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly.

Great for...

City Style
Family
Foodie
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 109
  • Restaurant and bar (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room: Superior Terrace

Rooms

The aesthetic of the 109 bedrooms is a successful combination of Art Deco heritage in modern clothing, courtesy of Virgina Figueras. Onto the high ceilings, parquet floors and wrought-iron balconies of the 1917 structure, she has added vivid colours (each floor has its own scheme) and state-of-the-art fittings (sleek perforated deskchairs, electric-blue angle-lamps, brown velour armchairs, rocket-steel minibars and plasma TVs). Rooms have poems on their dark sienna, blood red or berry blue walls, which are always bold but never, thanks to the spaciousness and light, oppressive.

Bathrooms are determinedly futuristic, double-glazed French windows dampen even the most persistent police siren, and full-height white veils allow you to bask in soft morning sunshine. The turndown service comes with a Spanish poem.

We loved the corner rooms, which offer a curved façade of 3 French windows over Gran Vía; the extra space means they come into the Superior category. We were lucky enough to be in one of these and loved sitting on our tiny balcony gazing at the busy street below. Other Superior Rooms have a distinct sitting area and a separate shower and tub. The smallest rooms, Letras, are a great choice for those on a budget. Superior Terrace Rooms, as you may imagine, have a private terrace with wooden decking. Next up are the Deluxe Terrace Rooms, which boast a Jacuzzi tub outside and a glass-walled wetroom inside. Top of the range is the sumptuous Duplex Suite, which has 2 storeys, 2 terraces (one with a Jacuzzi) and a regal, light-filled sitting room.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Terrace
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Be sure to eat in the Al Trapo restaurant, run by chef Paco Morales who trained under 3-starred Michelin chef Ferran Adrià. It's a sleek, glass-fronted room with abstract red art on its grey walls and egg-shaped lamps hanging from a mobile. You'll find a card with the poem of the month and a novel mix-n-match menu of streamlined, Mediterranean-Asian inspired creations. We loved our meal of veal gizzard with an Asian broth and coconut-milk bubbles followed by soy-milk custard with gingerbread, lemon oil, toffee syrup and white chocolate cream. Dishes are organised into categories such as 'for eating with your hands and licking your fingers’, ‘smooth and elegant' and 'mischievous and spicy'; all looked delicious and wonderfully creative. Note that the restaurant is closed all day Sunday and Monday lunchtimes.

After dinner, move to the adjoining Bocablo Lounge to unwind with a coffee or glass of vino on its sumptuous white sofas. They also have a menu offering light dishes such as wagyu hamburgers and Andalusian flatbread with ensaladilla rusa, which would be ideal for lunch.

Breakfast (not included in the rates) is a buffet serving the usual fare; it may have been simple, consisting of fresh, good quality hot and cold options, but it more than set us up for the day.

Features include:

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

Activities

  • Go shopping on and around Gran Vía - you'll find everything from small boutiques to the all-encompassing department store and food halls of El Corte Ingles. Nearby Calle Serrano is home to the big designer names if you fancy a spending spree
  • 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
  • Head to the Plaza Mayor for a coffee at one of its many pavement cafés. Madrid's most famous square, it's enclosed by 17th- and 18th-century residences and now brimming with living statues, buskers, a Sunday stamp and coin market and Mercado de San Miguel
  • The 3 major museums - the Prado, the Thyssen and the Reina Sofia - offer 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 famous works on display
  • Browse the Sunday flea market of El Rastro - it's a mecca for antique hunters and collectors of bric-a-brac (as well as pickpockets)
  • Head to the Retiro park. This huge oasis of lush greenery in the centre of the city has exhibition spaces, sweeping lawns, waterfalls and a boating lake

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Shopping / markets
  • Wine tasting

Kids

Children are welcome and cots are available on request in all rooms. Only Superior Rooms can fit an extra bed for children aged 2-12.

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Baby equipment:

Baby cots are available on request.

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

Kid Friendly: Duplex

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 7 independent reviews from i-escape guests

8/10
Room
9/10
Food
8/10
Service
8/10
Value
8/10
Overall

The staff were superb and made our stay there very very enjoyable and location of hotel very good. Nearby Tenconten restaurant was excellent and the hotel restaurant was very good too. Tried to take Metro in from airport. 20 minute walk from landing to metro station then at least 30 minute queue for ticket so got a taxi into city. Would not recommend the Metro.

9/10,

We loved the location of the hotel. Walking distance to all the major sites. Lots of restaurants and shopping options nearby. Staff was very helpful and friendly. Felt at home immediately. Booked a deluxe terrace room with jacuzzi on deck. While the room itself was rather small and somewhat basic, the added outdoor space from the terrace was delightful. Great view of the city from the terrace. Used the jacuzzi the first night and it felt great after a day of sightseeing although the temperature of the water was a bit cool. Attempted to use it the second night but it was downright cold. Since it was midnight, we did not call for help and there didn't appear to be a way to adjust the temperature on the unit or from the room. While the bed in the room looked questionable, sort of a mattress on wheels, it was surprisingly comfortable and we slept well. We also found the room to be quiet, despite facing the Main Street, and the wifi to be good. Also, once logged into the wifi, we remained logged in without having to re-enter passcodes (a nice convenience). Great breakfast spread in the morning and super nice, helpful staff in the restaurant. Amazing roof terrace space with panoramic views of the city. I would definitely return to this hotel.

9/10,

We chose this hotel because of the great reviews of the roof terrace that sold cocktails and delicious tapas but when we arrived there was a sign saying the roof terrace was closed for the summer. There was no explanation and so we didn't get to experience the food or cocktails from the roof terrace.
The room did not feel 4* to us. It felt a bit budget like the bathroom and wardrobe sliding doors. The terrace hot tub was good but there was one old rickety wooden sun lounger instead of two, comfy modern ones. This didn't live up to our usual expectations that we've had from other i-escape hotels and B&Bs.

5/10,

Friendly staff. Good bar and restaurant. More could have been made of the terrace which we paid extra for. There was one broken chair when we would have expected two loungers so we could have relaxed on the terrace as we had intended but this was not the case. The room was also fairly small. Good to have a coffee machine though. Easy taxi ride. Strategic location as long as you don't mind a walk.
Right opposite art deco cocktail bar frequented by Ernest Hemingway.
Suggest: San Miguel food market - foodie heaven, Platea a converted art deco cinema, Celso y Manolo - just 5 mins from the hotel - The food was superb especially the seared tuna and very reasonably priced, Tartan roof top bar above the arts institute, Plaza Santa Ana - chilled atmosphere for evening drinks. Great place to visit if you like art and food!

8/10,

Great location and very friendly staff. Cleaning was good, and spacious room. They sell some of the rooms with terrace without any proper terrace. We complained and got another room the next day. Outdoor furniture in bad condition. Not enough value for money.

7/10,

The location of the hotel is ideal. You are walking distance to Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol, Plaza Santa Ana, Chueca, Malasana, etc. The staff was very helpful in guiding our visit, and the room itself was great. We would recommend the hotel to anyone visiting Madrid.

10/10,

First we had a very large room situated on a corner with three windows on the avenue, very noisy. Bathroom was also very spacious. We changed rooms for one situated on a courtyard on the 6th floor. Everything thing was ok.

8/10,

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Rates for Las Letras Gran Via