Interior designer reveals her favourite restaurants, bars and boutiques in the Spanish capital
FOOD & DRINK
Madrid has had two exciting restaurant openings recently: Amazónic (), which offers fun food in a crazy jungle setting, and Hermosos & Malditos () in Tótem Hotel, a bar and restaurant inspired by F Scott Fitzgerald's novel The Beautiful and Damned. The food is Mediterranean with a New York twist and the concept was created by my sister Sofia and her design agency, Better. A breakfast treat is a croissant from La Duquesita () on Fernando VI, a bakery presided over by Oriol Balaguer, one of the greatest pastry chefs in Spain. For coffee, particularly after a stroll in the Retiro Park with my dog Olivia, nothing beats the Murillo Café () on Calle Ruiz de Alarcón. Horcher () on Alfonso XII, a favourite of former King Juan Carlos, is still the city's most prestigious restaurant for a grand dinner. Atmospheric Bar Cock (barcock.com) on Calle Reina pulls in a fashionable crowd for the best cocktails in town.
For design, Madrid has some great concept stores. Do Design () focuses on integrating art, fashion and design, and its loft- like space has become a hotspot for Madrid creatives, while Mestizo () is a stylish store selling an excellent selection of furniture, decorative objects, home accessories and books. One of the best stores for furniture is Batavia (), which has recently opened a new flagship showroom in the nineteenth-century Palacio de Santa Bárbara. The team designs its own collection of furniture as well as reworking antique and vintage pieces to suit current trends. For art, I head straight to Travesía Cuatro (), which my sister co-founded. She specialises in incredible contemporary art, mainly from Mexico and she has a second gallery in Guadalajara. For antiques, Bakelita () is an inspirational treasure trove of unusual pieces from the twentieth century, sourced by its owner, art historian Alfonso Icaza Aresti. As an ardent believer in recycling and reusing, sustainable fashion brand Ecoalf () is one of my favourites; discarded fishing nets, plastic bottles and worn-out tyres become outerwear, trainers and accessories. Marni () is my first choice for fashion, as I love its colourful, sophisticated designs, but I also often visit Pez (), a brilliant shop located in a former military pharmacy, which specialises in small brands of clothing, jewellery, bags and shoes. Two of my greatest indulgences are books and flowers. For the former, there's nowhere better than Elena Ochoa Foster's Ivory Press (), a combined bookshop and exhibition space designed by her husband Norman Foster. For the latter, Sally Hambleton's creations () are irresistible. Her shop is close to both my home and my studio, so very convenient for ensuring I'm always surrounded by beautiful flowers.
In the last two years, Madrid has witnessed a boom in new hotels, with its most notable recent opening being Tótem () in the chic Salamanca district. After a top-to-toe reincarnation, this hotel blends its nineteenth-century heritage with a distinctly modern vibe - contemporary furniture, sleek parquet floors and pops of cobalt blue, fern green and rose pink to add glamour. Upstairs there are 64 bedrooms, some with balconies, some in the attic, some with a view. Downstairs is a buzzy tapas bar, where the fashionable crowd gather in the evenings, as well as the restaurant and cocktail bar Hermosos & Malditos. All of Madrid's high-end boutiques and restaurants are on the doorstep, as is the Retiro Park and the Prado. Double rooms cost from €145.
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