In the world of hospitality, the job of a concierge is a particularly robust one. Nuria Morató, with a penchant for excellence and 25 years of experience shares her talents and expertise with guests at the Hotel Wellington (Calle de Velázquez 8. Tel: +34-915-75-4400. www.hotel-wellington.com).
Having always found a strong connection with people, Morató studied public relations at the Madrid School of Tourism and Hospitality and has worked in the tourism industry ever since. In her hunt for an independent hotel with a reputation for professionalism, her search led her to Hotel Wellington, a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts Preferred Pride program. “It’s a big hotel, with 250 rooms, 13 meeting rooms, and an executive club, so there are a lot of people coming in and out of our doors every day,” says Morató.
Part of the charm of her job as the assistant front desk manager is being able to instill excitement for Madrid in her guests and show how welcoming the city really is. Located in the city center in arguably one of the best neighbor- hoods, she directs those who cross her path to bars and restaurants that thrill the locals. “Madrid showcases a variety of cultural and leisurely activities, and with six World Heritage Sites, it is also an excellent starting point to get to know Spain.”
Where are the coolest places for cocktails?
To start the night, I recommend having an aperitif at Las Raíces del Wellington, located on the terrace of our hotel’s pool. You can enjoy delightful appetizers and a wide range of cocktails. From there, I recommend heading to Rames (Plaza de la Independencia 4. Tel: +34- 914-35-1666. www.ramseslife.com), a restaurant and bar that offers some of the best cocktails in Madrid. For a more energetic environment for drinks go to Areia Colonial Chill Out (Calle Hortaleza 92. Tel: +34-913-10-0307. www.areiachillout.com). It’s a modern club in the center of the city with a list of more than 80 classic and innovative cocktails.
What are the best restaurants for a romantic dinner in the city?
There are plenty of options in Madrid to have a great romantic dinner. I personally recommend Kabuki (Calle Velázquez 6. Tel: +34-915-77-7877. www.restaurantekabuki.com) for Japanese food lovers. This restaurant offers the best sushi in Madrid and was awarded a Michelin Star in 2010. If you are looking for a cozier environment and innovative Basque seasonal cuisine, head to Goizeko (Calle Villanueva 34. Tel: +34-915- 77-0138. www.goizejowellington.es). Also, the main dinning room at Ten con Ten (Calle de Ayala 6. Tel: +34-915-75-9254. www.resaurantetenconten.com), an elegant and comfortable space, is perfect for a more formal dining experience.
Who serves the greatest weekend brunch?
Hotel Wellington offers a fantastic brunch, featuring live music by an opera singer and pianist, every Sunday from 11:30 A.M. to 4 P.M. Another great choice is Ramses. They are one of the most famous restaurants in Madrid and they serve an à la carte brunch accompanied by a magnificent view and a DJ. To get a slightly different take on brunch, check out Candelita (Calle de Barquillo 30. Tel: +34-915-23-8553. www.lacandelita.es). They take traditional Latin cuisine and create extravagant and innovative dishes that are sure to delight anyone.
What are the hottest shows in town, and how do I get tickets?
All tickets can be purchased from the theater directly, online, or through our concierge or front office team, who will reserve the best seats for you. Priscilla (Teatro Alcalá, Calle Jorge Juan 62. Tel: +34-911-59-2316. www.priscillaelmusical.es) is a musical that relates the experiences of three friends who travel through the Australian desert in a very old van performing a drag show on a trip look- ing for friendship and love. El Rey León (Teatro Lope de Vega, Av. de María Luisa. Tel: +34- 955-47-2828. www.elreyleon.es/el-musical.com) is one of the most famous musicals in the world. It encourages viewers to recon- sider the importance of our actions and the effects on our surroundings, highlighting the importance of feeling that you belong to a group and all that makes our destiny. Cabaret (Teatro Rialto, Calle Gran Vía, 54. Tel: +34-910- 83-9500. www.cabaret.es) shows you how to follow your heart when the world is collapsing, highlighting the coexistence between the growth of the Nazis and feigned everyday normality. L&L (Calle Pelayo 11. Tel: +34-915-23- 3121. www.facebook.com/llshowbar) is a mythic club in Chueca where you can find the best drag shows of Madrid.
What museums are a must see for visitors?
The “triangle of art” is the place to go if you are looking for all sorts of different kinds of art. You can find Museo del Prado (Paseo del Prado. Tel: +34-913-30- 2800. www.museodelprado.es), one of the most important museums of the world, rich in European masters from the 16th-19th centuries. Reina Sofia (Calle de Santa Isabel 52. Tel: +34-917-74-1000. www.museoreinasofia.es) is a modern museum with numerous artworks from the 20th century as well as contemporary art. Thyssen (Paseo del Prado 8. Tel: +34- 902-76-0511. www.museothyssen.org) is a pinacotheca (picture gallery) of ancient masters. The museum also has modern foreign painters and art pieces from the gothic period of the 14th and 15th centuries to Pop Art in the 1980s.
Which guided tours do you recommend most often to your guests?
Madrid de los Austrias (www.madridtandt.com) is the #1 tour we recommend to our clients. This tour takes you to the Royal Monestery of the Encarnación, Plaza de Oriente, Royal Palace, Palacio Real, and Calle Mayor (the most important street of this area). This tour also visits emblematic buildings, like the Madrid City Hall. Once you reach Mercado de San Miguel you will be able to try the best delicatessen of the city surrounded by Plaza Mayor where you will be told some amazing stories and anecdotes. A different way of exploring the city is with a bike tour. Hotel Wellington offers guests the possibility of renting our bikes, and you can also hire a guide that will show you around the city. If you are a free spirit you can also go by yourself. Since we are located a few meters away from Parque del Retiro and all the central areas it will be very easy to reach your destination.
What annual events should we add to our “must see” list?
Madrid ́s Gay Parade (www.madridorgullo.com) has become a very important event recently and has been the biggest gay pride parade in Europe for the last few years. It takes place every year, sometime between the end of June and the beginning of July. During the parade you are able to enjoy the costumes of the parade while never losing sight of the protest messages for equality. For fashion lovers, Mercedes Benz Madrid Fashion Week (www.ifema.es/mercedesbenzfwm_06) happens twice a year, once in the spring and once in the fall. Different designers showcase their designs for the upcoming season.
Where can you go to get the best views of the city?
Huerto del Wellington is the biggest orchard in the world located on the rooftop of a hotel—the Hotel Wellington. If you’d like to have a private dinner or enjoy a cocktail there is 300 square meters of space and the best view of Madrid as well as a personalized dinner just for you. On the rooftop of Círculo de Bellas Artes (Alcalá 42. Tel: +34-913-60-5400. www.azoteadelcirculo.com) there is a chill out lounge with music where you can enjoy the sunset, a drink, and the view. Mirador Palacio de Cibeles (Plaza de Cibeles. Tel: +34-915-23-1454. www.adolfopalaciodecibeles.com) is located in the great tower of the palace and for the first time it is accessible to the public. Here, you can discover the intricate universe of the buildings of Madrid with a panoramic view of the city.
Where are the best places to workout?
Our hotel is located near the Parque del Retiro, a huge park where you can enjoy the view, walk or run, and also rent bicycles, rollerblades, or go for a boat ride on the lake. Hotel Wellington also offers a gym and wellness center, LE MAX Wellness Club by Clarins. In the fitness room, we offer cardio and muscle training as well as a Pilates area. We also offer personal classes of Pilates, Boxing, Cross training and many others, all under the supervision of expert professionals of personal training.
If someone is looking for a full-service spa, where do you send them?
The staff at LE MAX Wellness Club by Clarins informs and advises guests about the exercises and skin and body treatments they need or may want to take part in. We offer a variety of facial and body treatments, including massages, and at the health and body center, guests can also enjoy a relaxing spa with hot tub, waterbed, sensations shower, hammam, and sauna. Everything here provides you with the benefits of water, purity, and health.
Designer labels for less—do you have any suggestions for the smart shopper?
We are located next to the haute couture stores but if our guests ask us about an outlet we recommend Las Rozas Village (Calle Juan Ramón Jímenez 3. Tel: +34-916-40- 4908. www.lasrozasvillage.com), about 20 minutes away from the city with all the most important brands. On the other hand, if your interest is focused toward vintage style, there are two places you must visit.Every Sunday morning is El Rastro (Calle de la Ribera de Curtidores. Tel: +34- 915-29-8210), a street market where you can find the most extravagant items, vintage clothes, and music. Make sure you have a walk around Malasaña, a neighborhood of Madrid, where lately the thrift shops have become very trendy. You can find vintage clothing, designer handbags, shoes, and even wedding dresses. It is a slightly different take on shopping.
What are the most popular gay dance clubs?
There are two very famous clubs in the city where you can enjoy the night: Delirio (Calle Libertad 28. www.deliriochueca.com), a typical club in Madrid located in the heart of the city in Chueca, where you can enjoy a night of blissful fun. L&L is a special club, on one of the most central streets in Chueca, and famous for its drag shows and liberating atmosphere. Shows occur almost every day.
Where can you go at 2 A.M. for a good meal?
Late night dinners are different than earlier ones and La Carmencita (Calle Liberta 16. Tel: +34-915-31-0911. www.tabernalacarmencita) proves that. It’s a great place to have dinner with a martini after a movie or simply because you find yourself hungry at that hour. Ardosa (Calle Colón 13. Tel: +34-915-21-4979. www.laardosa.es) is an everyday tavern that offers traditional food until early in the morning. Another great tavern that is open until 2 A.M. is L’Obrador (Calle Segovia 17. Tel: +34-913-65-8410. www.taber-nalobrador.es). L’Obrador unifies that classic feeling of dining in a tavern and the elegance of a modern restaurant.
What is an iconic souvenir you recommend?
For out-of-the-box thinkers, I recommend a good wine. Tejorenas Alta Selección, an internationally awarded wine, aged in oak barrels, with an intense cherry red color, toasty aromas, and a cocoa and fruity full-bodied finish. Made in Tejoneras, in Villa del Prado, Madrid, with the best grape varieties from twenty hectares of vineyards. It is a tasty and delicious souvenir for you or a loved one. Contact the concierge for wine stores that carry it.
Please finish this sentence: Don’t leave the city without…
Leaving Madrid without going out at night is considered a sin. There are plenty of bars, clubs, and pubs specially designed for everybody. If you travel to Spain, eating Tapas is a must. You can enjoy exclusive and succulent selection of tapas, sweet delights, and innovative food at Mercado de San Miguel (Plaza de San Miguel. Tel: +34-915-42-4936. www.mercadodesanmiguel.es) or Mercado de San Antón (Calle de Augusto Figueroa 24. Tel: +34-913-30-0730. www.mercadosananton.com). Walk around Milla de Oro, surrounded by the haute couture designer stores, fashion boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries. My personal recommendation is to visit the Royal Palace and the Sabatini Gardens (Calle de Bailén. Tel: +34-914-54-8700. www.patrimonionacional.es), especially at sunset. You can delight in its admirable architecture and the lavish décor inside.