Salamanca district, Madrid, Spain Book from Book from £110 per night

A sleek, sophisticated hotel in the chic Salamanca district, with 19th-century features and a 1920s-inspired bar and restaurant
When a new boutique hotel is celebrated locally, and not just in the pages of the latest travel magazine, you know you’re onto a winner. Since opening in June 2016, TOTEM Hotel has fast become a hip hotspot in the swanky Salamanca neighbourhood of central Madrid. Its refurbished façade harks back to the 1800s, while the decadent bar evokes the glitz and glamour of the roaring 20s, complete with potted palms and blue velvet sofas. It and the adjoining Mediterranean restaurant were inspired by - and named after - F. Scott Fitzgerald’s second novel, The Beautiful and the Damned (Hermosos y Malditos in Spanish), and the clientele here - much like the book’s central characters - are a good-looking, cocktail-sipping elite.

Spread across the 5 floors above, the 64 rooms are funky without being loud. Designer Paco Llonch played with a palette of greys and whites, combined with bright pops of colour; all rooms have smart sitting areas, and many have balconies with views of the tranquil, tree-lined street below. Best of all, the location is ideal for sightseeing, museums and shopping, with boutiques all around and metro stops nearby. There’s no doubt about it: TOTEM Hotel lives up to the hype.


  • Only minutes from independent boutiques, designer shops and top restaurants, and a short walk from museums and the Retiro park
  • We loved the bar’s decadent 1920s vibe and outstanding cocktails
  • The fashionable restaurant serves a winning Mediterranean menu
  • Well-equipped rooms, with beautiful design throughout
  • Attractive original features, including a 19th-century façade and perfectly preserved wooden staircase


  • Unusually, extra bed rates will not be included on your online quote. Instead, they will be payable upon arrival at the hotel
  • Standard double rooms are small - it’s worth upgrading if you can
  • The local area is lovely but pricey
  • Only the higher-grade rooms have coffee-making kit (Nespresso machines)

Best time to go

Given the hotel’s location in the heart of Madrid’s exclusive shopping district, you might want to visit during the sales season in July. April and May are very pleasant, when the trees are in full bloom, as are the autumn months. Avoid August - it’s too hot, even for the Madrileños!

Our top tips

Head to the Chamberí district for an experimental meal at compact restaurant Sala de Despiece. Here, young and talented academy chefs fire out gourmet dishes from the open-plan kitchen – it’s a spectacle as much as an unforgettably good meal. Get there as the doors open at 8pm or be prepared to queue.

Great for...

City Style
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 64
  • Restaurant & 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: Deluxe Attic


All 64 rooms and suites have wooden floors, grey corner sofas and tall double-glazed windows that let in plenty of natural light. Pops of colour stand out against white walls, creating an air of modern, understated luxury.

Standard Double TOTEM rooms are on the small side, so it's worth upgrading to a Deluxe Exterior or higher. We had a bright and spacious Junior Suite with 3 balconies and lime green curtains that drew back to reveal the tree-lined Calle Hermosilla below. Deluxe Attic rooms are large but have slightly lower, sloping ceilings; top-of-the-range Suites come with separate sitting rooms.

Black marble ensuites have tiled floors and powerful rainfall showers; some also feature tubs. The hotel likes to support local businesses and so the organic toiletries are supplied by small Madrid-based company Handmade Beauty. The same applies to the minibars, which are stocked with Matías López chocolates and La Azucena crisps, both made nearby.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Central heating
  • Hairdryer
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi


The hotel restaurant buzzes with activity every day of the week. One wall is decorated with torn-out pages of the F. Scott Fitzgerald novel after which it's named; tall windows, oversized potted plants, booth seating and an iron partition give off a New York bistro vibe.

The small but well-thought-through lunch and dinner menu focuses on Mediterranean classics. We loved the ossobucco lasagne and wickedly creamy burrata starter, stuffed inside a giant, juicy tomato. Pre- and post-meal cocktails are also a big deal here, with Fran Camino (one of Madrid’s mixologists du jour) at the helm of the adjoining 20s-inspired bar - the concoctions on offer include the likes of vodka with strawberry and balsamic vinegar, and a spicy Thai red daiquiri.

For breakfast, the hotel breaks away from the standard buffet and instead offers a pick 'n’ mix menu split into 3 sections: pastries, toasts (with a choice of mashed avocado, tomato and olive oil, or butter and homemade jams), and cheese and meat platters. Eggs with salmon, ham, sausage or bacon are available, too.

Features include:

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


  • Hit Salamanca’s boutiques. This is Madrid’s most exclusive shopping area, and you’ll find all the top designers, as well as popular high street brands such as Zara, on nearby Calle Serrano
  • Or browse 2 of the city's best food markets, the contemporary San Antón and the historic San Miguel, which are both within easy reach
  • Admire the world-famous masterpieces on display in Madrid’s top galleries. The Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza, known collectively as the 'Golden Triangle', are all a 20-minute stroll from the hotel
  • Explore the city's historic centre, where you'll find the cathedral, the royal palace and the grand Plaza Mayor, built by the Hapsburgs in the 17th century
  • The hotel concierge can arrange a number of interesting private tours, including 'Madrid from the rooftops', helicopter rides over the city, and an afternoon with a professional photographer who'll share photography tips and take pictures of you on holiday (beats a selfie stick any day!)
  • Head to the leafy Retiro park for a lazy stroll or a row on the boating lake. Hotel staff can advise on running routes if you fancy working off some of the tapas

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Helicopter tours
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Photography
  • Plantlife / flora
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Theatre and music
  • Wine tasting


The hotel is a smart, sophisticated kind of place, but children of all ages are welcome.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Deluxe Attic rooms, Junior Suites and Suites can all accommodate a baby cot (free) or rollaway bed (extra charge). For families of 4 or more, there are a few connecting rooms: a Deluxe Exterior with a Double TOTEM, a Deluxe Exterior with a Suite, and a Deluxe Attic with a Suite.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots
  • High chairs

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

Kid Friendly: Junior Suite

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 2 independent reviews from i-escape guests


We loved the style of the whole hotel, the restaurant, bar and rooms. It was in a great location, staff were super friendly and went out of their way to help (sourcing tickets for events, providing recommendations for lunch, booking restaurants etc). It was trendy but still felt warm and welcoming. Breakfast was absolutely delicious - superb pain au chocolat and freshly squeezed orange juice. There are lots of trendy bars and shops nearby. We wandered down through to the Prado which was only about 20 minutes away.


Great location. Hotel has a nice feel about it and the bar was very buzzy every evening. The bedroom was a bit sparsely furnished, but the bathroom was nice. They have a complicated system for breakfasts and when if it is included in your rate, there are only certain items that you can have, which isn't indicated, unless you look at the Optional Extras bit which is in very small print. Worth paying attention.


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Rates for TOTEM Hotel