Xenia Taliotis checks into an an airily cosmopolitan Spanish hotel
Only ME. Oh go on then, also perfect for Only You, and you, and you, and for anyone and everyone who's partial to a top stay in a wonderful, sophisticated hotel with great food and service in one of Europe's most stylish cities.
Price: From $170 for two guests on a room-only basis.
Location: In Atocha, central Madrid, and across the road from the city's largest train station, Puerta de Atocha, where buses and trains from the airport stop. There are also services to and from Barcelona, Cordoba, Valencia, Malaga and Seville.
What's in the neighbourhood? Only some of the best galleries and museums in the world. A gentle stroll will take you to the spectacular Reina Sofia, which is packed with works by Dali, Gris, Miro and Picasso — including his Guernica — the Prado, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, with more than 1600 works of art and the National Archaeological Museum. The enormous 17th-century Retiro Park, with its beautiful Glass Palace is just five minutes' away, while a 20-minute walk will take you to the tapas bars, restaurants and cafes of the Lavapies and Huertas districts.
Check-in experience: Flawless. Travel-bedraggled arrivals are given a glass of pink fizz while they wait to collect their keys. And there's plenty more cava where that came from, since bottles of the stuff are kept chilling on ice on the 24-hour, complimentary, hospitality tray, which also has jars filled with marshmallows, liquorice laces and home made pastries.
How big is the place? 205 rooms in all — 114 deluxe, 78 premium, 12 junior suites and one incredible uber suite, which has a separate lounge and a fully furnished solarium roof terrace.
What's so special?
Everything. Location aside, there are almost as many pleasures to be had inside the hotel as there are outside. Multi-award-winning designer Lazaro Rosa-Violan, responsible for every glamorous, sexy inch and stitch of Only You, has turned this former neoclassical townhouse into an airily cosmopolitan space with a clubby vibe that attracts locals as well as overseas visitors. When I arrive, jazz is playing and beautiful people are milling around, grabbing coffees from the Mama Framboise bakery, exchanging glances over cocktails, sharing tapas, in a beautifully lit setting with exposed brickwork and mid-century furniture.
Wine and dine: The Trotamundos Restaurant on the ground floor promises "a journey from Latin America to Asia and passing through Spain", and chef Javi Mora delivers with a superb twist on international favourites such as teriyaki chicken wings, Thai mussels, falafel burger with guacamole, roasted tomato and yoghurt dip, and ribs with sweet potato and cinnamon. Breakfast, in the seven-floor YOUniverse is as spectacular as the views from its terrace. Here you'll have a feast of cured meats, cheeses, fruit, yoghurts, granola and pastries and anything you fancy from the cooked selection.
Room: I was in a junior suite, but you won't feel cheated if you opt for a deluxe or premium since all rooms have a luxurious rain shower, gorgeous organic toiletries, snuggly towels and dressing gowns, a king-size bed, a choice of pillows, an illuminated dressing table, a selection of teas, and contemporary art work.
Pillow talk: Only while discussing which pillows to use. After that, it was blissful sleep on a 31cm mattress, tucked up in linen as crisp and fresh as a spring day.
Noise: All rooms are soundproofed so you won't be disturbed — unless you share your bed with a snorer!
Exercise: The gym has all the equipment you need, but if you need a helping hand book a session with Capitan Emo, the hotel's personal trainer.
Only YOU Hotel Atocha is at Paseo Infanta Isabel 13, Madrid, Spain. Phone: +34 914 097 876.