Review: Hotel Orfila, Madrid
Situated in a cozy corner of Madrid somewhere in between posh Salamanca and cool Chamberi districts lies Madrid’s first Relais & Chateaux Hotel. With only a handful of rooms, Hotel Orfila is definitely one of the smallest five-star properties in the Spanish capital and I was therefore very excited to see this place. Actually, we drove all the way from another Relais & Chateaux property on the countryside of Spain only a 1.5 hours drive, plus did a pitstop in the city of Toledo which is absolutely stunning - to arrive at the Orfila at around 4 pm. Right in time to check-in and enjoy the city life for a bit.
We parked the car and took a Cabify to the hotel so that we do not need to hassle with the car in the center of Madrid. Having stopped the limousine in front of the hotel, a bellman already came and took care of our luggage - nice touch. Check-in went smooth and was done by a Swiss guy who seemed to be very efficient so it didn’t take long until we were able to go up the room. I don’t know why but for some reasons five-star hotels need to offer to accompany you to the room. Hotel Orfila was no exception and we were shown Room Number 17 which was a spacious Deluxe Room overlooking the hotel’s garden. There is one suite on each floor and about 6 rooms which are all quite similar in terms of layout. The style is old-school Madrilenian with the bliss of Spanish elegance. While it might be outdated for some, I liked the vintage style the hotel is spreading - I mean that’s what you would expect from a Relais & Chateaux otherwise you could change to one of Madrid’s Leading Hotels properties. , why we chose this hotel, was that it would suit this Relais & Chateaux weekend plus because I and Felix were eager to try their Restaurant by a new Executive chef holding two Michelin stars.
Our Deluxe room was located on the corner so we, therefore, had a more spacious room than the general entry-level categories. Once we entered there was an entree with a wardrobe whose hangers are fixed in order not to take them away - which I think is fair for the hotels but a challenge when you want to hang your clothes anywhere else than the wardrobe, eg humid bathroom to make shirts look fresher. Right next to the entree was a marble bathroom with double vanities, a shower-tub combo (with a wide bathtub making the shower experience quite alright) as well as a separated toilet and bidet. The toiletries were by Etro and they generously offered two sets along with a few guest products by Relais & Chateaux. Housekeeping was doing a very good job and replaced the used towels for turndown service. Moving towards the main bedroom, there was a sofa in front of the window with two armchairs and coffee table, writing desk with television as well as twin beds next to the small nightstands. I liked the view into the green garden of the hotel a lot and the sofa area gave the entire room a very airy feeling which was great. Besides missing welcome amenities, there was a minibar with a lot of products, though at an additional charge.
There was a Room service menu, with few dishes from the gastronomic restaurant and they offered to do take-away breakfasts for early departures. Since I was leaving early I was eager to try that service. Wi-fi worked well until the hotel got kind of electrical shutdown with some parts of the electronic parts being out of order for a few minutes. Therefore we went outside the hotel for a walk and found El Corte Ingles latest men only shop spread over 6 floors. On top of the department store, we had a round of drinks while enjoying the sun setting over the city of Madrid. It was the perfect way to end this amazing birthday weekend and I have to admit that I was a bit hesitant regarding the hotel restaurant. In general, I am not the biggest fan of hotel restaurant ambiances - especially in cities like Madrid where the coolest restaurants can be found outside your hotels. However, Felix and I were giving El Jardin de Orfila a try and booked a table for 9 pm. While I liked the food especially for the price of 71 Euros for the tasting menu, Felix will be writing about the food in a separate article - without revealing too much yet.
Service-wise the hotel was really good with friendly staff members. Besides the totally friendly restaurant staff and welcoming bellmen, the rest of the people could have done a bit more to stand out. Especially on my birthday, no one took the initiative to look on the birthdate on the IDs to arrange at least a nice note in the room or say something at check-in. Furthermore, I told the front desk about my early 4.30 am departure and was taking their offer (advised in the hotel information sheet) to prepare a bag for me with a sandwich, fruits, yogurt, and juice. While the front desk happily told me to arrange it, to all my surprise the night porter then told me that they didn’t prepare anything for me which was a total disappointment. I hate when I inform the hotel staff about something and they just ignore the information. Why would I say it then? Needless to mention that a Welcome letter or any welcome amenities were missing during the entire stay. Maybe they just forgot it, however the rest went well and we didn’t encounter any problems.
However, while I was leaving the hotel very early in the morning, Felix had to pleasure to sleep a little bit longer, which was very necessary after this sort of weekend. In addition, our sleep was very nice and comfy due to the twin bed with a good assortment of pillows. At like 10 am Felix took the elevator to the main floor of the five-star hotel in order to fetch his breakfast, which is also promoted on Sundays as Sunday-brunch. The location of the breakfast is the same as for dinner - at El Jardin de Orfila. So actually the breakfast was the highlight of the stay at this Relais & Chateaux property because they are serving our favorite kind of the first meal of the day: half buffet half a la carte. That means you can choose your different egg specialties including scrambled eggs in any variation, omelets as well everything else you like and my personal favorite eggs benedict directly out of a menu which was brought by a very nice and good trained waiter. Of course, the coffee specialties were brought to the table as well. On the buffet which is situated directly in the middle of the restaurant “El Jardin de Orfila” you can find a typical Spanish luxury breakfast with an assortment of cheese, selection of Jamon Iberico, and churros. If you are in the mood for a glass of cava in the morning, the hotel helps with two different kinds of Spanish sparkling wine. In total, Felix really liked and enjoyed the breakfast - especially the egg benedicts were outstanding.
So generally Hotel Orfila is a solid five-star hotel getting the Relais & Chateaux concept and I can totally recommend it if you are looking for an upscale luxury experience in a very good area of Madrid which by the way is peaceful and quite during nights. Therefore I would say it’s for people traveling with a less price sensitive budget and appreciating fine things and luxury. With a classical restaurant concept, you may encounter a good value for money when it comes to the food part of the hotel considering the Executive chef holds two Michelin stars. All that is left to say is that Hotel Orfila is on an excellent way towards future as they currently do some renovations on the third floor so I am sure they are getting back on track to become one of Spain’s leading luxury hotels.
We stayed at the Hotel Orfila for editorial purposes, however all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced.