Gran Hotel Inglés: Rockwell Group Restores Madrid’s Oldest Hotel to its Former Splendor

Gran Hotel Inglés has been a landmark since it was built in 1853. The first hotel to have a restaurant, and on the first street to receive electric lights in Madrid, it became a cultural icon as well. Politicians, artists, writers, and intellectuals made it their gathering place. After years of neglect and disrepair, the derelict hotel has been renovated and redesigned for today’s sophisticated traveler by Rockwell Group’s studio in Madrid.

The Madrid Studio of Rockwell Group has brought back the glamour, elegance, and innovation of Gran Hotel Inglés, drawing inspiration from the hotel’s 165-year-old history. The design concept celebrates the hotel’s history as a gathering place for the avant-garde and intellectuals, weaving original imagery and salvaged historic items into the design of the public spaces, gym, spa, meeting rooms, and guestrooms. The hotel is located in the cultural and historical center of Madrid, within walking distance to the Puerta del Sol and various monuments and tourist attractions.

The design team, headed up by Eva Longoria and Elisa Rodriguez, introduced elegance and sophistication to the lobby, celebrating its 20’ ceilings with circular chandeliers and inspired by a class English manor. Some of the hotel’s original chandeliers and columns are restored and featured. A central lobby bar is surrounded by a cocktail lounge with clusters of area rugs and a range of seating provide a gathering spots for hotel guests and visitors.

Mirrors, rich, gem-toned upholstery, and metal details nod to the hotel’s heritage. A library with floor-to-ceiling bookshelves and a fireplace is a return to the hotel’s intellectual past. The coffee bar/lounge to the west of the bar has mirrors with faded historic images of famous hotel visitors.

The restaurant is inspired by the dining room and open kitchen of a grand British country estate, with a mix of classic structures, such as oak columns painted blue, and a mix of modern and classic lighting. Booth seating is reminiscent of a sophisticated and intimate members’-only club.

The hallways leading to the guestroom feature small framed photographs and are dedicated to the hotel’s illustrious past guests, from bullfighters and writers to politicians.

In the white-painted guestrooms, Rockwell Group played with the classic geometry of the molding by deconstructing it and extending it across the ceiling. The upholstery of the bedframes is mimicked around the leather and upholstery-clad monolithic TV wall. Luxurious bathrooms have marble standalone bathtubs and a stand that holds a drink and accessories.

Guestroom closets are lined with wallpaper that features vintage copies of hotel postcards. Custom valets feature a shelf that holds new postcards for guests, allowing them to continue the tradition.

Photography: Images by Eric Laignel


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