Patrick Stuart enjoys a stopover in the Spanish capital at Europe’s first Tapestry Collection hotel by Hilton
Covid restrictions have changed the way we travel, and those of us who have done our utmost to keep on travelling during these unusual times often find ourselves taking routes we would not normally consider. And this is how my wife and I recently found ourselves overnighting in Madrid.
We were flying out the next day to a long-haul destination that is not currently served out of Lisbon. Our normal solution would be to fly via London but, at the time, our final destination was still on Boris’s silly ‘red list’. And so, we decided to look at other European hubs and managed to get an excellent deal flying out of Madrid. And what’s more, when we travelled in September, Iberia Airlines was still operating their summer schedule flight between Faro and Madrid.
Alternatively, we could have travelled via Seville taking the fast train to Madrid, so for those living in the Algarve, Madrid is a very viable option for long-haul flights.
All this said, however, I have never needed an excuse to go to Madrid. It is a city I love and one that makes for a fabulous short-break destination in its own right. We were looking for a comfortable hotel, within walking distance of some of the main attractions to enjoy an evening and a morning ahead of our afternoon flight the following day.
When looking for a hotel these days, my first stop is usually to check out the Hilton website. For anyone who travels regularly on business, it makes a great deal of sense to concentrate bookings on one of the major hotel chains and reap the rewards of their loyalty programme. But in the past, large groups such as Hilton, tended to focus their city portfolios on large corporate-style hotels, not what we would usually be looking for when travelling for leisure.
Recent years, however, have seen some of the global hotel groups diversify into interesting niches and Hilton seems to be leading the way. Last year in Portugal, we saw the first of Hilton’s Curio Collection hotels in this part of the world open in Porto and this year saw the European debut of the all-new Tapestry Collection in Madrid. Similar in some ways to the Curio Collection, Hilton’s Tapestry hotels are all about individuality.
Although managed as part of a major global hotel group, the experience of staying in these hotels is akin to staying in a privately-owned-and-managed hotel, the main difference being that you can rely on staples such as high-quality bedding and well-trained staff.
This hotel is named Atocha, after the main train station of the same name nearby and Avenida Atocha where it is located. The address makes for an excellent base in the centre of the city, just a short walk from the likes of the Prado Museum but very handy if arriving by train and in a neighbourhood packed with good shops and restaurants.
This is a small and cosy hotel with just 46 rooms and an interior decor project that combines warm woodwork with wicker, glass and wrought iron in keeping with the traditions of the area but with a contemporary twist. The result is understated elegance and a focus on simple comforts in line with the ethos of Hilton’s Tapestry brand, which is to capture the essence of a location and literally “weave” guests into it.
We arrived late afternoon after our short flight from Faro and had planned to venture out and enjoy some local cuisine, but the menu of the hotel’s restaurant caught my eye and, after a warm reception on check-in, we decided to eat in. And this was a decision we did not regret as the food was outstanding as well as excellent value for money for a five-course tasting menu of authentic Spanish cuisine.
Also worthy of note is the small but well-chosen wine list with prices that are refreshingly low by hotel standards. For us, this small hotel ticked all of our boxes and when we left the next day, well rested and ready for a long trip ahead, we vowed to return.
Atocha Hotel Madrid, Tapestry Collection by Hilton
Calle Atocha 107
Tel: +34 911 080 660
Double rooms from around €160