The centenary route begins at the iconic Hotel Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid as the hotel has played an important role in the city’s history and development. At the beginning of the 20th century, King Alfonso XIII realized that Madrid is missing a luxury property like those he frequented in Paris and London. And so, he ordered to build one involving nobody else but Cesar Ritz. With 180 rooms and 80 bathrooms on the opening day, October 2nd, 1910, the Ritz was the most luxurious property in Spain bringing to the capital all kinds of personalities throughout the century.
Walking up alongside Paseo del Prado, you will encounter our next stop: Palacio de Cibeles, today recognizable as the City Hall, inaugurated in 1919, originally was the headquarters of the Spanish Society of Post Office and Telegraph Service. Look closely at the impressive design of the façade that merges three styles: neo plateresque, modernist and Art Deco details. Now, make your way to the courtyard to see the hidden gem of this landmark: the glass dome underneath which all posts for the entire country used to be dispatched.
Heading towards Alcalá Gate, you will shortly pass by a conspicuous shop on your right-hand side. That´s Ansorena, the royal jeweler whose history of the first workshop dates to 1845. Tradition, elegance, and professionalism are the words that best describe the core values of the craftsmen. It´s where kings and queens placed their most special orders, and why in 1860, they were named “The jeweler and diamond cutter of the Royalty”. Dedicate a few minutes to discover their personalized jewelry.
Within a short walk towards Serrano Street, don´t be hesitant to walk a little bit off the beaten track and turn left to see something truly sweet. The store in front of you is called La Pajarita. It is the oldest chocolate store in Madrid. Currently run by the sixth generation of the Aznárez Family. Traditional recipes and beautifully decorated chocolate boxes, go together with an old-school cashier that will transport you to the beginning of the 20th century.
Heading towards the last part of our walk, enjoy the vibrant atmosphere of Chueca neighborhood. Today one of the trendiest districts, used to be famous for metal craftsmen.
As you stroll amazed through the charming streets, you will find yourself in front of one of the most authentic taverns in town, founded in 1892 – Bodega de la Ardosa. Make your way through the crowd and order a glass of vermouth, tortilla de patatas, observe the people and enjoy the real Madrileñan vibe.
Justyna Kaminska is a candidate for the 2023 Les Clefs d’Or Award. This article has been published in its original form.
My journey with the Concierge world began in 2015 when I joined the Ritz Madrid as a switchboard operator. At that time this position reported to the Head Concierge. Not less importantly, physically both desks were located nearby so I could hear, observe, learn what the Concierge work is all about and… soak it all up! I started getting closer to the team by preparing seasonal brochures, taking care of the email correspondence, and, most importantly, joining the desk and interact with guests. Once I had a taste of this kind of energy, I was only looking for more. At the same time, I had the opportunity to join my first Les Clefs d´Or local events. Getting to know, and observing how the organisation functions, were additional reasons why I wanted to get involved. In February 2018, when the Ritz closed for the refurbishment, I continued my professional journey in a 5* boutique hotel as a receptionist and Concierge. Consequently, I was promoted as a Guest Experience Manager. Having the chance to work in both positions was a fantastic stage in my career, that prepared me for my return to Mandarin Oriental Ritz, but this time as a Concierge.
The 2nd of October 1910 witnessed the grand opening of The Ritz Madrid. The opening ceremony of what was meant to be one of the Europe’s finest hotels was performed by guests of honor, King Alfonso XIII and his Queen Victoria Eugenia. More than a century later, Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid is a luxury Belle Époque palace located in the famous Golden Triangle of Art of Madrid and a part of the Landscape of Light, a World Heritage Site. For over 112 years, the hotel has hosted royalty, dignitaries, and some of the most distinguished guests from around the world. This spectacular property is the epitome of luxury and excellence. As a gastronomic destination, Mandarin Oriental Ritz, Madrid cements its reputation in Deessa, the hotel’s signature restaurant awarded two Michelin stars, by esteemed Spanish chef Quique Dacosta. Set underneath a stunning glass domed ceiling, Palm Court offers two alternative dining destinations. Serving continental breakfasts, light lunch plates, Afternoon Tea and light evening dinner menus, Hall Alto acts as a meeting place for guests and visitors alike. The hotel’s second main restaurant is located in Hall Bajo. Operating a relaxed bistro concept, diners may enjoy classic Ritz dishes served with a contemporary twist. Pictura, the hotel’s bar, provides a luxurious experience, serving an extensive cocktail menu alongside tapas and a choice of artisanal beers. In addition, guests can enjoy the refined atmosphere of the Champagne Bar, situated near Hall Bajo, or head outside to make the most of the El Jardín del Ritz. A state-of-the-art wellness center provides guests with an escape from urban life, with a new indoor swimming pool, a vitality pool, a complete fitness center and a treatment room to restore your mind, body, and soul.