THE fast Edwardian set’s favourite Madrid hotel is back in business with a brand new look for a new century.
The Gran Hotel Ingles was a reference point for high class hospitality in Spain when it opened in 1886, boasting luxuries unheard of for the times – lifts, lighting, steam heating and bathrooms on every floor.
It quickly became the haunt of well-heeled travellers, socialites, intellectuals and artists like author Virginia Woolf and French painter Henri Matisse.
Some 130 years later, after falling into a state of disrepair, this neglected grand dame
in the Barrio de las Letras has been reborn as an Art Deco boutique hotel after a $20 million (€17 million) refit by the Rockwell Group.
Bringing the capital’s oldest luxury hotel into the 21st century was not without its challenges, including reducing the room count from 72 to 48, but many of the original features have been wittily reused in the new design.
Old wall mouldings were deconstructed and extended across the ceiling to create a pattern resembling electric circuits; time-faded photographs of guests decorate the walls; and wardrobes are lined with wallpaper copies of the hotel’s vintage postcards.
There’s even a 1920’s Great Gatsby-style library where guests can choose from over 600 books.