Bless — Madrid, Spain
A hotspot for Madrid’s elite when it first opened in 1946, the iconic Gran Hotel Velazquez has been given a second lease of life as the first outpost of Bless, a new collection of stylish urban retreats and beachside destinations from Ibiza-based Palladium Hotel Group.
Located in the city’s upscale Salamanca District, an energetic half-hour stride from attractions such as the Museo del Prado or Plaza Mayor, the 111-room property is the work of prolific Barcelona-based designer Lázaro Rosa-Violan, who layered the building’s original details, from the grand marble staircase to the glass dome, with contemporary touches that give a true sense of place – like the bed headboards and wall murals in the guestrooms that reference 19th-century Madrid with hunting scenes and country landscapes.
On the ground floor in Versus – originally called Ruleta – sip on cocktails under a roulette wheel ceiling installation, while in Etxeko, which is dominated by a central crystal pen that holds a life-size bull, cast in silver alloy, chef Martín Berasategui justifies his 10 Michelin stars with a menu based on the Basque standards of high quality raw ingredients, like the delicious oxtail cannelloni served on a bed of mashed potatoes and drizzled with a tempraillo bordeaux sauce, or the red tuna hot off the Josper Grill.
Come summer, Pico Pardos Sky Lounge will be the best place for a nightcap and views of the Golden Metropolis and beyond. §