This is our review of the Thompson Madrid, the only Thompson Hotel currently open in Europe. It is part of World of Hyatt.
We were invited on a press trip to promote the opening of the brand new Thompson Madrid recently. As Rob, Sinead and Rhys were all busy we passed it to Jamie, who you may remember from our Bahamas series last year. A review of Thompson New York Central Park will follow soon as Rob was there for a Hyatt function recently.
Hyatt provided our room and paid for Jamie’s flight. His partner paid for her own flight. The trip included a media dinner with hotel and Hyatt executives.
Over to Jamie:
“You may not have heard of the Thompson Hotels brand. It is one of the many brands owned by Hyatt. It sits as part of their Boundless Collection alongside marques such as Andaz and Hyatt Centric. Hyatt acquired Thompson as part of a 2018 deal which also brought in the Alila, Destination, Joie de Vivre and tommie brands.
Thompson was founded in 2001 and there are currently 19 hotels in the group. All of these are situated in the USA and Mexico except this one, the first Thompson to open in Europe. Another is planned to open in Shanghai in the not too distant future.
(There was a Thompson in London for a couple of years back in the 2010s, but it had rebranded before Hyatt acquired the chain.)
The hotels are described as boutique, although with 175 rooms (including 22 suites and one penthouse) I would say Thompson Madrid feels more like a mid-sized luxury hotel.
It does have an interesting slant on the hotel experience. The brand philosophy is centred around celebrating local culture and ‘creating an authentic encounter’ and this is reflected in the unique design of each property. There are partnerships with local artists, designers and restaurateurs with some of these being appointed ‘ambassadors of destination’.
The hotels aim to become part of the local creative community, striving to live up to their slogan ‘A place where culture lives’. Make of that what you will – ‘becoming part of the local creative community’ often simply means that your lobby is used as a free hot desking area by locals.
However, I have no problem with Thompson trying to create something a little different and more personalised, no matter how they justify it. I’ve spent enough time in bland hotels to welcome efforts such as these and was keen to see the hotel first hand.
Inspired by the first Thompson Hotel in SoHo, New York, it is located in the centre of Madrid’s new Golden Mile, overlooking the Plaza del Carmen. It is a stone’s throw away from Puerta del Sol, a well known square on which the Kilometre Zero landmark is sited. This is classed as the very centre of the whole of Spain.
The hotel entrance is unassuming and compact in size. It is not particularly obvious at the moment due to the extensive renovation work going on to pedestrianise the adjoining Plaza del Carmen. When this is completed I think the area in front of the hotel will have a relaxed, spacious and charming feel.
Inside the Thompson Madrid hotel
Walking through large outer sliding glass doors, you are greeted by a warm reception area (photo above).
The two reception desks are rather unusual in that they are designed to look like vintage travel cases. Behind them stood a beautiful piece of decorative Spanish marble. To the side were several shelves of greenery interspersed with vintage travel paraphernalia including old cameras and cases. It was pleasant enough even if it did feel a little clichéd.
There were plenty of staff around and no queue so we were quickly checked in. As we entered the hotel I’d noticed that all staff had ensured they made eye contact and smiled. This continued at the reception desk and I genuinely felt welcome.
To the right of check-in was a communal lounge style seating area:
…. and beyond this is a bar :
The brand ethos was immediately apparent. There were some interesting art works on display including this one by British artist Charlie Billingham:
Whilst I found it impressive, it seemed odd that following all the talk of local culture, here was a British artist so prominently displayed! However, it seemed this was pretty much the only piece in the hotel not created locally or by a Spanish creative.
Heading to the lift we passed fashion pieces created by a local couture house and brand ambassador, Oteyza.
Fine art photography pieces by Andrea Torres furnished the walls outside the lift on each floor. I liked these a lot but had less interest in the fashion display.
I had been given a suite on the seventh floor. Walking to my room involved passing through a corridor over an outdoor atrium:
Some corridors had more artworks displayed.
The decor outside my room felt more Asian than Spanish but didn’t really come across as any style in particular:
Rooms and suites at Thompson Madrid
Here is the suite itself:
First impressions were very positive. It was spacious with a classic mid century feel but also had some nice contemporary touches. I had been told the rooms were created within a residential style design and this was apparent. Neutral and earthy tones were used to good effect.
The king size bed was huge and as I found out later, very comfortable to sleep in. The room was well appointed – door handles and light fittings were tastefully designed with good build quality.
Bedside panels contained modern light switches, electric blinds control and mains / USB power sockets.
Walls were adorned with more Spanish marble which looked particularly nice when backlit in the evening:
Surprisingly there were no other pieces of art present.
In the far corner there was a soft and inviting blue arm chair. Behind this stood a rather lonely looking empty shelving unit which seemed out of place somewhat:
Next to the chair was perhaps my favourite feature of the room, a classy bar cabinet. This was not (entirely) because it contained a well stocked minibar but rather down to the warm ambience it created when lit up in the early evening. I thought it was an elegant touch:
Speaking of the minibar, it was located in a fridge in the end of the cabinet.
I thought the curation of the minibar was excellent. There was a decent selection of beers, trendy soft drinks such as ginger and lemon kombucha and various spirits including Spanish Gin Mare, Hendricks, Grey Goose and Patrón. As with any hotel minibar, expect premium prices for your premium spirits. Here, a Hendricks miniature was priced at €13.50. Snacks were no cheaper. Fancy a Twix? That’ll be €8 please!
Above the minibar there was a Nespresso machine, kettle and selection of organic tea bags.
The suite had floor to ceiling windows along its length. It also had electric blinds the full length to ensure an undisturbed sleep if you like it really dark.
A small living space near the window provided a spot to relax with a sofa and small table:
A city map had been left on the table, drawn by Madrid based artist and cultural ambassador Nicolás Villamizar:
This was a cute detail, recommending historical places, restaurants and galleries that follow the Thompson philosophy. We used it and found some genuinely interesting spots away from the tourist trail.
Note there was no desk in the room – slightly odd for a suite – so if you did need to work be prepared for that. Do we still need to talk about hotel wifi these days? It was excellent here anyway, easy to connect and possessed very good speed.
A 55 inch television was fitted unobtrusively above the drinks cabinet. A quick look through the channels found several English language news stations.
The TV did have a useful function – built-in Chromecast meaning I could mirror my iPhone and play music from it. This was very handy whilst enjoying an early evening glass of wine.
The bathroom was situated on the left as you entered the room:
It had a luxurious, bright and open feel. There were two sinks with plenty of space around them, and a useful shaving / make up illuminating mirror:
There was a generously sized walk-in shower with train head and three shower controls:
Bathroom amenities by niche brand D.S. & Durga were supplied in dispensers.
Bathrobes were provided and there was ample storage space for clothing in an integrated wardrobe:
A safe was located in one of the drawers here.
The Grohe toilet had a temperamental automatic seat which sometimes closed itself and sometimes didn’t, much to my amusement.
The room also came with an impressively sized outdoor terrace:
As you can see from the photograph there was space for two sun loungers and a table and chairs. The view was typical Madrid rooftops, whilst towering above them is the famous 1930’s Telefónica Building. This is a magnificent sight, particularly at night when its clock face glows with illuminated colour. It’s just a shame we didn’t have the weather or time to fully utilise this area.
Dining at Thompson Madrid
Breakfast is served in the Omar restaurant, a bakery-bistro situated on the left as you enter the hotel:
It is also open to walk-in customers who can pick up a freshly baked pastry to take away:
The restaurant had a simple mid century industrial design which was fine as the focus was on the food, which turned out to be excellent.
There is no buffet so orders from an a la carte menu are brought out by a team of well mannered and attentive serving staff. Whilst deciding what to order, we were presented with various ‘starter’ plates based around the classic continental breakfast:
This included fruit, yogurt, croissants (with a delicious homemade smoked butter), toast and the delectable if ubiquitous Iberian ham. There was no shortage of freshly squeezed orange juice. Stored in an ice bucket next to our table, our glasses were regularly topped up by eagle eyed waiters.
This was in itself a perfectly good breakfast. However, there were also three pages of ‘main’ items on the menu and I felt compelled to try some of the more unusual ones over the following days.
There were at least seven egg based dishes including the classic Spanish tortilla and poached eggs with truffle. I ordered Benedictine eggs with kimchee hollandaise:
It may not look super appetising but tasted exquisite. Other options included ratatouille with avocado and mushrooms, grilled vegetables with tzatziki and an English breakfast, Spanish style. Another morning I tried freshly made Moroccan breads with spiced chicken and baba ganoush:
It was unexpected, deliciously savoury and just the job for fending off the effects of several Spanish gin and tonics the previous evening (they make them so strong!).
For those with a sweet tooth, you could opt for churros with chocolate (very popular in Madrid), pancakes and syrup or one of the many pastries on offer.
The apple tart was perfect as was the lemon cruffin (yes, a cross between a croissant and muffin) and cinnamon roll:
I was even encouraged to pick a couple of pastries to take away and enjoy later. I happily obliged.
Service was outstanding at all times and you never waited long for a dish to arrive. It was one of the best hotel breakfast experiences I have ever had.
As part of the trip itinerary, we were invited to lunch at Omar. This was a pleasant fine dining experience curated by the local family restaurant group La Ancha. They have been in business in Madrid for over a hundred years and work in partnership with Thompson, providing lunch and dinner every day.
To begin, we were served a selection of dishes from the daily menu. This included Asian inspired plates such as tuna ponzu and grilled pea pod with miso.
Starters included this refreshing tomato salad with salted fruits:
For the main course we were treated to chicken smoked rice and this delectable fried hake, green sauce and wasabi:
Dessert was Fismuler’s cheese cake, named after the restaurant from which it originated. Unusually, it was made using a blue cheese but was a little too savoury for my liking.
Each course was accompanied by a suitable Spanish wine. Two that stood out for me were the sparkling Torello Brut Nature and the white Cucú Verdejo.
Overall I was impressed – this is not your bog standard ‘club sandwich’ international hotel restaurant, by a long way.
Facilities at Thompson Madrid
The hotel has a decent gym with the latest fitness equipment:
There is also an impressive roof top area incorporating a bar, restaurant and swimming pool.
A mural by Nicolás Villamizar, done in his now familiar style graced a central wall:
With no shortage of seating, I can imagine this being a great place to relax and enjoy the fantastic views of the city:
Sadly all the facilities up here were closed during our visit due to the end of the warm weather season. Here is the swimming pool, which would be lovely when overflowing and warm on a hot summers day:
Our group also got to experience a specially served breakfast in the roof top restaurant and it was very pleasant indeed.
Also situated on the roof is the stand-alone two floor 222 sq. metre penthouse. With prices starting at around €8,000 per night, it is perfect for those lottery winners amongst us.
A 1950s speakeasy style cocktail piano bar called Hijos de Tomás is currently getting the finishing touches in the basement. This will have its own entrance and is hoped to become another focal point for those looking for a well made drink in classy surroundings.
My stay at the Thompson Madrid hotel was highly enjoyable. It is in a fantastic location for exploring the city and provided a much needed calming escape from the intensity of the bustling streets. I appreciated the effort that had gone into delivering the philosophy of the brand and there were plenty of welcome touches throughout the hotel.
The suite was excellent, its mid century style was pleasing and it felt comfortable, warm and relaxed.
Breakfast exceeded my expectations and that rarely happens in a hotel. It was the perfect set up before heading out to explore this fascinating and architecturally rich city.
The staff were universally excellent and, whilst we were on an organised media event, other guests seemed to be treated the same way. As a brand, I would definitely consider a stay at another Thompson Hotel if it was available in the location I was visiting.
Cash prices for a standard room start at around €450 with a suite costing between €700-€1,500 depending on time of year. Whilst certainly not cheap, the quality shines through and if you intend to take full advantage of the hotel facilities it is a classy and well located place to stay.
Using World of Hyatt points, 15,000 points per night gets you a standard room (reduced to 12,000 off-peak and increased to 18,000 on peak dates) and 24,000 points gets you a suite.
We value a Hyatt point at 1.3p, so using 12,000 to 18,000 points for a €500 room is definitely outsize value.
Despite checking multiple dates, I couldn’t find any where you could use points to upgrade a cash standard room to a suite. I’m not sure if the hotel has an opt-out from this or if it simply hasn’t got around to setting it up yet.
World of Hyatt update – September 2023:
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