Urso Hotel & Spa

Malasana district, Madrid, Spain Book from Book from £149 per night

A 19th-century royal palace turned chic urban retreat, in Madrid’s trendy Malasaña district
If walls could talk, Urso’s would certainly have stories to tell. Built as a 19th-century royal palace by the architect José María Mendoza Ussía, the building was later the headquarters for the Spanish Paper Industry, then a lawyer’s office, before it started a new lease of life as one of Madrid’s most luxurious hotels. Traces of the past remain - stunning stained glass, wooden banisters, an antique lift and the beautiful Neoclassical façade - but light-filled interiors keep things fresh, as do contemporary lamps, classic sofas and a soft palette of creams, greens and beiges.

An enormous L-shaped lounge sprawls across the ground floor and doubles up as a informal dining area, complete with wallpapered shelves lined with antique books on Madrid. As for the hotel's new restaurant, share classic Madrileño-style dishes among friends and family or enjoy a glass of wine by the open-plan bar. It’s here that Madrid’s high society come to relax, especially on Thursday evenings when a live jazz band performs their soulful songs. Upstairs, the 78 rooms are elegant, with tall windows and marble bathrooms; on the lower ground floor a Natura Bissé spa is the perfect place to decompress. A great base for the city, or a destination in its own right.

Highs

  • The building’s heritage: history lives on in the hotel’s nooks and crannies
  • Breakfasting in the light-filled, leafy conservatory
  • Sophisticated service at all times; nothing is too much trouble here
  • Well-located on the border of Malasaña and Chueca, both hip neighbourhoods, and just a 20-minute walk from the city centre
  • The atmosphere of the Thursday night jazz session

Lows

  • Families are welcome but there's nothing here for kids
  • Bigger than a typical i-escape hotel, but such a gem, we couldn't resist adding it

Best time to go

Spring and summer are lovely. The city is quiet but the days are long and sunny in May and June. We enjoyed the last of the autumn leaves in Retiro Park during our early November visit. Madrid is a lovely winter destination too, with Christmas markets and lights on throughout December.

Our top tips

Try the signature Mr Bamboo cocktail - a very Spanish mix of sherry, dry vermouth, orange bitter and Angostura.

Pop your head round the small meeting room on the 1st floor for a look at the superbly preserved wood-lined walls dating back to the 19th century.

Great for...

City Style
Honeymoon
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 78
  • Restaurant and bar (closed Sunday and Monday night)
  • Welcome but not ideal
  • Open all year
  • Indoor Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
Room:

Rooms

High-ceilinged rooms play it safe with classic décor. All feature seriously comfortable beds with textile headboards, leather-top desks, black and white photos of old Madrid, and grey marble bathrooms with Lab Room amenities. Minibars are stocked with local products, such as La Azucena crisps and Casa Paco sweets, and there are Nespresso machines in every room.

Our Junior Suite was nicely spacious, with a Juliet balcony. (Soon, it’ll look out onto the park of a refurbished palace, but during our stay this was still under construction.)

For all-out luxury, the Urso Terrace Suites have vast balconies overlooking Madrid; perfect sun traps for lazy days. The Terrace Junior Suites are also on the 4th floor, with equally lovely views of Madrid’s rooftops and the Telefonica tower in the distance. Style-wise, the Urso Suite was our favourite.

Features include:

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

Eating

Since our last visit, the hotel has opened its new restaurant, Media Ración, with the help of well-known Madrileño gourmand Fernando Cuenllas. The lunch and dinner menus offer an assortment of traditional sharing dishes in true España gastronomic style.

If you fancy a lighter meal or snack such as a delicious goat’s cheese salad, and a couple of more substantial dishes - eg roasted hake with sautéed vegetable – you can order and eat from the marble top bar or at the plush sofas in the lounge. The menu proudly points out that ingredients are sourced from the Barceló market directly opposite the hotel.

Breakfast is taken in the beautiful conservatory, under a skylight roof, surrounded by potted plants and stylish hummingbird-print wallpaper. It’s buffet style – expect local cheeses and prosciuttos, fruit salad and pastries – but you can top this up with eggs cooked to order.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Coffee maker
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • While away an afternoon at the hotel’s Natura Bissé spa. After a session in the hammam and hydrotherapy pool, book in a treatment (perhaps a ‘Diamond Sublime’, which features a mud mask made with diamonds!) or zen out in the wood-lined relaxation room
  • The hotel can organise guided trips to nearby Segovia or Toledo, both Unesco World Heritage Sites
  • Don’t miss Madrid’s Golden Triangle - the Prado, the Reina Sofia and the Thyssen-Bornemisza galleries are all within minutes of each other and feature some of the world’s most famous masterpieces. Avoid queues by asking Urso's concierge to pre-book your tickets
  • Go for churros and chocolate at the famous Chocolatería San Ginés - it’s a classic Madrid experience
  • Check out the nearby food markets. We preferred Chueca’s more laid-back Mercado San Antón to the beautiful but touristy Mercado de San Miguel. Also worth a visit, and directly opposite the hotel, is Mercado de Barceló
  • Rent a bike from the hotel and explore the trendy Malasaña and Chueca districts, packed full of independent boutiques, hip bars, restaurants and cosy cafes

    Activities on site or nearby include:

    • Hiking
    • Historical sites
    • Language courses
    • Museums / galleries
    • Nightlife
    • Private guided tours
    • Shopping / markets
    • Well being
    • Wine tasting

Kids

Kids are welcome but given the sophisticated vibe and lack of amenities for little ones, it is not an obvious choice for families. Note that the spa is for 14+ year olds.

Best for:

Babies (0-1 years)

Family friendly accommodation:

Baby cots can be placed in any room free of charge, while extra beds can be fitted in Junior Suites or the Urso Suite. There’s a strict maximum capacity of 3 people per room (including babies). A Standard Double and the Urso Suite on the first floor can be sectioned off and made into inter-connecting rooms.

Babysitting:

On request

Kid Friendly:

Location

Set on an elegant residential street in the Malasaña neighbourhood, bordering Chueca. The city centre is a 20-minute stroll away and the Prado museum is 25 minutes by foot (7 minutes in a taxi).

By Air:
Madrid Barajas (18km) is a major international hub that’s served by numerous flights from the UK, elsewhere in Europe and further afield - click on the links below for a list of airlines.

From the Airport
There’s a fast and convenient metro link from the airport to the city centre (45 minutes). The hotel is a short walk from the Alonso Martínez metro stop. You could also take a taxi or arrange a transfer in advance.

By Train:
The city’s main rail terminal, Atocha, is a short metro ride from the hotel. It’s served by trains from across Spain.

By Car:
We don’t recommend hiring a car; Madrid is easily explored on foot and public transport. If you want to hire one to visit the surrounding area, see our car rental recommendations.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.com.

More on getting to Madrid and getting around

Airports:

  • Madrid Barajas 18.0 km MAD

Other:

  • Beach 300.0 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 1 independent review from i-escape guests

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

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