Short stay: Ocean Drive Hotel, Madrid, Spain
Is there a better location for getting to know Madrid? Ocean Drive Madrid is within walking distance of most of Madrid’s top experiences and sights.
Set in the Opera district, on the Plaza de Isabel ll, the hotel looks out on the neo-classical facade of Madrid’s renowned Teatro Real. There is a Scandi feel to Ocean Drive’s aesthetic. OD has brought light contemporary design, with some Ibizan influences, to this 72 room boutique hotel.
Ocean Drive Hotel is in pole position for exploring Madrid. From art to tapas trails, whether you are touring by segway, tuk-tuk or on foot, the hotel could not be better located. Ideal too for joining the Madrileños tradition of paseo por la noche, a stylish evening promenade.
Although only open since late February 2022, the hotel is already gaining a reputation for its friendly service. As we check-in, we are given a ticket for towels for the pool, a map and guidance on how to find Madrid’s central attractions.
Tall floor to ceiling windows, in our second floor deluxe room, look across the plaza to the columns and portico of the Teatro Real. From the grey-walled entrance, artfully lit minimalism eases into oatmeal walls and strategically placed light wood furnishings.
Allegedly the bed is king-size but it seems to be pushing for emperor-sized status. Silent air-conditioning promises siesta sanctuary during even the hottest summer days. Equipped with a Nespresso coffee maker and refrigerated mini-bar there wouldn’t be any reason to leave your room for a drink, if the hotel’s bars were not so appealing.
Other rooms, particularly the suites on the top floor, have some remarkable features: beer on tap, a library and one suite even has its own private pool.
There is an open-plan bathroom bar, with mixer tap and bowl, between the rainfall shower and bedroom.
Bath robes, slippers and hairdryer are discretely hidden away. OD hotels are too cool to brag.
Mar Mia is a chic urban beach bar and restaurant that weaves its way through the Ocean Drive property. The spirit of the Mediterranean flows through the bar, dining room, terrace and up to the Sky Bar.
Three chefs oversee the diverse menus, establishing Mar Mia as one of Madrid’s must-visit culinary destinations: tapas from Carlos Bosch, seafood by Rafa Zafra and the rice dishes of Luis Rodriguez.
Musically the day often begins with laid-back jazz. As the day develops the play list picks up its beat to provide echoes of chilled out Ibiza.
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A 50 metre stroll takes guests to the Opera metro station. But few guests go underground preferring to stroll through plaza after plaza.
Today, Plaza de Mayor is mainly an elegant square for a quiet coffee, a drink or a meal. After the plaza’s construction early in the 17th century it witnessed fires, executions and even football during its turbulent history.
Kilometre Zero, in nearby Puerto de Sol square, is a brass and granite plaque that marks the starting point of six of Spain’s national highways. Similarly, the Mercado de San Miguel, is the starting point for many tapas explorations.
Within a World Heritage site, 20 stalls give visitors an introduction to the bite-sized snacks that have enthralled the world. Just beyond the Teatro Real, sits the Royal Palace of Madrid. At over 135,000 square metres and 3,418 rooms it makes Versailles, a thousand rooms smaller, look like a starter home. Tours take in a priceless collection of art treasures and views across the precise topiary of the formal gardens. Although convenient for opera, the Teatro’s programme also features flamenco. It is a complex art form with a controversial history. Expect flouncy frocks, passionate singing, guitar, hand-clapping and plenty of heel stamping.
Also, Ocean Drive Hotel is within walking distance of Madrid’s golden triangle of art galleries: El Prado, Reina Sofia featuring Picasso’s Guernica, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza.
Other nice touches
Although the arty Ocean Drive magazine is available online, there are tabloid sized paper copies left in every room. Keep an eye open for special events.
Sometimes OD hosts painting lessons, artistic creativity enhanced by wine. A burger and gin evening has also proved popular.
Rooms begin at €180 with the top suite beginning at €650.
The best bit
High on the 5th floor, the Sky Bar has views across Madrid’s terracotta tiled roofs. The most memorable vista focuses on the glinting dual domes of Almudena Cathedral. During the day sun loungers surround the small shallow pool. As darkness descends and the mercury finally cools, guests head for drinks and music at the Sky Bar.
The final verdict
Already, Ocean Drive Madrid is persuading its guests that it’s the coolest place to stay in Madrid. Reception reading on art and architecture – look out for the books on album cover design – signals that OD is expecting an arty, and sophisticated crowd. DJSsand live music attract guests too.
Although breakfast doesn’t stretch to 4pm, as it does at Ocean Drive Ibiza, there’s a chilled feel to Ocean Drive life.
Disclosure: Our stay was sponsored by Ocean Drive Madrid.