Gran Via is Madrid’s answer to Broadway! The emblematic street is the hub of Madrid’s urban life and stretches the length of the city’s center all the way from Plaza de Cibeles – near the famous Retiro Park – to the epic spectacle of Plaza España, where you’ll find a towering monument to the legendary Spanish writer Cervantes. The architecture of Gran Via’s buildings is reminiscent of London’s Oxford Street, being an impressive mix of 20th century revival architecture topped with statues of Roman gods and angels, who seem to humble the crowds going about their city business below.
On Gran Via you’ll find all the biggest brand stores from Adidas to H&M. It even has the rather novel claim to fame of having the world’s second largest Primark, with a whopping five floors worth of bargains to peruse. Besides the shops, the main street is lined with cinemas, theaters and – naturally – hotels.
Choosing a hotel on Gran Via is an excellent way of really feeling like you’re getting the Madrid big city experience. Come with us as we take a stroll up Gran Via to find the best of the best from one end of the iconic street to the other.
Iberostar Las Letras Gran Via
Starting on the Eastern side of Gran Via near Plaza Cibeles is this literally literary hotel. The name translates as ‘hotel of words’, which is apt since the historic building contains a library where great authors are said to have written their works. The rooms stay true to the literary theme and are decorated with the quotes of writers and poets on the walls. They are also all incredibly comfortable with all the regular creature comforts plus novel whirlpool baths and traditionally Spanish balconies boasting impressive street views.
The restaurant serves “haute cuisine” – whatever that means – and they even have their own vermouth bar, which is a sweet and deceptively strong fortified wine. As is a recurring theme for the Gran Via hotels, they also boast a lively rooftop bar with a swimming pool and fabulous views over the city from its center. Rooms start at around a middling price of 170 euros a night.
Jc Rooms Jardines
Just off Gran Via – on a side street near its titular metro stop – is this highly rated, yet affordable, hotel. At only around 80 euros a night you get the central location without breaking the bank. Being slightly off Gran Via you sacrifice the street view for an inner courtyard view, but in return you gain the peace and quiet while still being central. The hotel has its own café/restaurant and – for slightly more – you can choose to have breakfast, lunch, dinner or even all three included in the price. What makes Jc Jardines unique, however, are the themed rooms – each decorated to represent different Asian countries, spanning from India to Japan. The rooms are also pleasantly spacious with single, double, triple or even quadruple options!
Gran View Apartments
The name spells it out really – a room with a view is exactly what you get! You also get comfort, quality and a hotel just three minutes off Gran Via. Besides bedrooms and private bathrooms, the apartments all have spacious seating areas with kitchens sporting a dishwasher, oven and coffee machine. There’s private parking, a gym, solarium, rooftop pool with pool bar and a spectacular rooftop terrace with a city backdrop more than worthy of Instagramming. The apartments go at around the 175-euro mark for one bedroom with suites available between 200-500 euros depending on size and that includes a generous continental breakfast.
Hostal La Zona
Moving further up Gran Via, Hostal La Zona is also aptly named as it sits “in the zone” between both Gran Via and the second most popular shopping street in Madrid, Fuencarral. Although perhaps more important is the fact it sits right on the outskirts of Chueca, Madrid’s gayborhood – at an easy staggering distance from all the lively area’s bars and clubs. The rooms are simply laid-out, comfortable, clean and the balconies are a great place to enjoy your morning coffee while people – or more likely, men – watching. Single rooms start at 70€ per night, which includes breakfast until noon.
Hotel Petit Palace Ducal Chueca
The second offering from the Gran Via side of Chueca is this boutique hotel, café and co-working space, which prides itself on diversity and inclusion. Petit Palace Ducal is located right on Calle Hortaleza, one of the main streets running the length of Chueca. Part of a large chain, this version has a modern, clean and homely feel to it – with characteristic wooden furnishings and lamps in the entrance hall and dining areas. Pricewise it fits in the middle of the road category with rooms starting at between 100-150€ per night. Their breakfast buffet is especially lauded in reviews.
7 Islas Hotel
This lavish family-run hotel borders Malasaña, the area adjacent to Chueca, Malasaña might as well be an extension of the gayborhood as many LGBTQ+ also call it home and it has its own vibrant bars and clubs. 7 Islas describes itself as ‘an oasis in the city’ and a ‘home from home’ – both descriptions fit its plant-filled relaxed interior. The rooms have a studio flat feel to them and are spacious to say the least. The hotel is pet-friendly, and the staff is incredibly accommodating be you human or animal. They serve a mean cocktail down in the hotel bar and the food is great quality as well, should you not wish to venture out to a nearby restaurant one night. Prices start at around 100€ mark but go up by a sufficient amount in season.
Further along Gran Via is another of Madrid’s main pedestrian only squares, Plaza Callao, which is home to theaters, cinemas and one of Madrid’s biggest department stores, El Corte Inglés. Hotel Atlántico is just a few meters shy of Callao and still a five minute walk from the gay life in Chueca and Malasaña. Hotel Atlántico has a classic touch to it – in short, it’s a four-star hotel with a five-star look. The rooms are soundproofed from the busy streets below and the beds so comfortable it takes a real concentrated effort to get out of them in the morning and explore the city. Atlántico’s café-bar is quaint and classy with a well-stocked buffet breakfast included, whereas the rooftop lounge has a phenomenal view to enjoy with a beverage. Prices start at 180 euros for a double room.
Towering five stories above Gran Via, just past Plaza Calleo, is this quirky retro-looking building that straddles the line between hotel and hostel. Downstairs is a classical American style diner/café and upstairs a plant-filled rooftop bar boasting a 360 view of the streets below and of the impressively grandiose architecture of Gran Via. The rooftop also boasts not one but two hot tubs to squeeze into with the other guests anytime of the year. The private rooms are spacious with a homely touch and cost around 80 euros a night, but there’s also the budget option of dorms – which house up to eight people and are available for private hire for groups.
Across the road from Generator is a higher priced – at around 200 euro a night – but also higher quality boutique hotel. Its style is inspired by Madrid’s art and film scene with the rooms fully leaning into the Madrid theme as the walls are decorated with beautiful pictures from around the city. However, the standout are the bathrooms, which are “spa-inspired” with rainfall showers. The bar downstairs – literally called ‘The Bar – is class meets Spanish tavern in its decor and it offers a range of authentic tapas to choose between with a patio to enjoy them on. The rooftop bar is one of the best in the city and it also serves delicious food – like a rather generously portioned bowl of nachos. The sky garden even has a rather jazzy infinity pool, reachable by stairs on its own level and with nerve wracking – yet spectacular – views of the street below.
Hotel Riu Plaza España
Speaking of nerve-wracking views, the mother ship of Gran Via hotels has the best in all the city. Hotel Riu Plaza España is a titan of a building right in front of Plaza España at the far end of Gran Via, towering an impressive 27 floors above Gran Via. An air of classic beauty runs through the entire hotel, from the grand reception to the sky bar above. The rooms aren’t too pricey – at around 200 euros – and they all have that homely touch supplemented by sofas, a desk and tasteful art pieces. The views are obviously unbeatable if you’re lucky enough to be up on one of the higher floors.
Hotel Riu has a gym, outdoor, swimming pool, a whole floor dedicated to the breakfast buffet and even its own exclusive nightclub. Best of all, staying at Riu gives you access to the Sky bar – one of Madrid’s most popular tourist attractions – without having to wait in line or pay like the commoners. The aforementioned view is the best in all the city and there is no location better suited to watch the sunset with a loved one… or simply a loved cocktail. What draws the crowds, however, is the terrifying glass floor viewing point, where the bold can step out and gaze down on both Plaza España and the bustling urban life of Gran Via far, far, far below.