The Spanish capital has embraced 2017 with new hip hotels, cool bars, top restaurants and world-class arts exhibitions. It's time you booked your ticket to Madrid.
Only You Atocha
Madrid's hotel scene has never been so dynamic, and the new Only You property in Atocha is a showcase of all that's cool and on-trend in the city right now. With a bold, urban aesthetic, the Only You Atocha has dedicated its ground floor to being a seriously hip lobby bar and restaurant area created by acclaimed interior designer Lázaro Rosa Violán. Relax with a morning coffee from The Bakery by Mama Framboise; lunch in the buzzing Trotamundos restaurant; then later get the evening started with cocktails at the hotel's bar.
Urso Hotel & Spa
The pioneer of boutique luxury in Madrid, the Urso now represents surprisingly good value for chic accommodation in the city. This neoclassical building has sophisticated interiors, and elegant uncluttered rooms. Try the new Media Ración restaurant by Fernando Cuenllas, with a menu of sophisticated, artisan tapas and sharing plates.
Bodega de los Secretos
This labyrinthine, underground restaurant was the oldest winery in the city, but now it's a stylish restaurant serving modern Spanish cuisine. The menu has lots of appetising choices - popular dishes, prepared and presented in the restaurant's distinctive style.
Don't think it is claustrophobic, it's spacious and light, especially in the part that has double height ceilings. The best thing about the old wine storage areas is that many of the tables there are in their own alcove, so you have a real feeling of privacy.
During the renovations, the bodega revealed many of the secrets of its 400-year history, from the times of the insurgence against Napoleon, to the Spanish Civil War.
Created by the Villalón brothers, and named after their grandmother, Angelita is a new wine bar and basement cocktail bar - found in Calle Reina, at the epicentre of Madrid's mixology scene. Downstairs in the basement is the smart Bar Americano, open from 5pm. With a compelling urban atmosphere, expect some theatre and showmanship as your cocktail is prepared. Choose a classic like a Martínez, or Whiskey Sour; alternatively, sip something more exotic like an Acapulco.
Upstairs is a sophisticated wine bar with over 500 wines (some 25 by the glass) accompanied by a modern, seasonal menu made with ingredients from the brother's organic vegetable garden on the edge of Madrid.
Hermosos y Malditos
This smart cocktail bar and restaurant is the place to go when in Madrid's chic Salamanca district. Contemporary, unpretentious, and well-priced, it's a real find in such a fancy neighbourhood. Taking its name from F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, The Beautiful and Damned, this restaurant and bar is stylish yet accessible, with superb cuisine.
Chocolatería San Ginés
A visit to Madrid means churros with hot chocolate. There are several classic as well as contemporary venues, but the Chocolatería San Ginés is certainly among the best. Order a selection of both the thin churros with piped edges and the thick 'porras' version which has lots of hollow gaps, perfect for soaking up the hot chocolate as you dip them.
Gastronomic food courts are all too often over-rated, but the Platea, within an art deco former cinema is a must for food-lovers. Where the stalls seating once was, is now a multi-level dining experience. Choose from the myriad gourmet offerings and then find a seat and enjoy. Tapas, sushi, pintxos, international cuisines, vermut, artisan beers, wines - you'll find it all. Head upstairs to the circle and you'll be able to indulge in a gourmet fine-dining experience at 'Arriba', by chef Ramón Freixa.
Devour Madrid Food Tour
Getting to know and truly experience a city is best done wandering around on foot. If you like to try new foods too, then consider letting an expert guide help you discover Madrid. Devour Madrid, part of Devour Spain, has several city tours including the fascinating Tapas, Taverns & History Tour that introduces you to local and Spanish specialities, while also enabling you to see the capital from a fresh perspective, thanks to a real insight into Madrid's history.
Devour Spain has now expanded to include tours in Barcelona, Seville, and Malaga, with experiences that embrace tapas, Spanish history, flamenco and wine.
A former livestock market and slaughterhouse is now the city's coolest arts and cultural centres. The early 20th century architecture has been restored, creating a vast multi-venue site, home to the national dance company as well as theatre spaces, galleries, exhibition halls, and workshops. Adjacent to the centre are some fascinating glass house pavilions filled with exotic plants from different global climate zones.
An alternative arts venue, where you can take in seasonal exhibitions, workshops and shows.
If you speak Spanish then enjoy these innovative, short theatre pieces by emerging artists. Each is 15 minutes long, with only 15 people in the audience, in a space of only 15 square metres.
In addition to the alternative arts scene, the three unmissable city galleries are Reina Sofia, the Prado Museum, and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum.