Travel Feature Story

Hotel Urso: A Place to Fall in Love and Feel at Home

Dramatic Madrid hotel offers the best of history and luxury

By EDDIE RIVERA, Community Editor
Published: Monday, May 21, 2018 | 2:57 PM

In a busy week of reacquainting myself with old haunts, riding the Metro like a local, and leapfrogging between Madrid hotels, AirBnBs, and cozy apartments, one thought kept singing out to me, as I coursed through one of my favorite cities in the world: “Urso Hotel Thursday….Urso Hotel Thursday…”

I arrived in the early afternoon that Thursday , and presented myself at the front desk. The receptionist beamed at me.

“Mr. Rivera, we’ve been expecting you. Welcome!”, she said to me in that now-familiar and fetching Madrilena Spanish accent. From there, the check-in process moved like clockwork.

Until it didn’t. Or more specifically, I didn’t.

‘We’ll just need your passport, and we’ll get you all checked in,” she said, smiling. As she’d been talking, I had been quietly and frantically going through my bags for my passport, which I always kept in the same pocket of the same bag. All the time.

It was gone.

Gone, but not lost. I realized that the passport was most likely sitting on the nightstand in the bedroom of the small Salamanca apartment where I’d been staying for the previous few days.

“We can’t check you in without a passport,” the manager told me in a friendly, “I wish I could help you” way. But of course, I agreed.

I excused myself and took a seat in the plush lobby to call the apartment owner. She was working and wouldn’t be available to pick up the passport and drop it off to me, until about 6.

“Not a problem,” I told her. “I can wait.”

Waiting in the lobby of the Urso Hotel is frankly, like staying there. The lobby is large, dramatic, comforting and cozy all at once. There are long luxurious leather couches to sprawl yourself out on. (Which I wouldn’t do. The Spanish frown on that sort of thing. They call it mal vista. It “looks bad.”)

The world’s newspapers sit poised on coffee tables. Bookcases, lit with dramatic lighting, line the walls, there is a view of the bustling street, and the Wi-Fi was as strong as morning coffee. A dramatic glass staircase over a shallow narrow pool leads to a spacious and beautifully appointed dining room. But I’ll get to that.

I settled in (carefully) for what would likely be a four-hour wait.

Perhaps thirty minutes later, the manager approached me and asked if I had a credit card to use as ID. When I provided it, he said, “That’s perfect. We can check you into your room now, but if your passport doesn’t arrive by 6, you’ll have to come back tomorrow.”

I checked in to the room, which was spacious, luxurious and stylish, a combination of old and new, as is the entire hotel. Every amenity is provided in the rooms, from a wide range of toiletries, to enough outlets to launch a spaceship.

The room was also considerably larger than most hotels in Europe, which do wonders with the word “cozy.”

The Urso is set between the neighborhoods of Chamberí, the Chueca district and the Tribunal area. The main shopping area, the grand embassy buildings, the golden triangle of art galleries and the Royal Palace are within walking distance.

And Madrid is a walking city. At all hours of the day, the sidewalks, streets and cafes are teeming with people with everywhere to go and nowhere. A taxi is nearly impossible to nab at 2 in the morning on a weekend night.

And walking up on my hotel, from an evening on the Gran Via, seeing its dramatic lighting from every angle, was just another small highlight of my stay there.

In fact, my own enviable dilemma was being caught between two situations—wanting to be in every part of the City at once, and wanting to never leave my luxurious room.

The Urso also features a magnificent and delicious full breakfast included in your stay—common in European hotels—served in a modern and sunlit mezzanine above the lobby. I could have lived there, actually.

But mostly, like the best hotels, the Urso provides a place where you immediately fall in love and feel at home. From the luxurious lobby to the historic iron elevator which will fit you, but maybe not your luggage, it’s a wondrous getaway.

And there is Madrid, just outside your door. I can’t wait to return.

The 411:

Urso Hotel & Spa Madrid
Mejia Laqueria 8, Madrid 28004
+34 914 444 458







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