A sunny city containing both artifacts from ancient history and cutting-edge urban delights, Madrid offers the quintessential Spanish experience for Royal Holiday travelers who visit this thoroughly beautiful capital. From the heights of summer, when the city explodes with festivals and events, to the short days of winter, when the city’s population heads to the ski slopes in the surrounding countryside, Madrid offers something for everyone. Royal Holiday members looking for a European destination will do well to start in Madrid, where delicious food, fabulous art, and sophisticated excitement combine to produce an exceptional vacation.
Royal Holiday travelers stay at the Apartamentos Plaza Basílica, only a few blocks from the famed Paseo de la Castellana and several other Madrid landmarks. Featuring accommodations ranging from smartly appointed studios to lavish presidential suites, the hotel’s comfortable rooms include full kitchens and minibars, as well as numerous optional features, such as cribs, DVD players, and microwaves. Like most hotels of this caliber, the Apartamentos Plaza Basílica provides on-site dining options and a lobby cafe and lounge. However, its main attraction remains its central location in the city, which makes it easy for Royal Holiday members to travel to Madrid’s many fascinating sites.
Madrid’s name goes a long way toward explaining the history of this fascinating city; first recorded as “Matrice” after a nearby fort, centuries of conquest and counter-conquest brought the region under control of the Roman Empire, the Vandals, the Visigoths, and the Umayyad Caliphate, among others. Historians have shown that “Mayrit” and “Matrit,” Mozarabic names for the region, evolved into the modern “Madrid,” and by 1561, the city had grown enough in stature to host the court of Philip II of Spain, who moved the throne from Toledo. Royal Holiday members will find a capital city shaped by thousands of years and millions of people, though many of the delights visitors can find in Madrid are as modern as anything else in the world.
Despite the modern delights of the city’s shopping centers, like the luxury shops in the Salamanca District and the boutiques of Calle Almirante, or the bustling nightlife scene found in places like Malasaña, many Royal Holiday travelers will want to start their explorations with the city’s cultural landmarks. Beginning in Plaza de Oriente, visitors will find the Royal Palace and the Teatro Real, as well as incredible views of the nearby Sierra de Guadarrama mountains. The city’s most iconic landmark, the sculpture of the Bear and Strawberry Tree emblem of Madrid, can be found in Puerta del Sol. A walk down the Paseo del Prado will bring Royal Holiday visitors to the area called the Art Triangle, where the Museo Rhyssen-Bornemisza, the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, and the Museo del Prado offer glimpses into the city’s rich artistic history.
To see Madrid from the best angle, many Royal Holiday members take a trip up to its heights. The Círculo de Bellas Artes offers a handsome rooftop terrace for taking in the city (as well as a tasty drink). However, the Basílica de San Francisco el Grande, the Templo de Debod, and Teleférico de la Casa de Campo also offer incredible views of the city.