May 2, 2022 | Updated: May 18, 2022
In the historic centre of Madrid, just a stone's throw from Puerta del Sol and Plaza de Cibeles, stands this majestic five-star complex. This is the first hotel that the Four Seasons chain has opened in Spain and where PORCELANOSA has decided to hold its XIII Architecture, Interior Design and Property Development Awards on 26 May.
The Palacio de la Equitativa, an icon of neoclassical Madrid
Situated in the Centro Canalejas —the old financial centre of the capital, where the Palacio de la Equitativa (headquarters of La Equitativa insurance company, later acquired by Banco Español de Crédito and whose initials still remain on the doors of the main buildings)— this hotel forms part of the seven buildings constructed between 1891 and 1940 and which have been refurbished by Estudio Lamela as a symbol of that stately, vitalist and Galdosian Madrid, in which each house, workshop, square and street gave shape to the collective story.
That is the concept embodied in each of its 200 rooms (some with terraces), 22 private residences (Four Seasons Private Residences) and its spa covering 1,400 square meters over four floors. In these rooms, the neoclassical architecture takes on a more solemn tone with the artistic pieces from the 19th century (during the intervention, a total of 16,000 original elements were removed and restored, of which 3,700 were returned to the interior rooms), which are interspersed with the stained-glass windows of the Maumejean Workshop (historic Madrid glassmakers' workshop), the green marble columns, whose gold capitals support the central hall and coexist harmoniously with the plaster reliefs, and Murano glass chandeliers.
Among the most special rooms in the Four Seasons are the Royal Suite (former private office of presidents and members of the Banco Español de Crédito), with Calacatta marble on the walls and parapet balconies, and the Presidential Suite. The latter, covering 300 square meters, has two bedrooms and offers one of the best panoramic views of the city. It is also replete with carefully selected and valuable antiques. A sculptural and contemporary interior design in which the studios BAMO and BG Arquitectura have managed to unite past and present with complete aesthetic coherence.
Gastronomy and contemporary art in every corner
Restaurants and art also form part of the identity of this hotel, as it is home to several gastronomic areas boasting the most elaborate national and international cuisine. Spain's national dishes are covered in the Dani restaurant, which is reminiscent of a Parisian brasserie, but with clear allusions to typical Andalusian taverns. Led by the renowned chef Daní García (three Michelin stars), its menu fuses classic cooking with the most avant-garde textures of the moment to surprise diners with every dish.
Among the more exotic cuisine, Isa Gastrobar (Top Cocktail Bar 2022 by the jury of The Drink Show) stands out, located on the first floor of the hotel. Designed by AvroKo and London-based studio Brudnizki, this colourful lounge with a jazz speakeasy feel (red velvet fabrics and low yellow lights predominate) offers delicious Asian-inspired tapas with signature cocktails.
With a total of 1500 Spanish works of art including paintings, photographs and sculptures, the Four Seasons is in a sense an open gallery showcasing some of the works that defined the history of European art of the 19th and 20th centuries. Among them, Starry Night by Eduardo Pérez-Cabrero with reference to human virtues (intelligence, creativity, joy, love or talent), the botanical reliefs in plaster of the Royal Academy of Fine Arts of San Fernando, the stone sculptures by José Cháfer or compositions by young artists such as Maite Carranza, Jesús Crespo, Elena Morales, Jaime Sicilia and Sandra Val. There is also room for the futuristic style of KAWS, whose wooden Along The Way sculpture stands impressively in the centre of the lobby.
"To address the art project it was necessary to reflect the history of buildings and their 19th century essence, but it was also necessary to honour the 21st century and to show engagement with the local community today. Contemporary art offers an amazing contrast to the opulent decoration and truly shows the creative spirit of the Four Seasons Hotel Madrid", says Paloma Fernández-Iriondo, curator of this artistic collection.