silvia
Silvia Pisci
VILLA MAGNA
Paseo de la Castellana, 22, 28046 Madrid, Spain
16th January 2017

Discrete service and old-class elegance: expect no less from Villa Magna, a real institution in the Spanish capital. But is it really the best choice for any luxury traveller? Read on to find out…

Location
Villa Magna is centrally located on Paseo La Castellana, one of Madrid’s arterial roads.
The best museums, boutiques and attractions are all walking distance, while the “movida” is further away, so the area is relatively quiet at night. With its direct access to El Corte Ingles shopping mall, the hotel is an ideal choice for shopping lovers, who also avail special discounts and tax refunds.
There are taxis parked in front of the hotel all the time – a very convenient option to move around the city.
The airport is only about 15 minutes away.
Who stays?
Business men from different nationalities can be found in the common premises holding more and less formal meetings throughout the day. In the evening and during the weekend the atmosphere is decisively more relaxed and casual, with a prevalence of leisure clients, including many locals who chose Villa Magna for fancy drinks and elegant dinners.
I didn’t see any kids during my 3-days’ stay.
Style and Character
I admit I was dismayed at first when I read “Villa Magna” on top of such an ugly building: a huge block of dark aged concrete, definitely not what you would expect from a 5-star hotel in the city centre. It’s undeniable, first impression matters.
Instead, the interiors are contemporary, elegant and well kept. The cold feel of the marbles and the rigorous lines of the design are softened by an impressive collection of art pieces, warming up the common areas with vivid colours and sinuous curves. There’s a good amount of green and natural light, mostly coming from the beautiful inner patio (it’s covered and heated up in winter). Still, “cosy” is not on the list of the words I would use to describe Villa Magna, which retains a rather austere, masculine character – perfect for a business meeting, but not as much for a romantic weekend or a family holiday.
Service
Full marks to the attentive, helpful and cordial Staff. Everyone was perfectly on top his/her duty, and as I found out, most of them have been working at Villa Magna for more than a decade (i.e. before the last massive renovations in 2007). The Concierge was very knowledgeable and helped me meticulously with restaurant recommendations, city tips and airport transfers. Room service was speedy and attentive at any time of day and night, and so it was at the restaurant (more on this to follow…).
Everything was run smoothly and the whole Staff’s kind, professional attitude was nothing but commendable; I always felt in very capable hands although, to be fussy, service could have been a tiny bit more personalized.
Rooms and Suites
The 150 rooms and suites are fairly spacious (they start at 30 sqm) and elegantly furnished. The design is stylish and classic, with a prevalence of bright colours tempered by the wood and velvet of the furniture. Decorations are minimal, there aren’t any local touches to make you feel you’re in Madrid…
Wide windows open to Paseo Castelana or Calle Serrano, guaranteeing a good amount of natural light to all rooms.
In my room (a Deluxe, second category) the spacious closet was located in the bathroom, a solution I found awkward at first and then very convenient, as there’s a lot of space to get dressed and you’re directly facing a wide mirror – plus, hair dryer and other toiletries are stocked there.
Rooms from the Grand Deluxe on have separate shower and bath tub, and a complex space of 50sqm (max occupancy of 3 people) – definitely worth the upgrade from the more basic Magna and Deluxe rooms.
Food and Drink
The ambience of Restaurante Villa Magna, where breakfast lunch and dinner are served, is elegant and bright, directly accessing a lush terrace where meals can be enjoyed al fresco when season permits.
Breakfast menus are around 40 euro and include hot beverages, freshly-squeezed juices, a beautiful rich buffet and a selection of à-la-carte hot dishes. The price is adequate considering the variety and freshness of the products on the buffet but also, importantly, the fast and attentive service. I absolutely loved the porridge I ordered from the menu (a generous hot portion, light and tasty, with raisins and blueberries on the side, just as I asked); the Iberian eggs benedict are an interesting and tasty version of the original – worth a try for any egg lover visiting Madrid.

The ground floor of the hotel (right next to the patio) also hosts one of best Chinese restaurants in the city. I’ve only heard great reviews of it, but unfortunately it was full when I ventured in on Saturday evening without a reservation.
In-room dining is available 24/7, amazing to know when you come back late at night starving… The pizza I ordered was just ok. I mean, I’m Italian and I know I shouldn’t expect buffalo mozzarella or freshly-made dough when I travel abroad, especially if it’s 2 am… but I suspect it was deep-frozen, and that shouldn’t happen when you pay 24 Euro for a margherita. I appreciated the very fast service.

The patio is a beautiful venue for a mid-morning coffee, afternoon tea as well as evening cocktails – thoroughly enjoyable any time of the day.
Features, Wellness, and Amenities
The fitness centre at Villa Magna (located in the lower ground floor) is ample and very well equipped, open every day from 7am to 9pm. The wellness centre instead is quite small, comprising a few treatment rooms and a tiny Turkish bath in the ladies area. Do not expect a fully equipped Spa with pools and relax area (as I did, mistakenly). There’s a whole variety of treatments offered, all to be booked in advance. Both wellness area and fitness centre are open to non-guests.
Perceived Value
Rates at Villa Magna start at EUR 350 per night (Magna Room). It’s not exactly cheap, especially if you need to add breakfast on top… but when service is impeccable this is a fair price to pay.
Verdict
There is a reason if Villa Magna is still considered by many as the best hotel in Madrid, after over 30 years since the opening: its facilities are up to the standards of contemporary 5* hotels, and operations are masterly run by the experienced Staff. I personally missed some cosiness and warmth (both in the service and facilities), so while it’s a no-brainer for business travellers, it may not be the best choice for couples and families.