Madrid, Spain

Photo: Palladium Hotel Group

After a delay before takeoff, an overnight flight, and long lines at customs once you finally landed in Madrid, you’re exhausted. Just one of those things on their own would have tired you, but the combination of the three has wiped you out. What was supposed to be a full day of sightseeing will have to be modified. Now you need a strong cup of coffee, a shower, and a place to decompress. Luckily, you’ll feel right at home at your hotel.

In just six stops, the light rail transports you from the airport to Madrid Atocha, the largest train station in the city. Then you cross the busy Paseo de la Infanta Isabel—it’s really that easy—to reach a huge, 19th-century building that was recently converted into Only YOU Atocha. Usually you wouldn’t stay right near a big transportation hub. But the hotel has views up Calle de Alfonso XII and across Retiro Park. There’s a rooftop restaurant with a terrace that wraps around it. Plus, as you’re about to see, it has a hip, dare we say hipster, vibe that would fit in New York quite easily.

As soon as you walk into the lobby, you feel at ease. You can definitely hang out here. In fact, you want to hang out here. There’s an undulating bookshelf surrounded by leather chairs. The open room spreads into Coctelería Trotamundos, a casual restaurant that serves street food-style plates and interesting cocktails. There’s a bakery, where you’ll soon return for a café con hielo and a still-warm pastry, to the other side. While the check-in desk is practically hidden in a back corner.

Photo: Palladium Hotel Group

The cool vibe continues upstairs in the seven-story building, as well. The corridors are lined with red stripes and stenciled numbers. The rooms look like converted lofts with brick walls, wooden floors, and lots of natural light. Your corner junior suite is full of amenities. The media hub has Bluetooth, HDMI, and USB connections. There’s a rain shower, flashy bathrobes, and a hair straightener in the white-tiled bathroom. Even the hangers say, “you look great in that.” You quickly unpack, refuse to let yourself take even just a quick nap, take a quick shower, and head back downstairs for that much-needed coffee.

As you drink your coffee with ice, you try to decide how to reschedule your day. The Reina Sofía Museum, the Prado Museum, and lots of shopping can wait until tomorrow. So can exercising—though you’re excited to hear that there’s a running station set up to provide route suggestions, towels, and water bottles—and a beard trim at the old-school Malditos Bastardos Barbería. Instead, you decide to go upstairs to Séptima for a lazy brunch. The sun-filled room, the hanging plants, and a strong gin and tonic will surely wake you up as you eat everything from artisan yogurt and homemade cake to oysters and smoked meat.

By the time you finish, you’ll be ready for a siesta and then a stroll in Retiro Park before tapas and jazz later tonight. After a slow start, you finally feel ready to take on Madrid now that you feel at home.

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