Urso Hotel and Spa is a five-pearl boutique hotel set in a Neoclassical palace in Madrid’s tony Justicia neighborhood. The hotel’s surrounded by restaurants, bars, and shops -- plus the Museo Nacional del Romanticismo is a two-minute walk. The 78 luxe rooms have gray color tones and high ceilings framed by oversize crown molding. Expect one king or two twin beds with tartan-patterned headboards, leather-topped desks, top-shelf minibars, flat-screen TVs, and Juliet balconies (there’s not much of a view though). Hotel amenities include a small gym, a spa with a pool and steam room, a bar, and two restaurants including a breakfast eatery with an a-frame glass roof. As a super stylish and bold alternative, check out the lower rates and levitating beds at the five-pearl Hotel Silken Puerta America.
Modern hotel that blends ornate Neoclassical and contemporary elements and furniture
Urso Hotel opened in 2004 and is situated in a restored Neoclassical palace designed by the Spanish architect Jose Maria Mendoza Ussia. In its former life, the five-story building served as a corporate headquarters and a lawyer’s office before becoming a swish hotel. Many remnants of its original grandeur, including gorgeous stained-glass windows, ornate wall moldings, and a 1930s-era elevator with beautiful wrought-iron doors, were incorporated into the hotel’s current decor. Urso’s lobby blends contemporary and classic elements like exposed white beams, distressed leather Chesterfield couches, gray checker-patterned armchairs, and modern arched floor lamps with long, chrome necks. Other hotel spaces are equally well designed but we especially loved The Conservatory, the naturally-lit breakfast restaurant with a high glass a-frame ceiling, 18th century painted wallpaper, and fabulous natural light. The hotel attracts an international clientele of all ages (including families, although we saw mostly couples) and its common to see guests relaxing and smartly-dressed businessmen chatting away in the lobby.
Central Madrid location near restaurants, bars, markets, museums, and gorgeous former royal park
Urso Hotel is located in Madrid’s posh Justicia neighborhood that's full of restaurants and bars in stunning Neoclassical buildings. Tribunal, the nearest metro stop, is a three-minute walk from the hotel. Across the street is a multistory municipal market with vendors selling everything from food to housewares. Next to the pharmacy are cafes, multiple restaurants, and a barbershop full of heavily tattooed (but smartly dressed) clientele. Set in an 18th century mansion with exhibits of romantic-period furniture and art, the Museo Nacional del Romanticismo is a two-minute walk from Urso. The city’s history museum, the Museum of of History of Madrid, is a four-minute walk from the hotel. There’s also a first-run movie theater a nine-minute walk from the property. Serrano, one of the city’s many shopping areas, is a 10-minute metro ride or 15-minute stroll from away.
The sprawling Parque de El Retiro (a former private garden for Spanish royalty) is full of manicured gardens, fountains, and an outpost of the Reina Sofia museum -- and an 18-minute walk (or 28-minute Metro ride) from Urso. Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, with its collection of 20th century modern art is a 19-minute Metro ride or 32-minute walk away. Museo Nacional del Prado, the city’s famed art museum, is a 21-minute walk or 24-minute Metro trip away. Madrid Atocha Railway Station is a 14-minute taxi ride or 16-minute metro trip. Madrid-Barajas Adolfo Suarez Airport is a 20-minute drive or 33-minute subway ride from Urso Hotel and Spa.
Posh rooms with high ceilings, leather-topped desks, minibars, and white marble bathrooms
Urso Hotel’s guest rooms are bright and luxe with gray walls and high ceilings framed by oversize crown molding. The floors are also notable with their richly stained wood and white marble accents. Expect king beds with tartan gray, white, and mustard yellow plush headboards, chrome wall-mounted bedside lamps, and separate goose-neck reading lamps. Leather-topped desks are a swish addition and situated below big flat-screen TVs with cable channels. Junior Suites upgrade to more floor space and a large chair with an ottoman. All rooms have upholstered luggage stands and two plush gray armchairs topped with plaid throw pillows. All rooms feature Nespresso coffeemakers with free coffee pods (refreshed daily), flat-screen TVs, air-conditioning, shoe brushes, shoe horns, safes, and minibars stocked with soda, snacks, water, wine, and beer. Wi-Fi is free.
The marble bathrooms are a bit small but gorgeous. Expect white marble walls, gray marble floors and vanities, soaking tubs, and separate stand-up showers with rainfall shower heads. They're also stocked with integrated sound systems, magnifying mirrors, hairdryers, robes, slippers, and heated towel drying racks. Toiletries include The Lab Room bar soap, lotion, shower gel, shower caps, and shoe mitts, but surprisingly -- no conditioner. Juliet balconies are a Madrid-esque feature but most don’t have views beyond the buildings across the street.
Two restaurants, spa with small pool and steam room, gym, and valet parking
Urso Hotel has an impressive list of features for an urban hotel that could easily rely on the surrounding neighborhood instead of providing conveniences. The hotel has two restaurants including a fine-dining tapas eatery and a breakfast spot. Media Reaction serves Spanish tapas for lunch and dinner, but often seems to be closed (it was closed during our visit and we heard many similar traveler reports). The Conservatory is the hotel’s bright breakfast restaurant with an a-frame style glass ceiling, living walls, and gorgeous light. Urso Bar has a classy, wood-paneled decor and serves snacks and cocktails throughout the day (and at night). Room service is available 24-hours a day. In the basement, Urso Spa has a small pool, Turkish hammam steam room, and offers services like massages, facials, and body scrubs.The small mirror-walled gym is open 24-hours (definitely a plus) and stocked with TechnoGym treadmills, an elliptical machine, a stationary bicycle, and a Kinesis machine. Also expect dumbbells and Bosu balls. The hotel staff can arrange airport transfers, taxis, babysitters, and make dinner reservations. There's a fee for valet parking, and it's not much more expensive than the public lot a block away. Other amenities include meeting rooms, laundry service, and fast and free Wi-Fi throughout.