“The gladdest moment in human life, me thinks, is a departure into unknown lands.” – Sir Richard Burton
Some luxury properties defy description, comparison or categorization – to such an extent that the visitor must simply surrender to the people, the tastes, the scenes, and the surroundings of the property; and just take it all in before the experience sadly ends. This is how I feel about a recent visit to The Mandarin Oriental, Hotel Ritz in Madrid, Spain. I invite you to see it through my eyes.
The property was originally named The Hotel Ritz, Madrid, opening its doors in Madrid on October 2, 1910.
Its unique history begins in the early 1900’s when Spain’s young King Alfonso XIII had visited some of Europe’s most luxurious hotels, and decided that Madrid should feature a similarly luxurious hotel. The King lobbied Spanish investors to build The Ritz Madrid, and he in fact was one of the owners of the development company that built the property. The architect of the famous Hotel Ritz, Paris was enlisted to construct the property, as well as the famous namesake of that hotel, Cesar Ritz.
The Hotel Ritz, Madrid was considered a great success, and one of the most luxurious properties in Europe. It attracted some of the world’s most famous and wealthy clientele for over one hundred years. In May of 2015, the award-winning Mandarin Oriental hotel brand acquired the Hotel Ritz, Madrid.
The Mandarin Oriental, Hotel Ritz features perhaps the most grand architectural interior of any property I’ve visited – simply breathtaking. It’s a true joy to walk the property’s exquisite interior, imagining how the King must have admired his inspired creation, and relished revealing the nation’s crown hotel jewel.
Each of the property’s rooms is unique, and appointed and designed in the classic European Belle Epoque style. I thank very much the Hotel Ritz for the use of the high resolution images so you can see the lavish diversity among the rooms.
There are varied dining options at the Hotel Ritz, which you can learn more about by Clicking Here. But I would like to focus on the property’s signature restaurant, Goya Restaurant and Terrace by Chef George Gonzalez, which describes itself as “Old-World Opulence with an Avant-Garde Menu.”
The setting is absolutely lovely, as Goya is aptly named for its spectacular terrace, framing a stunning view of the rear of the property and its lush gardens and bustling city background.
The meal that we enjoyed defies description or comparison, and is quite simply the best meal I’ve ever experienced at a luxury hotel. You may Click Here to view the Tasting Menu that we absolutely adored.
The meal started with a flourish when we learned that our server for the evening would be Gemma Vela Humanes, the hotel’s famous and incomparable Sommelier – the recipient of the 2013 Award for the Best Sommelier in Spain, awarded by the Spanish Royal Academy of Gastronomy.
It’s important to emphasize that Gemma was our server for the entire meal, which was not only a first for me to be served a full meal by a Sommelier, but by someone as accomplished as Gemma. It’s difficult to convey the meticulous nature by which Gemma described the various dishes and the accompanying wine, and how the flavors would present themselves. We enjoyed unparalleled dining and wine pairings. It was truly a meal for the ages, and without equal in my experience.
The Mandarin Oriental, Hotel Ritz is a magnificent symbol of classic European luxury that grants you access to a rich history and a timeless beauty and elegance – an elegant snapshot in time. I highly recommend that if you find yourself planning a trip to Spain, you take the time to visit Madrid and the Mandarin Oriental, Hotel Ritz.
If you do, walk through the front door into the main hall, take a few moments in silence and absorb your surroundings, and you’ll sense a young King gliding across the expansive space to welcome you to his shimmering pride and joy.
The Mandarin Oriental, Hotel Ritz – Website and Social
Our Server, the famous and incomparable Sommelier Gemma Vela Humanes – Twitter
Thanks so very much to Gemma, Inma and to the entire staff at the Mandarin Oriental, Hotel Ritz for a most memorable and spectacular visit! It was a true pleasure to visit your most lovely property. Thank you also for use of some high resolution images to make up for my shoddy photography!
Please note that I was welcomed to the Mandarin Oriental, Hotel Ritz as a special media guest, but that as always, my opinions are entirely my own.
Thank you so much for taking the time to read this article, and Happy Traveling!