When a house move gets unexpectedly rescheduled, a writer and his family find relief inside Madrid’s Hotel Wellington.
Necessity may also the mother of discovery. When our movers mistakenly pushed up our moving date by nearly a week, we scrambled to find comfortable accommodations for our family of four in the heart of Madrid (and in the throes of a heatwave). With a kid-friendly swimming pool at the top of our wish list, the field of potential hotels was quickly winnowed.
A surprising number of Madrid’s hotels seem to ignore the 100-degree reality of summer in the city. We also needed a place where a babysitter could safely shepherd four-year-old twins between the room and the restaurant, and to a park or the pool, while we supervised the movers packing up our home.
Related: The obvious choice was the Hotel Wellington (doubles from $279; including breakfast), a grand five-star property with an updated baronial décor just two blocks north of the Retiro Park in Barrio Salamanca, the city’s toniest shopping quarter with broad, tree-shaded sidewalks. Before we even asked, the reservationist proffered two adjoining rooms at booking—a rarity in European hotels, unless one is willing to pay a substantial upgrade to a suite.
We had lots of room to stretch out, especially in the huge marble bathrooms with tubs to rival the swimming pool outside. With the current Preferred Family Package we received a 50 percent discount on the second room, as well as discounts in some of the hotel’s restaurants, and the kids’ breakfast was included.
Best of all, instead of the typical tiny plunge pool on the roof that’s more about sunset cocktails than child swim lessons, it has a large rectangular pool surrounded by lounge chairs in a spacious patio, complete with a lifeguard and a casual full-service restaurant nearby.
But the Wellington isn’t just for kids. Completing the urban resort experience for the grown-ups were soothing post-moving day massages in the spa (by Clarins), followed by a standout sushi dinner at Michelin-starred Kabuki Wellington—one of six onsite restaurants—and a moonlit poolside nightcap.
Andrew Ferren is on the Spain beat for Travel + Leisure. He lives in Madrid.