AS our taxi made its way up Claudio Coello in Salamanca, an upmarket district in the heart of Madrid, I turned to my travel companion and smiled.
If the quiet elegance of the tree lined street, home to boutique shopping and trendy cafes, was anything to go by we knew we were going to be in for a treat with Hotel Unico.
Hotel Unicos' transformation from a 19th century mansion into a newly renovated 44 room, five star hotel four months ago was the project of Pau Guardans, the creative entrepreneur behind luxury urban hotels such as the Grand Hotel Central (Barcelona) and Hotel Miro (Bilbao).
Upon walking into Hotel Unico, you are struck by the classic and stately character of the original building which is perfectly blended with modern furnishings, as well as a stunning art installation by famous Spanish sculptor, Jacinto Moros, whose work is featured in some of the world's greatest museums.
An early run or bike ride through Parque del Retiro (Madrid's answer to Central Park), followed by a delicious breakfast in the hotel's private garden, is a great way to start your morning. Spend a whole day being enthralled by The Prado or Reina Sofia. Hotel Unico is within walking distance of all of these attractions.
Oh, and if you've got a slight shopping addiction (like me), you will be side-tracked from day one by Salamanca's mecca of designer boutiques: from international brands such as Christian Louboutin, Chanel, and Madrid's own Loewe, to an abundance of lesser known Spanish designers.
For more cool travel check out Lost at E Minor.
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