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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

See the Modern Side of Madrid

Economic setbacks haven't slowed the pulse of the Spanish capital, where lively cafés, innovative culinary concepts, and arty boutiques are thriving.

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1. Where to Stay

There's a gallery in the lobby and crisp minimalism in the rooms at the Artrip hotel.  

Splurge on a sophisticated stay at the Only You Hotel & Lounge Madrid (from $222), located in the stylish, gay-friendly neighborhood of Chueca. Housed in a 19th century palace, the 70-room hotel feels plucked from some Grecian shore, with crisp white and deep blue color accents throughout, from the room walls to the original floor tiles from 1862. Treat yourself to room 416 (from $307), an airy, loft-style setup with exposed beams, an oversize vintage map of Madrid standing in for shower doors, and a spiral staircase leading to your sleeping quarters. If you can pry yourself out of your room, pop down to the hotel’s GastroBar, helmed by celebrated chef Carlos Martin, for refined Spanish tapas like crispy artichokes with Parmigiano Reggiano ($12.29), followed by a gin and tonic ($17.75, all the rage in Madrid right now) sipped alongside international jet setters among the navy-velvet-walled lounge, Salón Azul.

Immerse yourself in local art and design at the 17-room Artrip (from $111). The lobby itself functions as a gallery, featuring a bimonthly rotation of Madrid-focused works from emerging, young artists, juxtaposed with the hotel’s industrial-chic exposed brick and wood-paneled walls, concrete floors, and Roman columns. The minimalist rooms are equally aesthetically pleasing, with all-white décor punctuated with pops of color like purple pillows and thoughtful accents like fresh flowers, Lucky Bamboo plants, and fresh fruit. Opened in June 2012, the Artrip is the first hotel in the multiethnic neighborhood of Lavapiés, and only a short walk from the gallery-packed street Doctor Fourquet, which leads to the Prado, Thyssen, and Reina Sofía art museums.

Make like an intellectual expat at the new INNSIDE Madrid Suecia by Meliá (from $150). The 127-room hotel was built in the 1950s by the Swedish royal family and once played home to Ernest Hemingway, then reopened in December 2013 after a complete renovation. Spanish department store giant El Corte Inglés collaborated on the décor of the hotel, focusing on simple lines and a neutral color scheme with accents like cream-colored leather headboards and graphic blankets. Ask for an exterior-facing room on the seventh floor or higher to ensure a view of the Marqués de la Casa Riera gardens. Before heading out for the evening, invoke Hemingway’s spirit with a mojito ($13.65) on the two-floor rooftop terrace bar, where there’s a small dipping pool to cool your tired feet and panoramic views of the city.

Published on May 29, 2014 as a web exclusive.

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