Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Trip of a Lifetime...The Palace Hotel

I loved Barcelona...I left a piece of my heart there...

I loved the modern Hotel Arts, as well...

...but the gorgeous Palace Hotel in Madrid was my favorite of the two.

Why, you ask?

Well...because I am, at heart, a classical kind of girl. Technology is great, but I love old-fashioned luxury. There's something about rich woods, crown molding, and turn-of-the-century aesthetics. I'll take the stairs over an elevator, plush over plastic, and simple beauty over ornate elegance any day.

Relatively speaking, The Palace Hotel isn't even that OLD...but in cosmopolitan Madrid, it was practically ancient. It was, in truth, a palace...that the King sold to turn into a hotel. There are suites inside that would leave you breathless...

Now, of course, our room was very simple...comfortable...peaceful. No extravagant suites for us!! But we had a lovely little balcony and a plush-y bed to rest our weary heads for a few really, what more did we need?

There were several things that I loved about the Palace...the first was our bathroom...

Although not nearly as fancy as the Hotel Arts, it provided something that made my husband extremely happy (which then, of course, makes me happy)...the shower had a knob that let you choose the EXACT temperature of the water.

See, the shower at the Hotel Arts was spacious and awesome, with a bench and 3 different shower heads that shot at you from all angles and got you SERIOUSLY clean...but the temperature knobs were testy. Jason and I have very different opinions when it comes to showers...I like mine piping my skin is all red and blotchy when I get out. He likes his lukewarm (which to me equates FREEZING)... at the Hotel Arts, we spent a lot of time just figuring out how to adjust it to our PERFECT temperature (especially after following one another in or out)...

...whereas at the Palace, we just had to set the knob at the desired temperature (in Celsius), and viola!! Perfect showers!!

Another favorite was The Rotunda...the great central room where we had breakfast each morning...

The whole room is covered by a GIGANTIC stained glass dome, centered by an ENORMOUS chandelier. As the day travels the hours from morning to night, the stained glass takes on different hues and shades, alternately lighting and shadowing the room as it reflects the sun. And at night...reflecting the glowing lamps from's sparkling.

Every time we stopped back at the hotel, we took a few moments to stroll into the Rotunda and see what changes were playing out across the looked different throughout the trip, and each viewing was more beautiful than the last. I enjoyed these moments searching out the small nuances and changes throughout the's rewarding to look for the small, seemingly inconsequential, beauties in life.

It didn't take me long to find the signature of the artists, either.

Another favorite I wish to share wasn't IN the Palace, but rather...NEXT to it.

The building next to our hotel had a great clock...and on the hour, it rang a beautiful tune with bells, and little Spanish puppet people came out and did a little dance.

It was a little reminiscent of It's A Small World in Disneyland...and since I am a BIG Disney fan, I saw this as a plus. Of course, all these colorful characters represented different facets of Spanish life and culture...from the matador, to the flamenco dancer, the revolutionary, and the country woman. I tried to time our exits with the clock so I could see it as often as possible...I never tired of it...and thankfully, my husband was very patient with this piece of child-like wonder.

Madrid holds the promise of being as thoroughly magical as Barcelona...and I cannot wait to share it with you!

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