The streets of Madrid, Spain are radiating heat on this July afternoon. Most of Europe is experiencing a miserable mid-summer heat wave, as is most of the Northern Hemisphere.
Daily temperatures hover near the 100-degree mark. That’s high 30s in centigrade, but you know that already.
Like many Americans—most of them stuck in long lines at the airport—we are traveling again. This month, it’s thirty days across Spain, from Madrid, south to Cordoba, further south to Malaga on the Costa Del Sol.
Madrid, the geographical center of Spain, is the first and last stop on our trip. Just 10 minutes’ walk down Calle Atocha from Madrid’s Golden Triangle of Art — the Museo del Prado, Museo Thyssen-Bornemisza, and the Museo Reina Sofia—and Atocha central train station, is our discreet and dynamic oasis.
Up a few steps from the busy, bustling street, barely marked by a outdoor wall sign, the Atocha Hotel Madrid, part of Hilton’s Tapestry Collection, is our home for the next few days.
The blast of cold air in the lobby feels just as friendly as Barbara, the helpful desk clerk whose English, like most Spanish hotel staffers, has a lilt and a lisp (It’s a long story.).
Atocha Hotel Madrid hotel staff were exceedingly helpful during our stay, from check-in to check-out, eager to accommodate any need or request. (There weren’t many. We’re not that type of guest.)
The smartly decorated Atocha Hotel Madrid is a converted apartment building with 46 guest rooms—King Guest, King Deluxe, and King Superior— and one more that we found fascinating, our King “Five Feet to Fitness” room.
This is just what it sounds like. There is a training apparatus in the middle of the living room, specifically a training bar with pull-up grips, yoga mat and medicine balls. Hop out of bed and walk straight into your workout.
We never availed ourselves of that opportunity as our daily workout for about 30 days of European travel consisted of walking at least five miles every day, in what is like most European countries, a very walkable location.
We never took the elevators, either, but that’s on us.
The 506 square-foot room was beautifully decorated and furnished with a sinful king bed, living room convertible couch, minibar, a 55-inch HDTV which we never seemed to watch, free wifi, and plenty of USB chargers.
(Full disclosure: As with most of our travel arrangements, our room stay was comped by Hilton in exchange for editorial coverage, but we were so pleased by the Atocha that we purchased a third night at a discounted media rate.)
Our stay included breakfast at the hotel restaurant—Atocha 107—which was a reassuring and comfortable sight each morning. Atocha 107, managed by chef Joaquin Felipe, features a wide variety of pastries, juices, meats, (Iberian ham!) cheeses, cereals and perfect coffee.
As welcoming as breakfast was, dinner in the Atocha 107’s outdoor courtyard terrace on our last night, was postcard perfect. At just about 9 p.m. as the summer skies of Madrid were still bright blue, we were the only ones in the terrace.
The day’s soaring temperatures had begun to drop slightly, spray misters kept us cool, and life seemed perfectly still. As the skies darkened, the terrace walkway lights came on, casting the evening in shades of warm amber.
The menu changes daily, but we feasted on freshly baked bread, a soothingly cool Gazpacho (of course), ravioli, and a succulent, perfectly cooked roast chicken, followed by chocolate ice cream. We could have eaten twice as slowly and sat there for hours, it was all so perfect.
And you’re dreaming about all that now. Check your calendars.
Atocha Hotel Madrid, Tapestry Collection by Hilton, Calle Atocha 107, Madrid, 28012, Spain