If you're heading to Madrid and planning to treat yourself to some luxury, here are some ideas to get you started. Whether it's hiring your own personal shopper or a luxury massage, why not live the high life in Madrid.
Splash out at Hammam Al Andalus
Respect the rules of silence as you enter this restored traditional Arabic bath, with three pools assorted temperatures - hot, warm and cold. The arched stone roofs and aromatic rooms bring an overwhelming sense of serenity, even more so when you treat yourself to the full works: a traditional scrub with kessa (exfoliating glove), bath and hot stone massage. Sip fresh mint tea as you luxuriate in the calming ambience—enough to reenergise you for heading back into Madrid's lively streets.
Take a Private Tour of Museo del Prado
If you don't want the crowds to interfere with your experience of one of the world's greatest art collections, opt for your own private tour at Museo del Prado. Your expert art guide will give you the secrets behind the masterpieces, and analysis of painting techniques – you could request more time in your own favourite genre. It certainly beats craning your neck to catch a glimpse of Goyas and El Grecos. Ask your concierge to help to arrange a tour.
Best Seat in the House with a Night at the Opera
For a taste of some high-class drama, get a box seat for opera at Teatro Real – considered one of the world’s most prestigious opera houses. It’s had a century of ups and downs (including complete remodeling and refurbishment, completed in 1997) but now thankfully it’s on the up and up. You’ll get to see top-class soloists, orchestras and choruses, with performances from Rossini’s Barber of Seville to a more cutting-edge Brokeback Mountain, with world premieres galore. The red and gold décor is opulent on a grand scale – treat yourself to a box seat and enjoy the drama.
Soak up the luxury at the Ritz
Or, to give it its full name, the Hotel Ritz By Belmond. This opulent 5-star hotel was opened by King Alfonso XIII at the turn of the 20th century, to rival the Ritz in London and Paris. It's the epitome of luxury especially the Royal Suite, with its oversized bathrooms, crystal chandeliers and marble fireplaces. If your credit card doesn't quite stretch to that, experience the restaurant with its flawless dining experience in old-world opulence, or perhaps just a decadent afternoon tea in the salon.
Hire your own personal shopper
From hip and retro to out-and-out luxury, Madrid's shops incorporate the capital's own impressive array of home-grown designers, vintage shops and luxury department stores. The affluent Salamanca neighbourhood is a good place to start and Calle de Serrano is one of Spain's most exclusive streets. But to find your own Madrid goodies, why not hire a personal shopper? They will guide you round the shopping streets, hand-pick the best styles for you or help with items on your wish list, whether it's where to buy the best flamenco shoes, hand-carved antiques in El Rastro.
Learn to Cook like a Michelin-starred Chef
Madrid boasts some star-studded kitchens – top chefs who are transforming the city's dining scene. Forget the traditional tapas – although we wouldn't want to forget them for long – but think fusion and contemporary European risk-taking dishes. You can get a taste of that culinary magic, and maybe try to be the next Ferran Adria or Elena Arzak by taking an exclusive cookery course from top chefs. The Kitchen Club has regular courses – see what whets your appetite.