Hg2 : The Hedonist

A Hedonist’s guide to…

Madrid

La Venencia
A local favourite, La Venencia is a decades-old bar that’s serves sherry and local tapas to devoted Madrileños and sherry-loving visitors.
AC Palacio del Retiro
Suites look directly out onto the park and bathrooms include jacuzzis with the most privileged views in Madrid. A chic lounge bar and restaurant provide a sophisticated setting for cocktails and gourmet food.
Gran Melia Fenix
Overlooking the flowing fountains of Plaza de Colon, the Gran Melia Fenix offers concierge service for only a little extra. Club class rooms and suites on the top floor include a wide private terrace with hot tub, where breakfast can be served.
Museo Thyssen Bornemisza
Forming part of the golden triangle of museums, the Museo Thyssen Bornemisza houses a relatively small collection, but its arrangement allows for a visual understanding of how art developed from the dark ages to the present day.
Lhardy
Super luxurious piece of old-school elegance. On the ground floor and bar area, traditional tapas are served, and the second floor houses an elegant dining room with chandeliers, mirrored walls, antique display cases and 17th century oil paintings.
Museo Chicote
This hangout was put on the map in the 1950s. Once attracting the likes of Hemingway, Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly, today Chicote draws an older crowd who like to see and be seen sipping on gin tonics and martinis.
Negro de Anglona
A labyrinthine venue with a fascinating history; the tunnel which houses Negro de Anglona was once a passage for adulterous royalty to move around the city undetected. After a delectable glass in the Moët bar, enjoy Italian cuisine downstairs.
Villa Real
A restaurant, café and bar, as well as several more in the surrounding streets, make this hotel - where every room has a view - a comfortable choice. Not one for those seeking designer chic or fitness facilities, there is nonetheless grandeur ap
La Solea
There's little separation between audience and musicians at this fantastic late night flamenco bar; the guitarist accompanies amateur enthusiasts along with the professionals.
Hotel Wellington
Only 5 minutes walk from the Retiro and the upscale shops on Calle Goya, the Wellington is one of Madrid's finest and has the added luxury of having a large outdoor pool with patio garden and a spanking new beauty Spa opened in 2006.
Museo del Prado
The Museo del Prado is, quite simply, one of the best galleries in the world; it is also the largest, something you will notice the minute you enter its cavernous interior...
Palacio Gaviria
Baroque grandeur is not normally a design ethos associated with clubs, but that makes a night at Palacio Gaviria all the more interesting. Come on Wednesdays for tango night or weekends for more mainstream music.
Cafe de los Austrias
Enjoy the simple charm of this establishment close to the Teatro Real and the royal palace. A full menu is on offer, but you're better off coming for a snack or to try one of the 48 teas or 32 hot chocolates.
Puro Placer
Triumphantly flouting the smoking ban, Puro Placer offers a specially ventilated humidor, from where you can choose a fat cigar to enjoy amongst the orange hues of this attractive bar.
Bar Museo Los Gabrieles
Despite a soundtrack that is slightly incongruous with the décor, which harks back to its famous flamenco past, this bar caters for all. You can even still catch a flamenco show some nights of the week...
Cafe Gijon
Popular with an arty crowd, this cafe is known as a literary monument of the city - something made obvious by the branding of everything from the glasses to the walls with the Gijon name...
Don Pelayo
Both the décor and the dishes on the menu deceptively make this restaurant appear run-of-the-mill. But Don Pelayo's secret is the twist it gives to Spanish classics: potato croquettes combined with cocido broth, for example.
Nilo
The decor is fun (think animal prints kitsch chandeliers and bowls of champagne) and the Spanish/Mediterranean menu is surprisingly good value; go here to avoid the stuffy atmosphere of some of the more business-dominated establishments.
Real Madrid
Real Madrid is the most successful football club of the twentieth century, and a trip to one of their games ensures a chance to watch some of the world's finest footballers.
Bar Cock
This long-established cocktail bar has an atmosphere of professional drinking, and is a Madrid institution.
Casa Labra
In the heart of Madrid's shopping district, Casa Labra provides the perfect opportunity to refuel with a quick tapa before returning to the fray, so don't be put off by its slightly drab appearance.
Stop Madrid
Always bustling, Stop Madrid nestles at the base of C. de Hortaleza, near C. de Fuencarral - Chueca and Malasana's main shopping streets - making it the perfect pit-stop for a quick bite. Warning: its decoration is pitched at the carnivores among us.
Zen Market
Located inside the Real Madrid stadium, Zen Market is the place for dining on some seriously luxurious sushi with a prime view of the afternoon footy.    
Casa Patas
Small, intimate and intense, this is flamenco up close and personal. One of the most popular flamenco clubs in town, dine at the club and then head over to its sister bar afterwards.
Casa Carola
For those in search of traditional Madrileno cocido"
Hotel Hesperia Madrid
Setting standards in the capital since 2000, the Hesperia is fitted with all the latest luxuries. Claim exclusive access to the prestigious Metropolitan health club before heading to the hotel's crown jewel: its award-winning restaurant.
Hotel Orfila
Built in the 1880s as a private home for an artistic family, the house also contained a theatre and a literary salon in the 1920s. This luxury Madrid hotel retains its original nineteenth century façade, cobbled carriage entrance and stone stair
Vincci SoMa
Perfect for people-watching the Salamanca crowds as they spend their way around the neighbourhood. The previously fusion-style menu has been replaced with a focus on Mediterranean meat and fish, but the high standard remains.
Medina Mayrit Arabic Baths
Located in a stunning 100-year-old cistern just off the Plaza Mayor, these authentic Arabic baths situated in the heart of Madrid offer two-hour sessions throughout the day.
Botin
Typical Castillian food includes gazpacho, suckling pig and a delicious cream tart made with a sweet biscuit base, egg meringue and pastel cream.
Arquibar
This English-style Café exudes charm and elegance, and is all about the detail. Come here for some 1920s glamour with your coffee.  
Casa Lucio
Casa Lucio has garnered a reputation for outstanding Spanish cuisine - even prompting the poet Rabal to pen a ditty about its scrambled eggs! Try the salmorejo (a thick gazpacho with grated ham) followed by a bonito (barely seared, delicate tuna).
Cafe Central
A must for jazz lovers, Cafe Central is in an area serried with bars, restaurants and other jazz clubs (Cafe Jazz Populart). Stop by for a mix of international and homegrown talent.
The Westin Palace
The Westin Palace is a landmark in Madrid worth seeing even if you aren't lucky enough to stay there, thanks to its ornate lobby and glass atrium. The restaurant, Asia Gallery, serves what is considered some of the finest oriental food in the city.
Los Gatos
Join locals and tourists alike working their way along the Calle Jesus' string of tapas bars, enjoying a glass of tinto and a bite to eat in each one. Casual and lively, Los Gatos is one of the most popular - and most interestingly decorated.
Vincci Via 66
Olds meets new in this National heritage building that’s been redesigned in a chic, contemporary style. The rooftop terrace is a must for those seeking to view Madrid in all its sunset splendour. &n
Atlético de Madrid
Nine-time La Liga winners Los Rojiblancos (The Red And Whites) are fierce rivals of their more illustrious neighbours Real Madrid, with the yearly contest dubbed 'El Derbi madrileno'. Atlético tends to attract the more working-class fan base fro
Almódovar Apartment
Couples seeking a romantic getaway to the Spanish capital can find ideal accommodation in the Almódovar Apartment, one of the upscale, short-term rental properties offered on Chic-Rentals.com.
Corral de la Morería
Billed as one of the world's best flamenco shows, Corral de la Moreria features in the New York Times' '1000 places to see before you die.' Choose between dining or just a drink.
Balmoral
You would be forgiven for thinking you were in a remote castle in the Scottish highlands at Balmoral, where the atmosphere is refined and civilised and the queues non-existent.

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