First look at Madrid’s newest luxury hotel, The Rosewood Villa Magna

Jan 26, 2022

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Editor’s note: The Rosewood Villa Magna provided a complimentary stay so that TPG could get an early look a the property’s renovations. The opinions expressed below are entirely those of the author and weren’t subject to review by Rosewood or any external entity.


Spain’s capital city is ready and waiting to host luxury travelers — whenever they end up returning. The Rosewood Villa Magna is the third marquee luxury hotel to open its doors in Madrid during the pandemic (the others being the Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid and the Four Seasons Madrid), with more on the way, including an outpost of the Edition.

But the Rosewood Villa Magna has a very different ambiance than the Four Seasons and the Ritz. Slightly farther from the city’s main tourist center, yet still easily reached from the major sights, the Rosewood takes pride of place in Madrid’s high-end Salamanca neighborhood, where guests can trade tourist crowds for more local experiences, like exploring some of the city’s best shopping and dining.

A view from the Rosewood, overlooking Paseo de la Castellana and beyond. (Photo by Lori Zaino/The Points Guy)

Formerly the Villa Magna Hotel (and before that, the Anglada Palace), the property reopened as the Rosewood Villa Magna in late 2021 after an extensive renovation. The hotel has a more muted, less flashy opulence than many of its competitors, making for a peaceful oasis off a busy street where visitors can unwind after a day of business or sightseeing.

From the original embroidered art piece by Jacky Puzey framing the reception area to the luminous stained-glass wall behind the main spiral staircase to the lobby’s roaring fireplace, the hotel manages to feel like a contemporary art and social hub and tranquil retreat all at the same time.

History, renovation and ambiance

The building that once stood on Paseo de la Castellana, 22 was the Anglada Palace, which dated back to 1870. A lavish Spanish villa, the property featured a Moorish garden reminiscent of the courtyard patios in the Alhambra in Granada, according to pictures of it from that era.

However, the palace was destroyed in the 1960s, and in its place, the Villa Magna Hotel was built, opening its doors in 1972.

Almost 50 years later, the hotel has been renovated and reflagged as the new Rosewood Villa Magna. The only remnants of its former grandeur are the two cedar trees that loom over the hotel’s entrance.

The concept of the hotel is evidenced by its name, “Villa” Magna. The modern hotel has over 150 guestrooms and suites, but it was designed to feel like you’re staying in a private villa. The spaces do emit a certain understated sense of privacy, which is highly coveted within a busy city, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. The hotel’s lighting is also interestingly deployed to create both intimate, moody spaces for drinks or private conversations, and also brighter areas with natural light for remote work meetings over coffee, as well as to play up the collection of art pieces curated by ArtLink.

Guestrooms and suites

Guests at this hotel are playing the view lottery with their room selection. On one visit you could be treated to expansive views of Madrid’s rooftops, watching the cars glide along Castellana, even glimpsing the campanile-like roof of the Bellas Artes building in the distance. The next, you might not be so lucky, facing panoramas of the indistinguishable office buildings at the back of the hotel.

However, even the lowest category Deluxe Rooms come with all the accouterments as you’ll find in larger ones. Namely, fragrant bath amenities by Maison Caulieres, linens by Rivolta Carmignani and treats like Marshall speakers, Nespresso machines with plenty of capsules, artsy coffee table books and French brand Palais des Thés tea bags. Bathrooms are spacious and clad in grey-veined marble. Each room and suite has a different layout: Some come with bathtubs, others just with showers, some have one sink and others double sinks.

I stayed in room 620, a one-bedroom Villa Magna Suite at the very end of the hallway on the sixth floor, with views overlooking Castellana and the city beyond. The hotel uses wood-style key cards, which is a nice departure from your average plastic variety.

Walking in, there was a small powder room and closet to my right, and straight on, a large living room that could seat a group of at least six people. Unfortunately, due to COVID, I wasn’t hosting any gatherings there. But the space (and it was a lot of space — 700 square feet, to be exact) definitely fit the concept of the hotel — it felt like my very own wing of the “villa.”

A focal point was the large bar area adjacent to the sofa and chairs, stocked with glassware, a bottle of gin, a Nespresso machine and various metal décor items. Below the bar, the mirror-surfaced minibar was filled with alcoholic beverages, soft drinks, water and snacks. A table with chairs sat underneath the window so guests could admire the view or flip through one of the coffee table books provided.

The bedroom featured a black and white zigzag carpet, a velvety armchair, a small desk, mirror and chair by the window you could use for working or applying makeup, and a king bed. The room had the same views of La Castellana as the living room. On either side of the bed, there were European plugs and USB charging options, plus light switches for soft or bright illumination.

The textures of the suite felt modern, inviting and decisive thanks to touches like a bold red accent wall, tweed-like fabrics and various metallic elements and finishes. The drapes were a sensible beige, blacking out light for a solid night’s sleep.

Upon settling in, I made a beeline for the sweets tray and a small bottle of Cava that had been placed on the coffee table with a welcome note. Then, I enjoyed a long soak in the bathtub while playing my favorite podcast on the Marshall speaker and sipping the sparkling wine. The shower was also decked out in marble, but I was surprised to see it didn’t sport a rainfall showerhead — it likely wouldn’t pass the famed TPG shower test, though I’m too short to know for sure.

While some of the lower category rooms had dual sinks, this suite’s bathroom held just one. The amenities were from Maison Caulieres: fresh, invigorating and pungent. Eco-friendly travelers may be pleased to note that the shampoo, body wash, conditioner and body lotion came in large pump jars. Hygiene-conscious travelers, on the other hand, might be surprised and a bit turned off by the fact that you’re essentially sharing these amenities with the guests who come before and after you. Besides the toilet, there was also a bidet in the bathroom, typical of many European hotels.

The walk-in closet was large and ideal for travelers with lots of luggage. By the time I arrived in the room, staff had placed my suitcase on the marble shelf and hung up my coat. The closet also had slippers (robes were hanging in the bathroom), shoe trees and a safe.

(Photo by Lori Zaino/The Points Guy)

It’s worth noting that the hotel’s signature suites aren’t ready yet. Once finished, the one-bedroom Salamanca Suite will boast a massive terrace perfect for hosting an intimate dinner party. The two-bedroom Anglada Suite, an ode to the name of the former palace, will have a terrace, two full bathrooms and even a private gym and sauna.

Dining: An ode to Cantabria

Many U.S. travelers may not be familiar with Cantabria, a region in northern Spain famous for its seafood. Dining at the Rosewood Villa Magna gives a bit of context to this unsung gem of Spain’s gastronomy scene, trading the typical croquettes and paella for some of Cantabria’s more underrated delicacies like anchovies and river cockles.

The hotel’s restaurant, Amós, is named after head chef Jesús Sánchez’s grandfather, a well-respected cook from a village in Cantabria, who inspired Sánchez’s first restaurant, the three-Michelin star El Cenador de Amós, along with this one.

 

The tasting menu at Amós is not for those looking for typical tourist fare. It’s for those looking to expand their palettes with nuanced flavors and leave with a deeper understanding of the variety and scope of Spanish cuisine. With the 87 euro ($99) tasting menu (excluding drinks), diners can sample the famed Cantabrian anchovy which is salted, de-boned and soaked in oil (it melted in my mouth), chard stuffed with cured beef, sumptuous caramelized duck pâté, lusciously flaky hake with tender river cockles and steak sirloin with buttery Cantabrian cheese, among other northern Spanish delights.

Tardeo Bar is dark and inviting for a pre or after-dinner drink. I took a table in a corner and wished I was cool enough to like Negronis — the waiter mentioned it offers a Negroni tasting including dry, medium, sweet and bitter options. Instead, I opted for a glass of Oloroso sherry, followed by a Parras, one of the hotel’s three signature cocktails, made with mezcal, Sauvignon Blanc, carrot, orange shrub and citric acid.

The courtyard patio outside of Tardeo is open now, complete with heat lamps and a fireplace for anyone who wants a cocktail al fresco. Currently, the hotel is working to landscape its other outdoor spaces, which will be open come spring and summer when everything blooms.

 

The Rosewood breakfast was available at Las Brasas de Castellana, the other restaurant in the hotel. I’m always intrigued to see how hotels reimagine their breakfast buffets given the requirements and restrictions of the COVID-19 era.

The buffet had only bread and pastries. Everything else was a la carte. I walked up and served myself a croissant and a slice of fresh grain bread, then ordered orange juice, coffee, poached eggs with tomatoes, a side of sauteed kale and fresh berries.

Travelers that need a break for tea time should stop into the Rosewood’s Flor y Nata patisserie. The pastry selection is almost too beautiful to eat, seemingly more French than Cantabrian, and the tea selection is similarly expansive. I ordered Pu’er tea — which tasted like velvety chocolate and arrived in a beautiful kettle — and both lemon and rich chocolate pastries.

Relaxation at the Sense Spa

While I’m not sure that Madrid is a prime destination for spa-goers, anyone who wants a massage after a long day of museum-hopping or a refreshing facial with products like Evidens or Ayuna before a night out will love the chic, new facilities at the Sense Spa (Rosewood’s proprietary label), which include a dimmed relaxation room with comfortable chairs and orange peel-infused tea. With details like votive candles and copper tubs for a foot rinse in each treatment room, the spa experience from start to finish is all about pampering.

The gym is small, but the thermal area makes up for it, with a large, white whirlpool tub as a focal point, surrounded by a steam room, sauna and traditional Moroccan hammam (this is the only hotel in Madrid to feature one). Hammam services cost extra —- the signature 60-minute Mayrit Hamam Ritual costs 145 euros ($165) — but the whirlpool, steam room and sauna are accessible to hotel guests for free.

How to get the most out of your stay

The Rosewood Villa Magna sits patiently in all its renovated glory, waiting to host shoppers, foodies, business travelers and those looking to be near, but not in, Madrid’s busy tourist center. Room rates at the hotel start at 800 euros ($908) per night. Junior suites start at 1,300 euros ($1,476) per night and Villa Magna Suites start at 2,300 euros ($2,612) per night. Booking the hotel via Amex Fine Hotels + Resorts confers additional perks like complimentary daily breakfast for two, complimentary lunch or dinner for two (excluding alcohol, taxes and gratuities), 4 p.m. late checkout, 12 p.m. check-in (when available), a room upgrade based on availability and complimentary Wi-Fi.

If you can’t swing a stay here but want to check out the property, consider sampling the Cantabrian cuisine at Amós or getting a tea and pastry at Flor y Nata by the fireplace during your next visit to Madrid.

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