Travel Reports

Bed Matters - ME Madrid

ME Melia, Madrid

Where? Located on the pretty Plaza Santa Ana the ME Madrid is just minutes from the Prado, Puerta del Sol and - most importantly - Madrid’s abundance of first-class bars and restaurants. But if you can’t be bothered to go out the Penthouse rooftop bar provides stunning panoramic views across the capital.

What’s Special? Apart from the Penthouse, it’s the first hotel in the ME by Meliá brand, aiming to bring an exceptional, personalised (“it’s all about you”) concierge service to every guest. Each room phone has an Everything is Possible button and the Experience Manager is on hand to attend to your every need.

Every Need? As long as it’s legal and decent. Even the undemanding will enjoy the iPod connection, 32-inch plasma TV and feather top bedding in every room.

Sounds swish. Actually the design is more understated contemporary with a youthful decadence. Dark hardwood floors, acid-toned mini-bar cabinets and shower towers make it sleek and chic.

So who goes there? Celebrities from the pages of Hola! flocked to the opening night party. Almodovar filmed scenes of Hable con Ella in the hotel’s Bar Taurino back in 2002. And Ava Gardner used to stay here when she was in Madrid.

So it has history? I’ll say! It used to be called the Gran Hotel Reina Victoria but lost its royal title when Franco came to power, regaining it in 1989 as the Hotel Tryp Reina Victoria. Spanish bullfighters made it their spiritual home (and naturally Hemingway followed). The most famous of them all, Manolete, always stayed in room 406.

Is that the room to bag? No! Book The Tower for 360° views and a complimentary bottle of champagne.

Anything worth nicking? We couldn’t possibly condone such behaviour, but if you sweep a bottle of their sublime Aveda toiletries into your manbag we’re sure no-one would notice. Oh, and ask the concierge where you can buy one of those Martini mini-bars. They’re pure genius.

Anything to avoid? Going to Madrid if you are feeling a little fragile. This city knows how to party and peace and quiet is just not on the agenda. And trying to eat dinner before 10pm. It’s not happening…

Why go now? Because the ME will get lots of publicity when the movie Manolete premieres at Cannes and because Madrid will host Europride in July. It’s likely to get very booked-up in advance.

We want to go out. Well, you are in good company. Madrid’s streets rock all through the night. Our top tips for eating-out include Casa Ciriaco (84, Calle Mayor), which continues the bullfighting theme; and Vinos 11 (11, Calle Calatrava) – a little less bloody, but no less atmospheric. For the ever-changing gay scene nip across the Gran Via and wander round the streets of Cheuca. The trick is to find the crowd, then follow them as they bar-hop their way through ‘til dawn.

ME Melia - Plaza Santa Ana, 14. T: 0800 96 2720 / +34 91 7016000.

Andrew Copestake

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