If you want to elevate your trip to Spain, Madrid is an excellent city for luxury, five-star hotels with a unique history. Many of the best historic luxury hotels in Madrid are full of stories from the past and offer perks like elegant rooftop terraces, onsite gourmet restaurants, and full-service spas. We also love our picks because they're all walkable to nearly all the main sites, with many of them either on Gran Vía or just steps away from the city's famous boulevard.

Staying in Madrid

El Prado Museum in Madrid

As a city with diverse history, Madrid has a lot of glitz and glam associated with the Art Nouveau and Art Deco eras, including its construction of Gran Vía. This famous boulevard lined with grandiose buildings stretches through the city, connecting the Salamanca and Arguelles neighborhoods. But Madrid's luxurious past goes beyond Gran Vía and into the Literary Quarter, Malasaña, and Salamanca neighborhoods. These districts are where you'll find plenty of luxury and historical accommodations.

Since you'll find the best things to do in Madrid in the city's central core, choosing a historical luxury hotel in this area is a great way to easily explore the sites and return to your cushy quarters to rest your feet and feel like you've stepped back in time. Visit attractions like Plaza Mayor, Retiro Park, Puerta del Sol, and the Royal Palace, then spend time back at your hotel for gourmet dinners, pampering at the spa, and relaxing on the rooftop.

The Principal Madrid

Dine next to the iconic Metrópolis building (Photo courtesy of The Principal Madrid)

Stay in Gran Vía's very first five-star hotel, The Principal Madrid, which upholds the property's history, exclusivity, and elegance. Set in a 1917 Spanish Renaissance corner building, you can't help but notice the property's stately historic charm. Pau Guardans, the famous hotelier behind Spain's Único Hotels, transformed the building into a luxury property, ensuring the interior matched the glamour and history of the exterior. 

The entrance is surprisingly small, and that's because the lobby is accessible for guests only, keeping the hotel's spaces private and intimate. You may feel like you're staying in a members-only resort! And though you'll, of course, find modernity here, the decor channels the building's past with solid wood structures, leather and velvet textiles, Turkish carpets, and charming midcentury furniture.

The rooftop is one of the best in the city, offering views of historic Gran Vía and the Madrid skyline, plus sun loungers, a fountain, and a bar with occasional live music. Head down one floor to the Ático Restaurant, known for its gourmet menu and heated terrace directly across from one of the city's iconic sites: the ​​Metrópolis dome. Other highlights include a spa, rooftop yoga classes, and cocktail-making workshops.

When not enjoying the hotel, you'll be within walking distance of sites like El Retiro Park, Puerta del Sol, and Plaza Mayor, plus some of the hippest neighborhoods, like the Literary Quarter, Chueca, and Malasaña. And as for the rooms, you'll find bright and modern quarters with timeless charm. Some face an inner courtyard, while others have Juliette balconies opening up to Gran Vía. Bathrooms are large and stylish, with black tiling and organic toiletries from Mallorca. 

Gran Hotel Inglés

Stylish and spacious rooms in Madrid's oldest luxury hotel (Photo courtesy of Gran Hotel Inglés)

Gran Hotel Inglés offers comfort and history as the first luxury accommodation in Madrid, opening in 1886 on one of the city's first streets with electricity. Back then, the street was Calle del Lobo (Wolf Street), which is where the hotel's eatery, Casa Lobo, gets its name. The very well-known owner of Madrid's famous Cafe Inglés (Don Agustín Ibarra) is who purchased the building that now houses the hotel. 

Known in the 19th century as "one of the best hotels in the world," Gran Hotel Inglés was praised for its posh amenities, which included an elevator, bathrooms on each floor, electric lighting, and steam heating. The owner acquired the hotel's furnishing from New York, but today, you'll find additional decor from around the world that upholds the property's Belle Époque beginnings. Enjoy the Art Deco ambiance in the lobby, with a cocktail and sherry bar designed by a Michelin-star chef, plus a beautiful breakfast buffet and afternoon tea service. 

Choose from rooms and suites, all featuring decor styled by a New York design firm. Wood floors, iron light fixtures, and colorful art offer a sense of playful sophistication. Grab a suite if you'd like to add a seating area, desk, free-standing bathtub, or private terrace with an outdoor plunge pool. If you're looking for extra space, the hotel's royal suite is the largest hotel room available in the entirety of Madrid's historic city center!

The hotel describes itself as "hidden in Madrid," and we agree. Tucked away on a quiet side street of the romantic (and very historic) Literary Quarter, you get a central location without all the noise. This neighborhood is pedestrian-friendly and ideal for a tapear (tapas walk), as the Literary Quarter is lined with traditional taverns. You can also walk to many of the city's sites, including El Retiro Park and the Prado Museum, plus Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor, and the Royal Palace. 

Wellington Hotel & Spa

Relax at the outdoor terrace and pool (Photo courtesy of Wellington Hotel & Spa)

Enjoy your stay in Salamanca, one of the poshest neighborhoods in Madrid and within walking distance of sites like El Retiro Park, Prado Museum, and Gran Vía. It's a district filled with high-end shopping, luxury hotels, and fine dining—some of the most elegant eateries in the city. This is why Wellington Hotel & Spa fits in so well here! 

Opened in 1952, the hotel shares its origins with the day Isabel II became Spain's queen. A bullfighting breeder by the name of Baltasar Ibán Valdés dreamt of opening a luxurious hotel in chic and glitzy Salamanca, though, at the time, tourism wasn't an economic driver in the country. Baltasar acquired the plot where the hotel sits today, preserving its two historic facades. And the lack of tourism at that time didn't seem to matter, as the hotel expanded 20 years later due to its popularity. 

Today, Wellington Hotel & Spa sits in a protected building, showcasing the city's architectural heritage. You can't help but notice its uniquely layered top-floor structure and iconic vintage signage. 

Wellington Hotel & Spa is one of the few accommodations in Madrid with an outdoor pool, so you can relax with a swim, nap on a sun lounger, or sip a cocktail on the terrace. Of course, the hotel also features a beautiful spa, complete with a treatment menu, fitness center, Finnish sauna, hydrotherapy soaking pool, and Hammam. There are also three themed restaurants, two bars, and a bakery, plus options for Sunday brunch, a gourmet picnic basket, and English tea. Essentially, you never have to leave!

Rooms offer classy decor that strives to channel the building's past, though they can feel a little dark with heavy draping and slightly outdated dark-wood furnishings. If you'd like a sense of exclusivity, book a suite within the hotel's "Wellington Club," set on the top floor with a private lounge, bar, outdoor terrace, breakfast service, cigar cellar, and library. You'll feel like you've stepped back in time to Madrid's turn-of-the-century glamour. 

Hotel Villa Real

Refined rooms with plaza views (Photo courtesy of Hotel Villa Real)

Enjoy Hotel Villa Real's historical and picturesque location right on Plaza de las Cortes and within walking distance of sites like Neptune Fountain, El Retiro Park, and Puerta del Sol. Known as a "museum hotel," Villa Real features an art and archeology collection you can enjoy in its common spaces. Peruse the Roman mosaics and statues, plus Apulian vessels from Magna Graecia. This exhibition is one of the most important private collections in all of Spain.

Other amenities you can enjoy at the property include an extensive breakfast buffet in an elegant dining room downstairs. For other meals, you can dine at the gastro bar, which features Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and traditional tapas and drinks out on the terrace. Though not at the property, guests have access to an outdoor terrace and pool two blocks away at Villa Real's sister property.

Choose from superior rooms and suites, all following the hotel's theme of timeless decor that channels the building's 19th-century history. Some overlook the plaza below, while others add private terraces with sun loungers. The family room is ideal for those traveling with their brood, as it sleeps up to four and has a split-level design. 

URSO Hotel & Spa

Plush and stylish rooms (Photo courtesy of URSO Hotel & Spa)

Set in the northern reaches of trendy Malasaña and Chueca neighborhoods, you might not be right on Gran Vía or next to El Retiro Park, but you can still walk to these sites and plenty more. As a trade-off, URSO Hotel & Spa is in a slightly quieter and local neighborhood to embrace your luxury hotel spa experience. And when you do want to zip around the city, you'll have your choice of three nearby metro stops. 

Housed in a building from 1915—the former home of a paper company—you'll find original stained glass along the hotel's staircase, plus a renovated inner courtyard patio, marble floors, wood-lined walls, and tiling. Because it was the only company producing paper in Spain, the hotel decided to completely preserve its library, where important documents were kept. It's an unchanged, entirely authentic nook of the hotel that you can enjoy at any time. 

Besides the building's history, you'll find other unique charms that pay homage to the past, such as the photo display showcasing the city from the 1920s to the 1940s and violet candies that King Alfonso XIII loved. Don't forget to admire the facade, too, which features regal elements from Madrid's 20th-century bourgeois architecture.

This historic charm extends to the rooms, which feel like suites with seating areas, desks, a bright and comfy vibe, and marble bathrooms with tubs and robes. Some have four-poster beds, private terraces, leather sofas, and dining areas. The two-bedroom, two-bathroom suite might be the perfect option if you're traveling with your family.

We also love all the amenities you can enjoy at the property, which the hotel dubbed "The URSO Experience." Spend time at the spa, complete with treatments, an indoor pool, and fitness center, or relax in the lobby bar for nightly piano evenings paired with glasses of champagne. You'll also find two restaurants, The Greenhouse with its glass ceiling and bamboo garden, and Half Portion Restaurant, a traditional Madrid bistro with a wine cellar.