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A romantic weekend in Madrid: 48 hours in the Spanish capital

Katherine Robinson

Although Madrid doesn't have a beach, it's bursting with art and culture and has an endless choice of great restaurants and activities that can be enjoyed a deux. Read on to find out why the Spanish capital is the perfect choice for couples looking for a romantic city break this summer.

WHERE TO STAY:

The new kid on the block: Hotel Totem
A hot new addition to Madrid's hotel scene, Totem threw open its doors in June 2016, offering 64 stylish rooms in the upmarket Salamanca neighbourhood of the Spanish capital. Décor is bold – with bright colours and a distinct nod to the 1920s. The hotel's brand new restaurant restaurant Hermosos y Malditos (The beautiful and the Damned) which is named after F. Scott Fitzgerald's novel, serves good quality Mediterranean cuisine. One of the hotel's big selling points is its location. Nearby is the 'golden triangle' of the city’s biggest art galleries - the Reina Sofia, the Prado and Thyssen-Bornemisza, and Madrid's famous Retiro park is a short walk away. Shopping lovers will also be pleased – big hitters including Gucci, Prada, and Tiffany & Co are dangerously close. And for those who want to start the day with a workout, there's a well-equipped gym in the basement. (totem-madrid.com)

CLICK FOR GALLERY

dear-poolVIEW GALLERY

Dear Hotel's rooftop pool is the perfect place to cool off from the Spanish summer


Pool with a view: Dear Hotel
Madrid summers are scorching, but there’s no better way to cool off than a dip in the pool – and there are few that have such an impressive view than the one on the rooftop at Dear Hotel. This four-star boutique hotel is located where Gran Via meets Plaza de España – but the soundproofing is so good that you won’t be bothered by the noise of traffic and shoppers on the street below. The 162 rooms cater to all budgets – from suites with sunny terraces to perfectly comfortable standard rooms – and each is kitted out with oak floors, minimalistic Scandinavian-style furniture and fittings in a palate of greys and neutral tones. A buffet breakfast is served in the Nice to Meet you restaurant, which is also open for lunch and dinner. Standout dishes include the orange and peanut flavoured lobster salad and the bourbon-glazed Iberian pork cheek, but be sure to book ahead. The restaurant is popular with guests and visitors alike, who also come to check out the impressive 360 degree views from the hotel's 14th floor sky lounge, where cocktails are served and a DJ spins tunes for the cool summer crowd on weekends till 2am. (dearhotelmadrid.com)

WHERE TO EAT:

Bosco de Lobos
It's hard to believe that such an oasis of calm exists so close to Gran Via – Madrid’s version of Oxford Steet. Bosco de Lobos, which is housed just next door to Madrid's College of Architects, feels like a country escape in the midst of the city, where you can dine under shade in the landscaped gardens of the courtyard, in the formidable high-ceilinged main room or the cosy, book-stacked library. The Italian-influenced menu includes smoked cheese pizzas which are perfect for sharing and lobster linguini for those who are looking for something a little bit special. During the month of August it’s open from noon till 1.30am, Wednesday to Sunday. (encompaniadelobos.com/en/bosco-de-lobos/)

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Boscos de Lobos offers Italian cuisine in a stunning setting


Punto MX
For couples looking for something that little bit extra special, Punto MX fits the bill. This intimate eaterie became the first European Mexican restaurant to be awarded a Michelin star in 2015, and it's easy to see why. The guacamole is out of this world and their specialty - the charbroiled marrow which is served in the bone for diners to scoop out and wrap in organic tortillas – is a culinary experience on a whole new level. If possible, call ahead months in advance to secure a table or check out their upstairs Mescal Lab, which offers a more informal dining experience. (puntomx.es)

Tartan Roof
What could be more romantic than watching the sun creep behind the horizon while sitting down to dinner with the one you love? You'd be hard pressed to find a better view of the Madrid’s impressive skyline than the one from the roof terrace at Azotea, the buzzy top floor of Madrid’s historical culture centre, el Circulo de las bellas Artes. Book yourself in for the 9pm first sitting at the terrace’s excellent restaurant Tartan Roof – headed up by top Madrid chef Javier Muñoz-Calero – and you’re perfectly placed to watch the city turn from day to night. Highlights of the new season menu include the zingy and fresh cold yellow tomato soup, which is flavoured with frozen pomegranate seed and reserve sherry and the smoked porchetta of suckling pig. This standout dish is a real treat for the tastebuds, flavoured with vermouth, cocoa, licorice, anise and accompanied with pearl onions and crumbs of cinnamon bread. (azoteadelcirculo.com)

azoteaVIEW GALLERY

Azotea, the buzzy top floor of cultural centre el Circulo de las bellas Artes, is the perfect place to watch the sunset

WHAT TO DO:

Snuggle up at a summer cinema session
Film buffs have plenty of open air summer cinema screenings to choose from in the Spanish capital. Just be sure to check schedules carefully and select movies that at VOSE (ie in original version with subtitles) if you’re not a fluent Spanish speaker. Cine Garden Conde Duque's summer schedule runs until 18 September and includes a design market, chill out area with hammocks and gourmet food trucks serving world cuisine. Their weekly program includes Sundays with old classics – like the films of Buster Keaton – set to live music. (condeduquemadrid.es/) Another great option is the very central Cybeñe Palace’s pop up, Cibeles de Cine, which runs until 8 September. Their program features some seriously romantic offerings, including Audrey Hepburn classics Breakfast at Tiffanys, Roman Holiday and Elizabeth Taylor's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. (sunsetcinema.es)

Enjoy a classical concert in the open air
Music, according to Shakespeare, is the food of love. So couples would do well check out one of the open air concerts being put on by the Olivar de Castillejo Foundation in Chamartin. Their Noches De Olivar concerts include classical recitals and world music, and open to the public at 7.15pm each night. There are no advance tickets, so turn up early to be guaranteed one of the 300 seats. (fundacionolivardecastillejo.org)

punto-dishVIEW GALLERY

Punto MX's standout dish, charbroiled marrow is served in the bone and scooped out to be wrapped in organic tortillas


Take a stroll through the Royal Botanical Gardens
A more tranquil and exotic alternative to Madrid’s Retiro park, the Royal Botanical gardens are the perfect place for a romantic stroll. Located right in the centre of town, just next to the Prado Museum, this eight-hectare green space is made up of three large outdoor areas and two greenhouses. There are 30,000 plants and flowers to take in and 1,500 trees to wander through. Highlights include the bonsai terrace, which contains some of the most beautiful examples of the miniature trees prepared by the Japanese masters of the art, and the colourful collection of tropical plants in the Estufa de las Palmas greenhouse. (rjb.csic.es/jardinbotanico)

How to get there:
EasyJet flies to Madrid from Luton, Gatwick Bristol, Liverpool and Bristol, and Ryanair from Manchester, Stansted and Dublin. Those wanting to fly from Heathrow can travel with Iberia or British Airways.

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