“The Urban Hotel is truly an icon of modernity, avant-garde, gastronomy and luxury. Charm and glamor are combined, creating an exclusive environment in the center of the Spanish capital.”
Located in the heart of the city’s “Golden Triangle,” formed by the El Prado Museum, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, and the Reina Sofía National Art Museum, only a few meters from the city's main tourist attractions, such as Puerta del Sol, Plaza Mayor and the Parque del Retiro park.
During my stays, I took full advantage of the location. I visited Parque del Retiro twice, which is only a 12-minute walk from the hotel. On my first visit, I took a walk through a portion of the park and stopped for an Americano and to do some people-watching. The following day I took a 6-mile (9-kilometer) run through the park. The park is huge, and even with a 9 Kilometer run, I only covered a portion of the park.
During my time in Spain, I initially spent time in Madrid, then in Barcelona, and finally back to Madrid for one last night before my departing flight from Madrid-Barajas Airport (MAD) the following day.
Upon my return to Madrid from Barcelona, I could have stayed closer to the airport, maybe that was the most practical move, or I could have stayed in a different part of the city to explore more, but because my initial stay at The Hotel Urban was so outstanding, I opted to spend my final night in Madrid there.
I do not handle missing a night of sleep well. When you fly from the states to Europe all flights are in the evening and you arrive in Europe in the morning, meaning that you miss out on a night of beauty rest. This was top of mind for me on my day of departure from the states. So much so, that I emailed the hotel asking about a potential earlier check-in. I wasn’t expecting much if anything at all, nevertheless I figured it wouldn’t hurt to ask in advance. The Hotel Urban not only read the email but also called me, twice! Unfortunately, I was boarding a flight and couldn’t speak, but they persisted and followed up with me via email regarding my request. I was taken aback by the service that I was already receiving, and I hadn’t even checked into the hotel yet.
I’m usually not a lounge-by-the-pool type of guy, but I spent an entire afternoon poolside. It was very vibie. Maybe it’s the environment the hotel created, maybe it’s the type of clientele that the hotel attracts, but the pool area is very chill. People read books, dipped their toes in the water, and chatted quietly with their lounge chair neighbors or companions. They had fresh towels for all, a full-time pool attendant, and servers from the bar making sure you were all taken care of with your refreshments. Me, I had 1 Nordes gin and tonic, and almost faded into a blissful nap poolside, after being mostly awake for two days.
Turndown Service: a service that is offered in some hotels in which the evening guest room is made ready for them to sleep in, for example turning down the bed top covers. Different hotels will provide different turndown services. Don’t worry, this is mostly new to me too.
At The Hotel Urban, they would close the curtains, place floor mats on each side of the bed, so your tootsies don’t touch the cold floor in the morning, and placed a piece of chocolate on the nightstands as well. On my second stay, they placed a fresh-cut rose in my room, which I thought was a rather lovely touch as well.
Must-Visit Nearby Restaurants
La Rollerie is my second favorite café in Madrid, through no fault of their own. If you’ve been following along and read my review of Murillo Café, I think you’d be able to understand why.
I noticed La Rollerie before even checking into Hotel Urban. As the taxi was getting closer, I was keeping an eye out for somewhere that looked inviting to grab some breaky once I had checked in.
La Rollerie, sit prominently on the corner of a building right at an intersection, about a block before Hotel Urban. It has a massive storefront window that you can peep in to view all of the I’m-cheating-on-diet-today-pastries that they have available. It’s a 1-minute walk from the hotel, about 85 meters.
La Cabana Argentina
Upon my return to Madrid, I had to purchase a new piece of luggage to make my return trip to the states more convenient. Don’t ask, I overpacked and didn’t have room to take back the stuff I bought!
While checking in I asked the hotel staff if they had any recommendations on where I might be able to find a new suitcase. They had recommended a local shop not far from the hotel. The magic here is that this particular shop was down a street I hadn’t yet journeyed down before, C. de Ventura de la Vega. To my pleasant surprise, I was passing a bunch of restaurants that I wish I had known were there earlier in the week on my first visit. (Deep regret was sinking in.)
It was Siesta time, so a lot of the restaurants were closed, but I hadn’t eaten since breakfast in Barcelona and baby was hungry (I’m baby here). I got the suitcase, walked it back to the hotel, thanked the staff for the recommendation, and immediately left again to visit La Cabana Argentina.
They offer an array of Argentinian dishes, I just had a grilled sausage, and their sauteed vegetables, cuz ya know health. It’s a 1-minute walk, in the other direction, about 75 meters.
Warm and Fuzzies
If you are unfamiliar, a wow moment is when someone or an organization goes out of their way to capitalize on a “moment” to make that moment special for you. An example could be, taking a new employee out to lunch on their first day, unexpectedly buying your assistant her favorite wine to show your appreciation for her hard work, putting up with your incessant rants, or unexpectedly sending a woodworking book to your friend who just picked up the hobby due to COVID. The key tenets of a well-executed wow moment would be – uniquely relevant to that individual, unexpected, typically low budget, and easily executed. An organization that makes a habit of creating wow moments for their patrons will drive deep client loyalty, the kind that creates fans for life.
The Hotel Urban has a practice in place: any time a guest has feedback, good or bad, a note gets logged. This allows the next staff member who would be interacting with the guest to look quickly at the previous notes and be able to leverage that information to make that guest even more comfortable.
In my case, at check-out, I expressed how much I enjoyed my stay(s) at the hotel. Instead of it being a passing comment and disappearing into the ether, the staff member checking me out made a note of it on their system. When the hotel reached out to me to write a review for TripAdvisor, as they do all guests, it wasn’t a blanket systematic email coming from a “don’t reply” email account, it was an individual writing me a unique email about my stay. In the email, they referenced the kind remarks I made at check-out. This made me feel heard and a little special. Yeah, I’ll say it, it made me feel special.
Just this simple account of listening and logging a note made a very favorable impression on me. My friends at The Hotel Urban have certainly created a fan for life in me.
Being away from my day-to-day always inspires me. I gain new perspectives, start to think of the world differently, and most importantly how I move through the world. Often, it gives me the freedom to think bigger, to think outside of the box that is my typical day-to-day. Sometimes this inspiration is passing thoughts, but in this instance, because of the excellent experience that I had at The Hotel Urban, I’ve been duly inspired to stay at every Derby Branded hotel - Paris, London, and Barcelona. See you soon!
10 outta 10: Would enthusiastically recommend it! Cheers!