Hotel Highlights

  • Prime location, on leafy Paseo de la Castellana
  • One of Madrid’s best Cantonese restaurants inside the hotel
  • Palatial bedrooms, sleek marble bathrooms

Overview

Centre-city and unapologetically luxurious, Madrid's Villa Magna hotel is all opulence and over-the-top with two restaurants, a spa and outdoor lounge space. With ancient palaces for neighbours and a former life as glamorous apartments for aristocrats in the Seventies, this city retreat – where 150 rooms contain bold art and striking antiques – has an air of exclusivity dating back decades.

Smith Extra

Here's what you get for booking Villa Magna with us:

A bottle of cava; members booking suites will also get a cocktail each and tapas in the Magnum Bar

Facilities

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Villa Magna hotel - Madrid - Spain

Need To Know

Rooms

150, including 30 suites.

Check–out

12 noon, but flexible, subject to availability (and possibly a charge, depending on the time of departure). Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Rates

Double rooms from $401.96 (€291), excluding tax at 10 per cent.

More details

Rates exclude breakfast (€40 each).

Also

Make your way to the first floor for El Club's treatments; don swimwear for the sauna. The menu offers up some ambitious treatments: we’re booking ‘Bright eyes’, ‘Perfect body’ and ‘Age smart’, for starters. Make sure you’re back in your room by 6pm sharp, though, when a knock at the door will herald the delivery of your daily treat: a platter of home-made nibbles – macaroons, jamon Iberico with Manchego, canapés, a fruit plate piled high, and other temptations that merit a glass of cava.

At the hotel

Spa, gym, gardens, hairdressers, business centre and a beauty salon. In rooms: flatscreen TV, CD/DVD player, Asprey bath products and minibar. In-room treatments available.

Our favourite rooms

The higher the room, the better the view. All Magna rooms survey Serrano Street, so you can pick out what you want from the window of El Corte Ingles (Madrid’s answer to Selfridges) by night, and buy them by morning. It’s worth spending a little extra for a Prestige room, which comes with more space to kick around in, an elegant sitting area, and a bathroom with both tub and rain shower. If you’re in the mood to really splash some cash, opt for either the Executive Suite (best if you’ve kids in tow – the separate sitting area can be used as a second bedroom), or the Real Suite if you’re feeling like Spanish royalty: a grand piano, kitchen, dining room with space for 12, fitness and wellness area, two bedrooms and bathrooms, and a vast terrace overlooking the city will all be yours to call home.

Packing tips

Bring every credit card you have at your disposal – this is shopping nirvana. (On the same theme, an empty case might come in handy.)

Also

Smokers can light up in the smoking rooms (let the hotel know in advance).

Children

Smith Junior is more than welcome. Cots are free, as are extra beds for under-12s (or €60 plus tax, for teens). Babysitting with a local nanny can be arranged for €25 an hour (plus €10 for the nanny’s travel costs); remember to give 24-hours’ notice.

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Weddings

This property is suitable for weddings

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Food & Drink

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Villa Magna hotel - Madrid - Spain

Hotel Restaurant

Weight-watchers will have a tough time here – there are two dazzling, calorie-bomb restaurants. The elegant grey-and-white Villa Magna Rodrigo de la Calle is the main affair, with lofty windows, black mirrors, soft lighting and white linen armchairs with gold trim. Centred on local, seasonal and often overlooked vegetables, the eponymous chef's gastrobotanic cuisine shines here in 13-course tasting menus. Fear not, carnivores: delicately cooked turbot and roasted lamb are on offer too, alongside inventive dishes such as roasted salsifies with a hazelnut stew and a flower-sprinkled chickweed and endive aguachile. Fans of Asian cuisine will love the second dining option: the Tse Yang restaurant. Red walls, antique furniture, hand-painted screens and lanterns provide the backdrop for some of Spain’s finest Cantonese food.

Hotel Bar

Sample pre-dinner cocktails at Magnum Bar: art deco styling, a walnut-coloured, wood-panelled bar, and seductively low lighting. Sip on vermut (vermouth), Madrid’s signature tipple, made from sweet white wine blended with herbs, flowers, fruit peel and seeds. On hot summer nights, a line of immaculately dressed locals snakes down the street: they’re queuing for Villa Magna’s terrace, keen to sit out sipping cocktails and delicately nibbling canapés.

Last orders

The restaurant serves dinner between 8pm and 11pm. Breakfast is 7am until 11am; lunch, 1.30pm until 4pm.

Room service

The 24-hour room service includes à la carte breakfast, available 6.30am until midday; a lunch and dinner menu of soups, salads, pasta, rice and meat mains until 11.30pm, and a range of light nibbles after that.

Smith Insider

Dress code

Sizzling hot: give the national heroes a sartorial salute by cladding your body in Balenciaga, your feet in Blahniks.

Top table

Ask for a table by the window, so you can admire Madrid’s most glamorous.

Local Guide

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Villa Magna hotel - Madrid - Spain
Eat, drink, see, do: local favourites and more…

Local restaurants

Sample memorable Peruvian fare at Astrid y Gaston (+34 91 702 6262; www.astridygastonmadrid.com) at 13 paseo de la Castellana. Pick from a traditional or fusion menu, and remember to dress up: the dining room is as stylish as the dishes. Oter Epicure (+34 91 431 6770) is an excellent tapas bar/restaurant at 71 claudio Coello. The food is delicious, especially the seafood: langoustine by the kilo, vivid crayfish, plump prawns – alongside great meat dishes, too. It’s equally suited to evening feasts or mid-afternoon beer-plus-tapas pit-stops. Casino de Madrid (+34 91 521 8700; www.casinodemadrid.es) at 15 calle Alcala has El Bulli’s chef, Ferran Adria, at its helm. Dishes are experimental, and the dining room is effortlessly elegant. This is a special occasion restaurant – be sure to book. Nibble on Catalan-style tapas (tortilla, albondigas, pimientos de padron) at Jose Luis (+34 91 563 0958; www.joseluis.es), on 89 calle Serrano. Again, booking is essential: this is the locals’ old-school favourite.

Local bars

Join the beautiful people flocking to Gabana 1800 (+34 91 575 1846; www.gabana.es) at 6 Calle de Velázquez, a club where everyone is either a footballer/film star or doing a fair impression of one.

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High-end Salamanca

Villa Magna

Paseo de la Castellana 22, Madrid, 28046

Planes

The nearest airport is Madrid Barajas, 10km from the hotel. There’s a frequent metro service from the airport to the city centre (line 8, from terminal two), and buses run every 10 minutes to Plaza de Colon. Both buses and trains cost around €2 for a single journey.

Trains

The hotel is around 2km from the nearest train station, Madrid Atocha, which is serviced by Renfe (www.renfe.es), and has easy high-speed links to Barcelona and Seville.

Automobiles

The best way to explore the narrow streets of central Madrid is by foot, or on the excellent bus and metro services. It costs less than €7 for a 10-trip Metrobus ticket, and taxis are reasonably priced, too. If you do decide to bring a car, the hotel has guest parking (€36 a day).

Reviews

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Villa Magna hotel - Madrid - Spain

Anonymous review

by Marina O'Loughlin , Clandestine critic

The building’s bold architecture comes as a jolt of surprise. I usually like to stay in the old parts of any city – especially in Spain – where narrow alleyways wind round to exciting little bars and boutiques. Driving up the wide, tree-lined avenue of Paseo de la Castellana, past the dancing fountains on the hotel’s driveway isn’t giving me the same sense of insid...

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Villa Magna

Anonymous review by Marina O'Loughlin, Clandestine critic

The building’s bold architecture comes as a jolt of surprise. I usually like to stay in the old parts of any city – especially in Spain – where narrow alleyways wind round to exciting little bars and boutiques. Driving up the wide, tree-lined avenue of Paseo de la Castellana, past the dancing fountains on the hotel’s driveway isn’t giving me the same sense of insider buzz I usually seek out (although of course, any city’s old town is usually the most tourist-infested quarter). Mr Smith, however, is thrilled – he knows that blocky, 70s’ buildings usually mean large, comfortable rooms. He’s right, of course.

We’ve just cast our eyes over the cool, marble and wood-lined reception, with its sapphire velvet sofas and impressive contemporary art when I discover the first of this iconic address’s little secrets: its back entrance leads straight to the doors of a particularly swish outpost of El Corte Ingles, Spain’s best-loved department store. Directly into the shoe and bag department. My pulses race: it’s so true that first impressions only ever tell a fraction of the story.

The more we unpick our location, the better we like it. At the front entrance of that Corte Ingles is Calle Serrano, effectively Madrid’s version of New Bond St. We’re in Salamanca – where the city’s wealthy live and play – and the wide streets are paved with everything from Armani to Zara. (Basically, there is every designer name you’ve ever heard of, plus a few more besides.) The district was built in the 1860s, specifically for the nobility – and the sense of exclusivity remains. Minutes up the road is the ABC Serrano shopping mall, three storeys of high fashion under one roof. It’s fair to say that Mr Smith’s eyes look a trifle glazed-over at this point.

Fortunately, across the Paseo in the other direction is flamboyant Chueca, lively, gay-friendly, and throbbing with cool little bars by night and niche boutiques (especially shoe shops; yes, shoes again) by day. It’s rammed with excellent restaurants: we love chic Tomate, just a stagger from the hotel’s front door, where sophisticated young Madrileños come to eat delicious little dishes from a fragrant smoke-belching wood-fired oven.

Villa Magna’s restaurants are pretty impressive too: we have a wonderfully lavish, formally served breakfast in the Restaurant Villa Magna, their Mediterranean eatery by night, but a sense of perversity leads us to book the hotel’s other culinary draw for dinner: Tse Yang, renowned as one of the best Chinese restaurants food in the city. This is the full atmospheric swank, elaborately filmic with its carved mahogany screens, glittering porcelain and celadon, and servers in embroidered silk.

There’s something slightly comical about what turns out to be beautifully rendered versions of takeaway favourites (filete de buey Szetchuan is a ringer for crispy shredded beef; pollo kon pao bears a striking resemblance to sweet ’n’ sour chicken), every spoonful silver-served by super-attentive staff, complete with cloches and trolleys. But it’s beautifully done, with first-class ingredients; little wonder Villa Magna is very much a Saturday night destination for Madrid’s movers and shakers. Our fellow diners drip with designer labels and the kind of jewellery you rarely see outside safety deposit boxes.

Vodkatinis in the courtyard outside Tse Yang lead to more cocktails in the clubby Magnum Bar and finally this segues to alfresco tipples on the plant-fringed terrace of the hotel’s Lounge. How did it get to be one in the morning? Never have I been so glad to see our calming, cream and taupe room with its vast, slippery-fresh-sheeted bed. Somebody has kindly furnished us with a milky white orchid, some herb tea and weeny macaroons. The large, marble-tiled bathrooms offer every bit as much of a retreat: huge, soft towels, Penhaligon’s toiletries, rain showers.

The rooms are even scented with fragrance designed especially for the hotel. We sink onto the bed in our oversized, fluffy robes and flick on the mirror-technology flatscreen TV, giggling like teenagers. Only the fiendishly complicated lighting system detracts a little from our buzz, but I’m happy to blame that on the vodkatinis.

A mere sweep down the Avenida and we find the world-famous Prado Museum with its haunting ‘black’ Goyas, and the edgier Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía. Here in the modern-art museum, we spend far too long behaving like children, swooping up and down the glass elevators stealing a gawp-worthy view over Madrid.

But after long, hot days spent necking cavas in tapas bars or boggling at the wealth of art in the Spanish capital, it’s never anything less than a pleasure to relax back into Villa Magna’s understated, service-led luxury. According to the charming manager, during the recent 17-month, €50 million refurb, all staff were kept on the payroll and allowed to take language classes or retrain in ways that would be of benefit to the guests. That’s what I call taking the long-sighted view.

What wows you about Villa Magna won’t be its cutting-edge supercool or eye-popping fashion-forward design. But initial impressions of Spanish sobriety are tempered by a soothing levity – friendly barmen, quirky modern art, wonderful, 60s’ stained glass on the staircase that leads down to the Club Wellness spa. If it’s good enough for Madonna and Angelina Jolie when they visit Madrid (although unlike us mere mortals, they’re on the top-floor suites, with their panoramic terraces), this blue-blooded charmer suits these Smiths just fine.

The Guestbook

Reviews of Villa Magna from Smith members

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