When it comes to fine dining, the Spanish have it covered. Sophie Ritchie embarks upon a foodie tour of Madrid and Barcelona for the launch of two exquisite NH Collection hotels…
We’re here to experience the taste of two Spanish cities with NH Collection hotels – a captivating selection of premium and outstanding hotels. The first stop on my trip is Barcelona – a cosmopolitan city brimming with culture, art and of course, fascinating architecture.
After a short flight from Gatwick, the usual dreariness of English weather is left long behind as we check in to NH Collection Gran Hotel Calderón – a five star hotel that’s located in the Quadrant D’Or, a mere minute’s stroll away from some of Barcelona’s most renowned landmarks.
After ongoing complete renovation in 2016, the hotel is sleek, stylish and full of luxurious touches. There’s no denying that its location is fantastic – but its the view from my 8th floor room that is even more so, with what seems like the entire bustling city hiding behind my curtains.
Bright and cozy, rooms here are full of modern touches – from handy USB charging points to Nespresso coffee machines. It’s undeniable that it’s the little details that matter – and Gran Hotel Calderón is full of them, from a pillow menu to the bed’s luxuriously premium mattress.
Guests can feast their eyes on the view to their hearts’ content – but also the vast range of gourmet delights on offer. Visit the nearby Don Giovanni restaurant to experience the delights of Sicilian chef, Andrea Tumbarello and sample dishes with a fun holographic twist. It’s a meeting of technology and taste – and is an encounter not to be missed.
For those who enjoy the city skyline, try the delights of the nearby NH Collection’s Podium’s roof terrace – where fruity cocktails and decadent nibbles await throughout the year. The food on offer at both hotels is wonderful – fresh, exciting and full of flavour.
An enchanting Catalan city, Barcelona is a playground that demands to be explored. Culture vultures can delight in walking tours of the city. With so many landmarks on the hotel’s doorstep, step outside and experience the nearby wonders.
Walk the Passeig de Gràcia, one of the major avenues in Barcelona to see some of Gaudi’s most intriguing buildings. From the iconic Casa Batlló – a building forged from ceramics, stone and iron that once broke social conventions and caused outrage – to La Pedrera, a must-see example of Gaudi’s creativity, there’s plenty to admire. One of the most imaginative houses in the history of design, locals nicknamed this sculpture-like building ‘The Monster’ and it even caused appalled neighbours to move from the sheer sight of it. Nowadays, La Pedrera is a World Heritage site – and is a fascinating way to spend an afternoon.
For the fashionistas, there’s shopping hotspots galore only moments from the hotel. Stock up on sunglasses, designer bags or the latest Catalan looks – and relax in the plenitude of nearby coffee shops or tapas bars for a mid-trip pitstop.
After such an impressive start, Madrid had a lot to live up to – but it did so and more. After catching a swift train to the centre of Spain’s capital city, we check in to the NH Collection Madrid Suecia – a hotel that’s as vibrant and trendy as the district around it.
Dating back to the 1950s, this elegant five star hotel was renowned for once being the home of none other than Ernest Hemingway during his visits to Madrid – and his spirit remains imprinted throughout the hotel’s design, from inspiring quotes found in the elevator to the library decor of the hotel’s lounge.
If you love surprises, Madrid Suecia won’t disappoint. From a welcome message written on my bathroom mirror to the hidden speakeasy cocktail bar found in the hotel’s basement, it’s full of delights and decadence.
With a functional, contemporary look, the hotel offers 123 rooms spread across 10 floors. My own was on the 9th – and boasted a panoramic view of both the city and surrounding mountains. Expect modern luxury – the newly renovated rooms are full of chic artwork and stylish interiors.
Madrid is nothing short of a foodie dream. Dine at Santceloni to enjoy a 2 Michelin star dinner served by chef Óscar Velasco. Expect the unusual – dishes here are a mix of intriguing texture and flavour. The restaurant offers a menu full of strange yet sumptuous combinations – from eel and chicken soup to an olive oil sponge cake.
Another must-try is a visit to La Terrazza del Casino. Chef Paco Roncero continues to fly the flag for the Adrià empire – although the best thing about this restaurant might be its top-floor location in an archaic casino. Dine on 2 Michelin star dishes for serious haute cuisine whilst admiring the extraordinary decor around you.
Aside from gastronomic heaven, there’s ample activities on offer. Enjoy a guided tour throughout the city to learn about its rich history or delight in a visit to Museo del Prado, the main Spanish national art museum. Here, you can find examples of Goya’s most fascinating work, along with the creations of Raphael, El Greco and Bosch – to name just a few.
As well as admiring works of art, visitors can shop until they drop. The hotel is primely located in the heart of the city’s historic centre with the upscale shops of Gran Vía, Fuencarral and Callao’s department stores a short walk away. A bustling, beautiful and above all, brilliant city, Madrid is nothing short of spectacular – with an an endless array of cultural hotspots and gourmet delights.
I’ve had a taste of both Spanish cities, but leave with an appetite – far from satiated, I’m hungry for more.
NH Collection Madrid Suecia
Reservations: To make a booking, phone 0203 49 98 271 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
Where: Calle del Marqués de Casa Riera 4 28014 Madrid Spain
NH Collection Gran Hotel Calderón
Reservations: To make a booking, phone 0203 49 90 485 or email email@example.com.
Where: Rambla Catalunya, 26. 08007, Barcelona, Spain