For the worldly and cultured traveler; Hotel Urban makes its case as the ideal fusion of art, history and a lofty mark of sophistication.
In recent years, Barcelona’s bustling nightlife and San Sebastian’s scenic beaches might have garnered much spotlight among Spain’s most popular destinations. Madrid, on the other hand, has been quietly brewing its captivating draw. Exquisite cafés inspired by Bohemian influential artists in Barrio de Las Letras, Malasaña’s hipster shops, the “Golden Mile” in Salamanca are just a few out of numerous reasons that Madrid is having a moment of rebirth right about now. In the center of it all, quite literally, is Hotel Urban. For years, it has attracted twenty-something Madrileños to spend late nights at its swanky hotel bars. Today, it continues to thrive with unique art collections and fabulous suites.
Situated near the bustling Habsburgs Madrid, Hotel Urban is within walking distance from the city’s most prominent focal point: the museum triangle which distinctively connects Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum and the Reina Sofia Foundation. Adding to its convenience for vacationers seeking to explore more sites, the trendy hotel is minutes away from the historical Plaza de la Villa and Madrid’s utmost luscious Retiro Park. On any carefree afternoon, shoppers eager to browse through high-end Spanish brands like Loewe, Balenciaga or Massimo Dutti can easily head right on over to Gran Vía, as it’s merely a few steps away, along with the city’s most vibrant nightlife hotspots.
Before entering the modern opulence of Hotel Urban, one must understand the pillar behind its renowned trademark: Derby Hotel Collection, a brand known to uphold an authentic assortment of luxury that seamlessly combines culture, ancient history and art. Today, there are 14 Derby hotels dotted throughout major cities around Europe. Founded in 1968, the prestigious Spanish hotel group is now under the helm of Catalan entrepreneur, Jordi Clos, who happens to be a charismatic Egyptian art collector and the man behind Clos Archaeological Foundation that owns the Egyptian Museum of Barcelona. Due to the hotelier’s massive private Egyptian art collection, Hotel Urban proudly exudes Northern Africa’s antique artifacts throughout its lavish building.
From a glamorous lobby to high-ceilings that catapult luminous Loft Suites, Hotel Urban boasts an uncommon amalgam of Art Nouveau, Art Deco, Egyptian sculptures and modern paintings. In some rooms, guests can marvel at collections of Chinese pieces from the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as Indian figurines from the 19th century. Clos has famously said,
“Our materials are always unique, from the sculptures and the paintings to the marble in the bathrooms or the wood of the tables. The buildings are design by me and for me; I design them the way I like.”
The 96 stylish rooms include: Loft Suites, Suites, Junior Suites, Junior Duplex Suites and Superior Rooms. The Loft Suites deserve an honorable mention since the duplex features two floors embellished by four meters of floor-to-ceiling glass windows that grace over the view of Carrera de San Jerónimo. The enormity of natural light that shines into the room delivers a grandiose space, integrating comfort and design highlighted by limestone and green marble from Guatemala, Wengue wood, tropical teak and black stone from Zimbabwe.
It wouldn’t be a Derby Hotel if gastronomy didn’t play an essential part to a traveler’s getaway. There are four areas to wine and dine inside Hotel Urban, with CEBO Restaurant serving the hotel’s elaborate breakfast buffet. Currently awaiting a new project to unveil in the fall season, CEBO and its years of Michelin stars will shift to the creative minds of revered chefs Javier Sanz and Juan Sahuquillo who have bursted into the scene of haute cuisine in recent years. Glass Bar, the hotel’s cocktail lounge, is also presently transitioning to a new phase. For vino aficionados, indulge in exclusive bottles stored in a hidden wine cellar.
Last but not least, there’s always the Urban Terrace by the rooftop pool, featuring a wide array of tapas, snacks and tasty cocktails. Want to feel like stepping inside a private member’s club? Open daily, Urban Terrace offers an intimate exclusivity via white woods and cozy linen couches where hungry travelers can sit back with a bottle of sparkling water and a sizzling plate of saucy penne.
Best things do come in small packages, especially in reference to Hotel Urban’s rooftop pool which illustrates a splendid view of Madrid’s central heartbeat. Though only limited to guests staying at the hotel, the glistening pool is an ideal spot to sunbathe or admire the sunset casting cooler air upon a typical Spanish summer heatwave.
It’s not everyday that an art museum is displayed as a treasure trove inside a cosmopolitan hotel. At the basement level of Hotel Urban is a small museum housing original pieces of ethnological and tribal art from Papua New Guinea, undoubtedly from Jordi Clos’ personal collection. These cherished artifacts include: jewelry, clothing, accessories, diadems, knives and yam masks as ritual objects. The museum is an explanatory journey through Southwestern Pacific’s preserved traditions that remain in practice today. Look closely in the reception area and the interior atrium of the hotel, you may notice ceremonial chairs, totem poles and ancestral figures discovered in Tambaran – traditional ancestral worship house in the East Sepik region of Papua New Guinea.
The next time you find yourself planning a trip to Madrid, be sure to reserve a few nights at Hotel Urban. For family travelers that prefer the practicality of downtown, for the artists relishing on inspiring art and the posh jetsetters that live to Instagram the in-crowd scene; there’s a place within the hotel made just for you.