Puttin' On The Ritz: Ritz Madrid
Princess time for Karen Steele and Vicki Scheck at Hotel Ritz Madrid
Because the Ritz Madrid, a 1910 Belle Époque hotel in the heart of the city, is considered a royal residence, the hotel is permitted the use of the crown in its logo. As almost everything in the hotel is embroidered or imprinted with that logo, I guess it made sense that Karen and I would feel like princesses while there. Well…that and the crowns above our beds!
This was the “breakfast room.” What an amazing venue in which to start each day. The hotel provided an exceptional buffet, complete with free-flowing champagne. (Champagne at breakfast is one of those wonderful vacation allowances.)
It was a new experience for me to travel with a female friend. What I learned is that, when you’re traveling with another woman (at least, in our experience) you both understand the importance of commenting extensively on the moldings, door knobs, etc.—as well as those ever-present Ritz logos on the chair backs, silver flatware and even embroidered onto the starched, Irish-linen bed sheets. I’m not sure Al would have understood that necessity!
We had to pass up the opportunity to eat in the hotel’s Goya Restaurant, lovely though it was. They open at 8:00 p.m. for dinner (European style) but we were jet lagged and preferred an earlier dining time.
So instead, we ate al fresco at The Ritz Garden. It was a magical place in the early evening, with the sounds of a water fountain and live piano accompaniment.
Click here for a video, and hear "The Girl from Ipanema."
Of course, we had to have afternoon tea one day in The Hall (which name certainly doesn't do the room justice!). I was impressed with the creativity of their tea-themed flower arrangement.
The Hall is an absolutely palatial space, which is stunning day or night.
One of the real treats is that we were able to have a tour of the hotel, during which we were told that Prince Rainier and Princess Grace spent the first night of their honeymoon in this opulent suite. The suite has also hosted Prince Charles and Princess Diana, as well as a long list of other royalty, world leaders, and superstars. Out of sight in the photo below is a tabletop sculpture by Gustave Eiffel.
Silk damask walls adorn the sitting room of the Royal Suite at Hotel Ritz Madrid
Because of the high profile of some of the guests at Ritz Madrid, security measures are taken very seriously. Sales and Marketing Director Marcelo Moscheni told us that the hotel’s exterior windows are bulletproof. (We can attest to their soundproofing quality.)
Other interesting tidbits he shared were that some of the suites have a hidden, connecting hallway, so that a bodyguard can get to his charge without detection, should the need arise. And when royalty stays in the hotel, the staff prefers to put them in a room that has a raised platform for the bed so that if a waiter brings in room service, his head will not be higher than the monarch’s. “And we don’t send a tall waiter!” Marcelo assured us.
Architectural detail of Hotel Ritz Madrid
Karen and I had come to Madrid a few days before our escorted tour of Spain began, so after three wonderful days at the Ritz, we moved to our tour hotel. But we were to discover that the crowning event of our time at the Ritz was actually yet to happen. They held a dinner for our tour group there, and this is what it looked like!
Puttin’ on The Ritz for our tour group, Ritz Madrid
This was one of the two most outstanding dinners I have ever had in my life—and the other one had finger bowls and solid gold flatware, so the standard was set very high.
On entering the breakfast room at our tour hotel the next morning, I overheard someone say, “I felt like royalty,” and I knew exactly what they were talking about. I think we all felt like royalty that night. So it will come as no surprise that the ScheckTrek Pick for Madrid is the Madrid Ritz.
P.S. Writing this put me in the mood to watch Fred Astaire tapping his way through “Puttin’ On The Ritz.” If you feel the same, you can see that here.
For 2017 we can offer the following Virtuoso amenities at Hotel Ritz Madrid:
Upgrade on arrival, subject to availability
Ritz American breakfast daily for up to 2 in-room guests
A Welcome Amenity
$100 USD equivalent Food & Beverage credit to be utilized during stay (not combinable, not valid on room rate, no cash value if not redeemed in full, applicable for Lunch or Dinner in Goya Restaurant or Terrace when open in season)
Early check-in/late check-out, subject to availability
For 1 Bedroom Suite bookings on up: Complimentary round trip airport transfers
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