Hotels in the Old Quarter / Historic area of Madrid, Spain
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Hotels in Madrid, Spain - Madrid Community Travel & Accommodation Guide

Hotels in the Old Quarter - Historic Area - Madrid

Sunset Over Alcala Arch, Madrid, Spain
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MADRID - Old Quarter - Historic Centre FEATURED HOTELS

A selection of hotels in the older area of Madrid, convenient to all the historic sights of the city including the Plaza Mayor, Puerta del Sol and Plaza de Cibeles (read information).  (Also close to Parque del Retiro and Thyssen-Bornemisza,Reina Sofia and Prado Museums).
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Hotel AC Palacio del Retiro Hotel AC Palacio del Retiro, Madrid
Built as a palace in 1908 and converted into a hotel in 2004, the AC Palacio del Retiro is a national heritage site, which features original sweeping marble staircases and stained glass windows. The hotel is situated in the city centre, 300 metres from the Prado Museum. The Reina Sofia Art Centre is 500 metres away, and the Running of the Bulls takes place at Plaza de Toros, five kilometres away.  Guests can work out in the fitness centre and then unwind in the sauna. Those seeking total relaxation can indulge in a variety of spa and massage treatments, including in-room massages. Diners can enjoy modern Mediterranean cuisine in a relaxed setting at the restaurant Indice. Before dinner, guests can enjoy cocktails in the bar, or relax and take advantage of 24-hour room service. Parents will appreciate the babysitting service.
AC Santo Mauro Hotel AC Santo Mauro Hotel, Madrid
This palace with its end of nineteenth century style was built on the orders of the Duke of Santo Mauro by the French architect Louis Legrand. It was finished in the year 1894.  The building, with its notable French influence, was the residence of the Duke of Santo Mauro and later became the embassy of the Philippines. The hotel is located in the heart of the Chamberí neighbourhood of Madrid, very near to the Paseo de la Castellana, the place favoured by the nobility to construct their little palaces at the end of the nineteenth century, a symbol of their economic power.  The restaurant is in the old library of the palace. It is under the orders of prestigious chef Carlos Posadas who offers a menu which changes every three to four months and which perfectly combines varied international cuisine with the most traditional and straightforward dishes.   The bedrooms are equipped with everything necessary: complete bathroom, hair-dryer, music equipment, TV, safe deposit box, individual air-conditioning and heating, and free mini-bar.
Hotel Emperador Hotel Emperador, Madrid
The Hotel Emperador in Madrid Spain is located on Madrid's Gran Via. The theater and cinema district is 950 meters from the hotel. Prado Museum is less than two kilometers away and contemporary and modern art at the Reina Sofia Museum is four kilometers from the hotel. The lobby features marble floors and floor-to-ceiling pillars and an atrium. The 24-hour front desk offers amenities that include complimentary newspapers in the lobby. A bar on the roof serves light food. The seasonal pool on the roof of the Hotel Emperador offers spectacular views of Madrid's landmarks. The hotel's piano bar features a pool table. The hotel also offers a spa sauna and gymnasium. Famous Spanish painters, such as Pablo Picasso and Francisco Goya, are commemorated in the hotel's 10 meeting rooms. High-speed Internet access is available, for a fee. 
Hotel Atlantico Madrid Hotel Atlantico Madrid
The Atlantico Hotel in Madrid is a stately building, topped by a French-style dome from which a great part of the city can be seen. Situated in the heart of Madrid, it makes the ideal lodging choice. This first class property is strategically located only 18 kilometers northwest of the Barajas Airport. This hotel does its very best to offer guests the best service possible so that they will feel as if they are at home. Guests will be able to enjoy a cafeteria and lounge with a panoramic view of Madrid and then retire to a comfortable room. Approximately 1000 meters separates the hotel from the cultural triangle composed of the three major museums: the Prado Museum, the Reina Sofia Museum and the Thyssan Bornemisza Museum.  A cordial and attentive staff is on-site to assist you with any needs that you might have. This property is moments away from fine dining, shopping and entertainment venues.
Hotel Santo Domingo Hotel Santo Domingo, Madrid
Housed in an historic sixteenth century building, the Santo Domingo is decorated with a style in keeping with its rich history and tradition, filled with original artwork and antique furniture throughout. Situated in a quiet Plaza in the heart of Madrid, it is just 200 meters from the Royal Palace. Spanish and international cuisine is served in the relaxed ambience of the Best Western Premier Santo Domingo restaurant, decorated with warm colors and 17th century paintings. Guests can relax in the lobby with a complimentary newspaper, and plan excursions in the Internet corner or with the help of the multilingual staff at the front desk.  For business guests there are conference rooms, as well as banquet facilities. For fitness enthusiasts the hotel provides access to a nearby gymnasium. Visitors to Madrid are surrounded by attractions and art lovers are one kilometer from the major museums including the Prado, home to one of Europe's most renowned art collections.
Petit Palace Alcala Petit Palace Alcala, Madrid
Occupying an opulent early 1900s building in Madrid's historical centre, the contemporary, high-tech Petit Palace Alcala  lies 100 metres from the bustling Gran Via. Madrid Barajas Airport is 15 kilometres from the hotel, a 25-minute drive away.  This modern hotel offers complimentary wireless Internet access throughout and offers personal computers. Parking is available nearby for those arriving by car, while other practical amenities include a business centre, a 24-hour front desk, laundry facilities, safe-deposit boxes, and meeting rooms. Bicycles are available. Coffee, teas, and juices are available in the lobby bar from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. Buffet breakfasts are offered on the 5th floor, with views of Madrid. Pets weighing up to 15 kg are permitted. Dog beds and feeding dishes are provided. Guests with pets should contact the hotel prior to arrival.
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Plaza Mayor - Madrid Travel Information

The Plaza Mayor built during the Habsburg period is a central plaza in the city of Madrid, Spain. It is located only a few blocks away from another famous plaza, the Puerta del Sol. The Plaza Mayor is rectangular in shape, measuring 129 by 94 meters, and is surrounded by three-story residential buildings having 237 balconies facing the Plaza. It has a total of nine entranceways. The Casa de la Panadería, serving municipal and cultural functions, dominates the Plaza Mayor.

The origins of the Plaza go back to 1581 when Philip II of Spain asked Juan de Herrera, a renowned Renaissance architect, to discuss a plan to remodel the busy and chaotic area of the old Plaza del Arrabal. Juan de Herrera was the architect who designed the first project in 1581 to remodel the old Plaza del Arrabal but construction didn't start until 1617, during Philip III's reign. The king asked Juan Gomez de Mora to continue with the project, and he finished the porticoes in 1619.

Plaza Mayor from the East, Madrid, Spain
Plaza Mayor from the East, Madrid, Spain
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Building Facades in Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Comunidad De Madrid, Spain
Building Facades in Plaza Mayor, Madrid
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Nevertheless, the Plaza Mayor as we know it today is the work of the architect Juan de Villanueva who was entrusted with its reconstruction in 1790 after a spate of big fires. Giambologna's equestrian statue of Philip III dates to 1616, but it was not placed in the center of the square until 1848. Amazingly enough if you go in there today you can still see the blood on the walls from some of the bull fights held there in earlier years.

The name of the plaza has changed over time. Originally it was called the "Plaza del Arrabal" but became known as the "Plaza Mayor".

In 1812, following a decree all the major plazas of Spain were renamed "Plaza de la Constitución", in honour of the Constitution of 1812. 

The plaza had this name until the restoration of the Borbón king in 1814 when it became known as the "Plaza Real". The plaza once again held the name "Plaza de la Constitución" in the periods from 1820 to 1823, 1833 to 1835, and 1840 to 1843.
In 1873, the name changed to "Plaza de la República", and then back to "Plaza de la Constitución" from the restoration of Alfonso XII in 1876 to the dictatorship of Primo de Rivera in 1922. A proclamation of the Second Spanish Republic gave the plaza the name of "Plaza de la Constitución" until the end of the Spanish Civil War when the plaza was renamed the "Plaza Mayor," the name it bears to date.

The Plaza Mayor has been the scene of multitudinous events: markets, bullfights, soccer games, public executions, and, during the Spanish Inquistion, "autos de fe" against supposed heretics and the executions of those condemned to death. The Plaza Mayor also has a ring of old and traditional shops and cafes under its porticoes. Celebrations for San Isidro, patron saint of Madrid, are also held here. The Plaza Mayor is now a major tourist attraction, visited by thousands of tourists a year. 

Relaxing on Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Comunidad de Madrid, Spain
Relaxing on Plaza Mayor, Madrid, Spain
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Plaza de Cibeles Madrid Travel Information

18th Century Cibeles Fountain at Night, Madrid, Spain
18th Century Cibeles Fountain at Night, Madrid, Spain
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The Plaza de Cibeles is an attractive square featuring a famous sculpture with fountains that have been adopted as one of the prominent symbols for the city of Madrid.

The fountain of Cibeles is found in the part of Madrid commonly called the Paseo de Recoletos. It depicts the goddess Cibeles (Cybele), the Phrygian goddess of fertility, who is seen sitting on a chariot and being pulled by two lions. On one side of the fountain of Cibeles, the Paseo de Recoletos starts, heading north to join up with the Paseo de la Castellana. On the other side, the Paseo del Prado begins and heads off south, towards the fountain of Neptune, in the Plaza de Cánovas del Castillo, and on until Atocha. Up until the 19th century both the fountain of Neptune and Cibeles looked directly at each other, until the city council decided to turn them round to face towards the centre of the city.

Calle Alcalá is the street which intersects the fountain from east to west. Calle Alcalá starts in the Puerta del Sol and continues on to the outskirs of Madrid. On the corners of Cibeles ‘square’ the old headquarters of the Spanish Postal Service (Correos y Telégrafos) and nowadays the Mayor's Office is found. On another corner the Bank of Spain is found and opposite to the General Staff Headquarters of the Spanish Army. The East side of the square is occupied by the Palace of Linares, that currently hosts the Casa de América.

The Cibeles fountain was built in the reign of Charles (Carlos) III and designed by Ventura Rodríguez between 1777 and 1782. The goddess and chariot are the work of Francisco Gutiérrez and the lions by Roberto Michel.

The fountain of Cibeles has been adopted by the football team Real Madrid as the place to celebrate it triumphs in major competitions such as the Champions League, La Liga or Spanish Copa del Rey.

Plaza de Cibeles, Cibeles Fountain, Madrid, Madrid, Spain
Plaza de Cibeles, Cibeles Fountain, Madrid, Madrid, Spain
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Subway station (Metro de Madrid): Banco de España (line 2).
Puerta del Sol Madrid Travel Information
The Puerta del Sol (Spanish for "Gate of the Sun") is one of the most well known and busiest places in Madrid. This is the centre (Km 0) of the radial network of Spanish roads. The square also contains the famous clock whose bells mark the traditional eating of the Twelve Grapes and the beginning of a new year. The New Year's celebration has been broadcast live on TV since 31 December 1962.

The Puerta del Sol originated as one of the gates in the city wall that surrounded Madrid in the 15th century. Outside the wall, medieval suburbs began to grow around the Christian Wall of the 12th century. The name of the gate came from the rising sun which decorated the entry, since the gate was oriented to the east.

Between the 17th and 19th centuries, the area was an important meeting place: as the goal for the couriers coming from abroad and other parts of Spain to the Post Office, it was visited by those eager for the latest news.

Puerta Del Sol, Madrid, Spain
Puerta Del Sol, Madrid, Spain
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The stairs to the Saint Philip church at the square were known as the Gradas de San Felipe, and were among the most prolific mentideros de la Corte (approx. trans. would be "lie-spreaders of the Court").
Puerta Del Sol, Madrid, Spain
Puerta Del Sol, Madrid, Spain
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The House of the Post Office was built by French Architect Jacques Marquet between 1766 and 1768. The building was the headquarters of the Ministry of Interior and State Security during the Francisco Franco dictatorship. It is currently the seat of the Presidency of the Madrid Community.

Famous buildings and landmarks

  • Bear and the Madroño Tree, heraldic symbol of Madrid
  • Monument to King Charles III
  • The kilómetro cero (kilometer zero) on the pavement in front of the House of the Post Office.
  • The Tío Pepe advertisement is a landmark

The Puerta del Sol contains a number of well known sights associated both domestically and internationally with Spain. On the south side, the old Post Office serves as the office of the President of Madrid, the head of the regional government of the Autonomous Community of Madrid (not to be confused with the Madrid City Council, which is housed elsewhere). Also on its south side, the square holds a mounted statue of Charles III of Spain, nicknamed "el rey alcalde" ("the king mayor") due to the extensive public works programme he set in motion. The famous Tio Pepe lighted sign is above the square's eastern building between the Calle de Alcalá and the Carrera de San Jerónimo. On the north side lies a statue of a bear and a madrone tree (madroño), the heraldic symbol of Madrid. The Mariblanca (actually Venus) marks the place of a former fountain.

The kilómetro cero is a plaque on the ground directly north of the Post Office serving as the symbolic center of Spain. In addition to signaling the basis of numbering in the Spanish road system, the symbolic nature of the plaza ensures that it is the site of many rallies and protests, particularly against violence and war. Sol has seen protests against the terrorism perpetrated by ETA, the March 11th attacks on commuter trains, and Spain's involvement in the Iraq War.

Location in Madrid

The Puerta is located in the very heart of Madrid. Immediately to the southwest lies the Plaza Mayor; the Palacio Real, the official home of the Royal Family, is further west. Parliament and the museum district are to the east and the train station Atocha is to the southeast.


Latest update: April 10, 2017