48 Hours at the Hotel Santo Mauro - Madrid
Madrid has developed quite a bit in the last few years when it comes to hotels and restaurants and I was in for giving the city another chance. During my first trip I was in the city with Lukas and we stayed at two new modern hotels, so this time I wanted to opt for one of the most luxurious places to stay and decided to check in at the Santo Mauro Hotel which is managed by Autograph Collection (A Marriott brand). Nestled in Zurbano, somewhere between the city centre and posh Salamanca, I felt it was an amazing way to discover Madrid from a different perspective. Personally I think that if I would have been a Madrid first-timer I would have rather spend the first nights in the old town and then moved to Santo Mauro to discover the sophistication of the surrounding area. Although you have to pass a few blocks to hit Calle Serano for some upscale shopping, it’s the right distance to disconnect again when the credit card got abused too much.
I took the last flight out of Geneva so it was somewhat about 9.30 pm until I finally checked into Santo Mauro hotel that felt more like a private mansion or embassy rather than a Marriott managed hotel. It didn’t take long until I was all set at the stunning front desk and although the bellmen was already waiting for me to show me the way to the room, I couldn’t resist and take a glimpse of the stunning lobby and lobby lounge that was without doubt one of the hotel’s highlights. Soon after I was informed that they upgraded us to a Premium Room with a more spacious room layout. While some of the rooms and suites are located in the main building, ours was situated in a side wing on the left side of the entrance spread over the ground and first floor. While I couldn’t have stayed in ground floor rooms when I was a small child, this was absolutely fine of course and I enjoyed the flexibility of accessing the room without passing the front desk or taking an elevator each time. Once I opened the door, I was a bit puzzled: did I change into a resort or is it just a very spacious hotel room? From my previous Madrid hotel experiences I know the average size of a luxury hotel room in the Spanish capital and I can tell they are very similar to the ones in Rome and Venice normally.
However my Premium room at the Santo Mauro Hotel was above par with a sofa (which could be used for an extra bed), armchair, desk with two chairs that could be turned into a dining set-up, a very heavenly double bed with a great selection of pillows, a minibar and a tv console in front of the bed. Once I continued the tour, I found a spacious walk-in wardrobe with a luggage rack big enough for two medium sized trolleys followed by a very spacious marble bathroom that had a bath tub, double vanities, separate toilet and bidet as well as a walk-in shower as big as some Madrid bathrooms. I was actually positively surprised by the selection of guest products (including two different combs and the first time I have seen a female amenity kit in a city property) and was happy to find branded toiletries by the Spanish based brand Natura Blisse, which I always wanted to test personally. The fact that they provide two massive bath towels per person and plenty of smaller towels is really appreciated. Housekeeping was very attentive and did a great job throughout the entire stay. We also received complimentary water along with home made cookies for the service on the second day. Unfortunately they do not do turndown service, however I didn’t need any refreshment of the towels since I left right after breakfast around 11 am and returned only at 8 pm right in time to change for dinner.
Since I was in for a quick sophisticated bite, Felix recommended Cafeteria HD which was a 20 minute walk and absolutely the right place fitting the mood and purpose of the dinner on our first night. On the second night Felix arranged a table at Bosco de Lobo just around the corner which was a great restaurant with international cuisine. Of course the main highlight of the hotel stay was the stunning and probably best breakfast service I have ever experienced in an European hotel. Felix always says to let the feelings sit and think about the great experience a few days later to better judge an experience. I did so and still, the breakfast at Santo Mauro was just a solid 10 out of 10. I have to admit, I don’t know the price of the breakfast since I booked a bed&breakfast package, but in any case I would recommend you to go for the total B&B experience - it is worth at least 40 euros per person. While Felix had commitments on the first morning, I didn’t leave breakfast out and headed to the Biblioteca Restaurant on my own. Having entered the main building I was friendly welcomed by the stunning flower arrangement in the foyer and the lovely lobby lounge that was now filled with sun rays setting a very special light into the beautifully appointed hotel. To be honest, I have to say that the lounge and restaurant of the Santo Mauro Hotel do represent real interior goals, letting me dream of living in a private Madrid townhouse.
It was somewhat 10.20 am once I showed up at the restaurant where I was greeted in a most friendly way by the head waitress (blonde curly hair, sorry for not having asked for her name). She immediately asked whether I would like to have an orange juice and still or sparkling water with it. Only then she handed over the menu which was lovely letting me some time to digest the out-of-this-world interior design of the restaurant. Now I was sure that I was sitting in a private mansion that was influenced by the French fin-de-siecle rather than a 21st century city hotel. The menu reads as follows: poached eggs with truffle cream and braised, churros with chocolate by San Gines or Iberian Ham on Cristal bread and french grated tomato. Well, if that doesn’t already sound like the most unusual breakfast you have had, let me explain further. From my point of view, a la carte breakfast is the absolute best breakfast option a hotel can offer: it feels more lavish and sophisticated since people can talk and don’t have to interrupt when walking to the buffet, guests order what they really want rather than offering a huge selection on the buffet and then end up throwing away more than half or simply because a hotel can offer a smaller product range but with better quality.
The breakfast at Santo Mauro Hotel represented exactly my thoughts and I was totally into it. Perfect and attentive service, a pastry basked with french butter, excellent cappuccinos, fresh toast as well as free flow fresh orange juice and still & sparkling water (Perrier). Service was always perfect and consistent on both mornings, having made our experience unforgettable and truly memorable. Another highlight was the freshly baked apple pie with ice cream. To be honest, such a breakfast should be rated with a Michelin star and therefore don’t need to be followed by any lunch. We just had dinner at 9.30 pm and we survived the day without another bite. On the day of check-out we have scored a table at Ramon Freixa so it was inevitable to schedule a full foodie day. We arrived in food heaven that night but that’s another story.
Overall, I was totally surprised by the performance of Santo Mauro Hotel and even though it is one of the most expensive properties in Madrid, I would definitely stay there again next time. The comfort of the room was impeccable and the breakfast outstanding. The only downside was that the front desk didn’t put much efforts in checking for a late-check out and rather answered right away with a standard offer to extend until 12.30 free of charge. Considering the high daily rates, they could have put a bit more effort into it and at least pretend to have checked availability. Other than that front desk was always friendly and greeting in a nice way. When I asked for the best way to the Gran Via they even suggested me two great streets where I could find local designer and turned out it was exactly what I was looking for, so recommendation credits goes to the front desk.
We were guest of the Santo Mauro Hotel, however all above written expresses our own opinion and has not been influenced.