Urban – Papua New Guinean exotica meets five-star comfort in the heart of Madrid.
A centrally-located chrome-and-glass cube full of Papua New Guinean artifacts, Hotel Urban is the most interesting five-star hotel in town. The design is Art Deco meets anthropological collection, with wooden ancestral figures and carved pillars from spirit houses standing in the glass-roofed lobby courtyard. The sparsely-furnished rooms are a study in stylish urban sophistication, all neutral colors, livened up with carvings and prints from the far corners of the globe, and with bathrooms clad in green Guatemalan mosaic marble. Apart from the superb rooftop pool, compact gym, and sauna, the hotel has a museum in the basement showcasing more Papua New Guinean treasures – a must for anthropologically-inclined guests. The on-site Michelin-starred Cebo Restaurant serves creative Mediterranean dishes, while the semi-subterranean Glass Mar is all about cocktails and seafood. The multilingual service is informal and attentive, and the location is perfect for sightseeing and nights out on the town.
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Urban – Location
- Address: Carrera de S. Jerónimo, 34.
- Nearest Metro/Subway: Sevilla, on red line #2, is a 3-minute walk away. Sol, 5 minutes’ walk away and located at the intersection of metro lines #1, #2, and #3, is a much more useful metro hub with connections to most parts of the city.
- Area: Super-central location on a fairly busy street, right by the ‘golden triangle’ of Madrid’s world-class art museums: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Museo el Prado, and Reina Sofia are all within a 3 to 10-minute walk. Plaza del Sol, the geographical center of Madrid, is a 5-minute stroll, with the Plaza Mayor a couple of minutes’ further away. The hotel is also ideally situated in Huertas, with numerous bars and restaurants dotted about the nearby Plaza Santa Ana. A 5-minute walk north, across the busy Carretera de Alcalá, are the bars and independent boutiques of Chueca, another neighborhood renowned for its nightlife. Great public transport connections from the nearby Sol metro stop to attractions further out, plus the Atocha and Chamartín train stations.
- How to Get There: From Madrid Barajas International Airport, it takes around 35 minutes on the metro, changing lines at Nuevos Ministerios from #8 to #6 and again at Cuatro Caminos from #6 to #2; to get to Sol, take red line #2 in the direction of Las Rosas. From the Atocha train station (with connections to most major Spanish cities), it’s a 4-stop ride to Sol (10 minutes) on line #1 in the direction of Pinar de Chamartín. Some intercity trains arrive at the Chamartín station in north Madrid; from there it’s a 12-stop ride (25 minutes) on the metro to Sol on line #1. Alternatively, to avoid changing metro lines, at the airport, hop on the Exprés Aeropuerto (€5) bus that goes to Atocha train station, and ride metro line #1 from there. Can also go directly to the hotel via the AeroCity minibus (€18) or a taxi (around €30).
- Private Transfer: We use and recommend Welcome Pickups car service. Booking through a private car service will cost only a bit more than a taxi – about €35 from Madrid Barajas International Airport – but can be worth it to avoid the long taxi queue and for the convenience of paying ahead.
- Handy to: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Museo del Prado, Plaza Mayor.
Urban – The Basics
- Ages: Guests tend to be an international crowd, largely couples on a city/romantic break, and the hotel has an adult feel to it. Families with children are welcome, but there are few facilities for them.
- View: The Superior Rooms facing the exterior overlook either the Carrera de San Jerónimo or Calle Ventura Vega, while the interior rooms look out over the Cebo restaurant courtyard. Junior Suites face the quiet courtyard, while all Junior Duplex Suites and the Loft Suites have street views. Suites overlook either the hotel atrium or the Carrera de San Jerónimo.
- Private Pools/Jacuzzis: All suites come with jacuzzis.
- Laundry: Laundry service available, as well as dry-cleaning (extra charge).
- Parking: Private parking on-site costs €27 per day (reservation required).
- Extras: Dedicated concierge service and 24-hour reception; airport transfer available (extra charge), as well as private limos; turndown service; multilingual staff. Special packages can be booked direct. Basement museum displaying artifacts from Papua New Guinea.
- When to Book: Book 2-3 months in advance for the March-June, September-October, Easter, and Christmas/New Year periods. Last minute bookings sometimes available.
- How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
- Phone: +34 917 87 77 70
- Email: [email protected]
- Website: hotelurban.com
Urban – Amenities
- Pool: There’s a small rooftop swimming pool. Open only during summer months.
- Spa: No spa.
- Fitness Center: There’s a compact fitness center with Keiser machines and attached steam room. Open 7am-10pm.
- For Disabled Guests: Two specially adapted rooms, and much of the hotel (apart from the roof terrace and pool) is wheelchair accessible.
- For Families: Cots available on request; babysitting services can be arranged at extra cost. No extra beds, but there are some interconnecting rooms. Children’s networks available on TV.
- Activities: Guided tour of the hotel’s private museum of Papua New Guinean relics available on request.
Urban – Food and Drink
- Restaurants: CEBO – Atmospheric, Michelin-starred restaurant that combines Mediterranean influences with cuisine from Madrid and Catalonia. A la carte and tasting menus available; beautiful, memorable dishes, one for a special occasion. Romantic ambiance. Reservations a must. Open Tues-Sat 1:30-3pm & 8.30-10pm. $$$-$$$$. • Glass Mar – This ocean-themed space is a cocktail bar/bistro with live music (Friday & Saturday from 10.30pm) that serves casual, seafood-based dishes and tapas meant for sharing, as well as unique chocolate croquettes. Meals daily 1:30pm-4pm & 8-10.30pm; open for drinks from noon to 1am. $-$$.
- Lounge/Bars: Urban Terrace – Instagram-worthy terrace bar, open only during the summer months and serving cocktails and wine. Possible to book a VIP area between 4-9pm or 9pm-2am. • Hidden Wine Cellar – Stellar wine cellar offering 2 wine tastings per month, on Sundays at 5pm. Book ahead.
- Breakfast: Not complimentary. The breakfast spread costs €29 per person and includes a small buffet of artisanal cheeses and breads, Iberico ham, high-quality yogurt and fruit. Omelets, eggs Benedict, blinis with smoked salmon, and other hot dishes cooked to order. Served 8-11am in the Cebo dining room.
- Room Service: 24-hour room service is available.
Urban – Rooms
- Room Types: Superior Room • Junior Suite • Junior Duplex Suite • Suite • Loft Suite • List of all Rooms
- Smoking Rooms: Hotel Urban is 100% smoke-free.
- Best Room: The Loft Suite is one of the most spacious rooms, with the sleeping area on the lower floor and the lounge above it. Its most striking feature is the 4m-high window that bathes the room in plenty of natural light. Besides that, it shares features with other rooms: king-sized bed, museum-worthy artifacts from Papua New Guinea and the Far East, bathroom clad in green Guatemalan marble with rain shower, and White Company toiletries.
- For Families: Three of the suites connect to superior rooms, so families of four can be accommodated.
Urban – Local Transport
- Walking: Central Madrid is surprisingly compact and walkable, and wandering both the tiny medieval lanes of the historical center and the wide Paseo del Prado boulevard is great fun. One can easily reach most main sights on foot from the hotel: Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, Museo del Prado, Plaza Mayor, Parque del Buen Retiro are less than 10 minutes away. The cathedral and the Palacio Real are both walkable, a brisk 15 minutes on foot.
- Metro: For sights further out of the city center, consider taking the metro. Take red line #2 from Sevilla to Retiro for quicker access to the Parque del Retiro. Take light blue line #1 from Sol for 1 stop to Gran Vía for quicker access to Malasaña and its independent shops, cafes, and nightlife, or change lines at Gran Vía for green line #5 and ride 1 more stop to Chueca for its bars and hipster boutiques. From Sol, the metro is also handy for getting to Madrid’s 2 main train stations, Atocha and Chamartín, and reasonably convenient for getting to the airport (though lines need to be changed twice).
- Taxis, Uber: A taxi from the airport is a flat fare of €30; Uber costs €15-29, depending on type of vehicle. Using taxis to get around central Madrid is unnecessary due to the ease and convenience of walking/metro, but if required, daytime flag fall is €2.50 with around €1.10 per km. Uber X minimum fare is €5.50.
Urban – What’s Nearby?
Recommended Nearby Tours
- Free Walking Tours Madrid – Colin and Ian run excellent free walking tours of historic Madrid, as well as organize day excurions to Toledo and specialized tapas tours of the capital. For the free tour, meet at Plaza de Callao at 11am on Fridays or 3.30pm on Saturdays.
- Devour Madrid – These guys specialize in intimate, small-group food tours of Madrid, from the super-popular Gourmet Tapas and Wine Tasting to the more off-the-beaten track Huertas Neighborhood and Market tour. Private tours for families arranged, with kid-friendly snacks and activities. Departure point: Plaza Mayor.
- Bravobike – Small group cycling tours of the city, ranging from 2 hours to whole-day tours. This outfit also arranges cycling day tours of Segovia, Toledo, El Escorial, and Ávila – all great day trips from Madrid. The Parks Tour is particularly suitable for families with kids. Tours depart from the cycle shop near Plaza de España.
- Spanish Tapas Madrid – Going strong for almost a decade, this family-run outfit takes guests on fun bar crawls of Madrid’s classic tapas bars. Flamenco tours and tours of the Prado museum also arranged. Departure points vary.
- Madrid City Tour – Hop-on, hop-off bus tours with multilingual audio guides. They run along 2 routes: one covers the main attractions of historical Madrid, while the other focuses on modern Madrid. The closest departure point for historical Madrid is Circulo de Bellas Artes; for modern Madrid – Plaza del las Cortes.
- Wellington Society – Offbeat historical walking tours of Madrid, from Hemingway tours to tours focusing on off-the-beaten-track sights. Historian Stephen Drake-Jones also arranges historical tours of Segovia and Toledo. Departure points vary.
Best Nearby Restaurants
- La Cabaña Argentina – Arguably Madrid’s best Argentinian steakhouse is all exposed brick walls and black and white photos of vintage Buenos Aires, with a meat-heavy, succinct menu of ribeye, sirloin, filet mignon, flank, and skirt steak cuts. The extensive wine list focuses mostly on Argentinian and Spanish wines. Equally popular for dates and family meals.
- El Inti de Oro – One of the best Peruvian restaurants in Madrid, serving authentic Peruvian standards such as ají de gallina (chicken in a spicy yellow sauce), anticuchos de corazón (beef heart skewers), and arróz con mariscos (seafood-fried rice). Inexpensive, casual, big portions.
- Restaurante Vegeteriano Artemisa Sol – This branch of the vegetarian mini-chain of restaurants is particularly popular for its salads and hearty standards such as eggplant moussaka. A gathering spot for office workers at lunchtime.
- Arrocería Marina Ventura – This nautically-themed rice restaurant is one of the best places in the city for paella, arroz con bogavante (soupy lobster rice), arroz negro (sepia rice with cuttlefish), and other classics from Valencia and the Balearics. Each dish is a 2-person minimum. Casual, popular with families.
- Sidrería Vasca Zeraín – A step up from the capital’s many Basque tapas bars, this refined place is where to take a date for a memorable meal of steak, bacalao (salted cod), homemade cider poured from on high, and much more. Intimate and romanic.
- Vietnam – Arguably Madrid’s best Vietnamese restaurant, serving authentic pho, delicate summer rolls, stir-fried dishes, and more. Inexpensive, particularly busy at lunchtime.
- Casa Alberto – A local institution, this characterful taberna has been around since 1827 and has decor to match. Locals suggest ordering the croquettes and the tender, melting-off-the-bone rabo de toro (oxtail), and washing it down with the vermouth on tap.
- Goiko Grill – While gourmet burgers are no longer a novelty in Madrid, this mini-chain continues to hold its own against competitors, thanks to its high-quality beef patties, toppings drawing on US and Spanish influences, and minimalist decor. Busy, young crowd. Worth booking ahead for weekend nights.
- La Sanabresa – In this cosmopolitan capital where cuisines span the world, this homey restaurant holds its own as a bastion of home cooking, rooted in Madrid’s deep culinary traditions. Food – such as slow-cooked leg of lamb – is simple, unpretentious, and filling. Popular with families.
- Sobrino del Botín – Founded as an inn in 1725, this is the world’s oldest continuously open restaurant. It’s renowned for 3 things: its old-world 18th-century decor, succulent roast meats, and literary connections (Hemingway, Graham Greene). The specialties are the roast suckling pig and lamb; dine in the atmospheric bodega (vaulted cellar) or in the opulent dining rooms.
Best Nearby Bars and Breweries
- Casa González – A hybrid vinoteca, cheese shop, and tapas bar, Casa Gonzáles has been a beloved local institution since 1931. It comes with a few marble tables on which one can enjoy a glass of wine, along with platters of charcuterie and conservas (tinned seafood).
- Cervecería Alemana – Hemingway used to prop up the bar at this atmospheric cervecería, serving a selection of German and Spanish beers along with classic tapas platters enlivened by the presence of bratwurst. Casual, busy, and great location on the Plaza Santa Ana.
- La Venencia – This temple to sherry has been around since 1922 and the decor hasn’t changed a great deal since Hemingway used to haunt this place. Find a space among the oak barrels and vintage bullfighting posters and let the bartenders initiate the world of amontillados, palo cortados, and finos.
- Salmón Gurú – The drinks at this flamboyant, over-the-top brainchild of Madrid’s top mixologist Diego Cabrera are as incredible as the decor. Expect elaborate, original cocktails with really unusual ingredients and a sensory assault in the form of neon, retro superhero prints and plenty of mirrors.
- Fogg Bar Birras & Cheese – Does cheese go with beer? Find out by heading to this buzzy beer bar run by a father-daughter team. There are plenty of locally brewed beers served alongside creative cheese-based tapas.
- Angelita Madrid – Some people come here for steak, but we like this slick place for its cocktails and its wine bar, with 500 or so tipples by the bottle and a couple dozen by the glass. Dress nicely.
- Viva Madrid – This 1850s taverna has been given a contemporary makeover and turned into one of Madrid’s best cocktail bars. The signature drink here since 1927 has been the media combinación (gin with vermouth and bitters), though the current version has been given a contemporary twist by superstar mixologist Diego Cabrera.
- Del Diego – This watering hole may be frequented by quite a few corporate suit types, but that’s only because they appreciate top-notch martinis, white Russians, and other classic cocktails, executed with aplomb and served at the polished wooden bar.
- Enbabia Infused – A neighborhood fixture for over 20 years, Enbabia is a buzzy cocktail bar that does classic cocktails really well, as well as original ones using infused craft spirits.
- Brew Wild – Combine some beer enthusiasts, a Sicilian chef, and a pared-down, exposed-brick-wall bar, and the result is something like this, where the signature beers are brewed on-site and complemented by the short and sweet menu of homemade pizzas.
Best Nearby Cafes
- Feliz Coffee – One of the best specialty coffee shops in Madrid: knowledgeable barista, carefully sourced single origin beans from around the world, cozy nooks to sit in, and a selection of handcrafted home decor items for sale.
- Chocolat Madrid – This retro café has grumpy waiters and a very short menu that features some of the city’s best chocolate con churros. Choose between traditional churros or the fatter and spongier porros and have them with hot chocolate, tea, or coffee.
- Chocolateria San Ginés – Just north of the Plaza Mayor, this locally beloved cafe has been serving churros con chocolate to madrileños for over a hundred years. It serves only drinking chocolate – so thick that the spoon almost stands up in it – accompanied by churros (tubular, deep-fried dough); best on weekdays, when the lines are shorter.
Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops
- Ojalá Madrid – Colorful, sophisticated streetwear for women by local designer Paloma del Pozo.
- The Corner – Casual streetwear for men and women by a variety of international designers such as Blue Hole and Scotch & Soda.
- Isolée – This concept and lifestyle store in Chueca sells everything from perfume and streetwear by various designers to home ornaments and cooking ingredients.
- Loewe – Come to the Gran Vía outpost of Spain’s luxury fashion house to browse the silk scarves, leather handbags, purses, shawls, and other accessories. There’s an on-site museum showcasing the brand’s history from 1890 onwards.
- Librería Desnivel – Bookstore that specializes in travel books, maps of Spain and beyond, and literature on mountaineering and rock climbing.
- Kamchatka Magic Toys – This great independent toy store specializes in eco-friendly toys for kids of all ages as well as books and kid-friendly home furnishings.
- Casa Hernanz – This alpargata (espadrille) workshop has been hand-making shoes for 5 generations. Buy a ready pair or have them made to order.
- El Arco Artesanía – Just off the Plaza Mayor, this great little store is all about homemade designer souvenirs, from jewelry and papier-mâché figures to home fittings. Ideal for unique gifts.
- FNAC – This 4-story megastore stocks an excellent range of English-language books as well as CDs in every genre, DVDs, and more.
- Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza – An extraordinary private collection of European art that forms part of Madrid’s “Golden Triangle” of art. While the Prado and the Reina Sofia galleries provide an in-depth look at the works of specific artists, Thyssen gives a chance to explore a huge array of artistic styles, including Thyssen’s forte, Impressionism. Look out for works by Constable, Van Gogh, Kandinsky, Dali, Chagall, Manet, Gauguin, Lucian Freud, and many more. Don’t miss paintings by El Greco and his Venetian contemporaries Titian and Tintoretto.
- Círculo de Bellas Artes – One of the most popular viewpoints in Madrid, this 1920s skyscraper near the Plaza de España has a 7th-floor roof terrace, crowned with an Art Deco statue of Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom. Pay to take the elevator up to the terrace, have drinks at the small rooftop café, and get a bird’s eye view of some of Madrid’s notable buildings, plus the Gran Vía, one of Madrid’s main shopping streets.
- Museo del Prado – With a collection spanning more than 7,000 priceless artworks, including entire rooms dedicated to masterpieces by European greats, the Prado is one of the world’s top art museums. Look out for the Black Paintings by Francisco de Goya, as well as works by other Spanish masters: Murillo, Velázquez, and El Greco. Don’t miss the Edificio Jerónimos with its excellent temporary exhibitions, or the beautiful 2nd-floor cloisters. Book tickets online to avoid waiting in line.
- Real Jardín Botánico – Just south of the Museo del Prado, this sculpted green space is a great spot to relax after visiting the nearby art galleries. There are over 30,000 species of plants in this 8-hectare space, including exotic trees from around the world, gathered by King Carlos III. Head to the Pabellón Villanueva, on the east side of the gardens to check out the frequently staged contemporary art exhibitions.
- Plaza Mayor – Madrid’s cobbled, pedestrianized main square was the stage for bullfights, royal processions, and the burning at the cross of heretics during the Inquisition in centuries past. Today, it’s a popular gathering spot, with cafes around the edges, attractive Baroque architecture, and a statue of Felipe III on horseback.
- Parque del Buen Retiro – Created in the 17th-century for King Felipe IV, this vast park just west of Madrid’s art museums is hugely popular with locals. Madrileños come here to read, go strolling or running past the landscaped lawns, play with their kids, go boating on the park’s larger lake (El Estangue), or sit in one of the numerous terrazas (open-air cafes) with a cold drink. On weekends, buskers, tarot readers, jugglers, and other street performers cluster along the walkways around the lake.
- Caixa Forum – One of Madrid’s most striking contemporary landmarks, this eye-catching 21st-century structure across the street from the Prado has a 4-story hanging garden and an exhibition hall, with 4 floors of stainless steel and soaring ceilings. World-class contemporary art, photography, and multimedia shows take place here on a changing basis 3 or 4 times per year.
- Palacio Real – Originally a 16th-century wooden fortress, Spain’s grand royal palace was rebuilt in a style similar to Versailles. Each subsequent king added their own touches – Italian interior decor, Spanish porcelain, French tapestries – and the end result is an imposing French-Italian Baroque palace filled with frescoes, tapestries, gold leaf, chandeliers, and porcelain, used primarily for state functions (the royal family lives elsewhere). The audioguides lead visitors through individually decorated rooms, including the Throne Room, Gala Dining Hall, and Armory.
- Centro de Arte Reina Sofia – Madrid’s top contemporary art gallery showcases cubism, surrealism, and other 20th-century art movements, as well as contemporary sculptures. The majority of works are by Spanish artists, with a particular emphasis on 20th-century greats such as Picasso, Salvador Dalí, Joán Miró, Antoni Tàpies, and Juan Gris. The star of the collection is Picasso’s Guernica, a monumental canvas that captures the horrors of war, with a room all to itself.
- Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Almudena – Madrid’s cathedral was only completed in 1992 and its cavernous, grey-and-white, neo-Gothic interior lacks the old-world grandeur of Spain’s medieval churches, though some visitors find it refreshingly modern. Interesting features include a contemporary and colorful ceiling, a splendid 15th-century altarpiece, and an enormous 5,000-pipe organ. In a chapel behind the altar is the 12th-century coffin of Madrid’s patron saint, San Isidro. The main highlight is the rooftop viewpoint with great views of the Royal Palace.
Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores
- Mercado de San Antón – This 3-story food market combines traditional produce stalls on the first floor with a stellar tapas and craft beer experience on the second floor. Head to the third floor for a panoramic rooftop view of Chueca.
- Mercado de San Miguel – A couple of blocks away from Plaza Mayor, this beautiful historic food market is a great place to stop for tapas. It’s very popular for several reasons: central location, varied selection of edible offerings at counter-bars, and gourmet shops for buying wine and chocolate.
Urban – The Hotel
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