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A Design Hotel to Start the New Year: Puerta America

Go To The Hotel's Web 
  Site Where: Avenida America 41, Madrid, Spain, 28002
January 2, 2008 at 9:15 AM | by | ()

So it's the morning after the night before and you're in Madrid looking for a post-New Year's Eve hotel.

Something classy, something to look at and talk about, something to take your mind off the huge stinking hangover you're suffering from. Try the 5-star Hotel Puerta America, possibly the most ostentatiously, self-consciously impractical yet at the same time fascinating design hotel in the world.

Only two years old, its managers gave 12 top designers, including Norman Foster and Zaha Hadid, free rein over 12 separate floors.

The result is a bizarre wedding cake of utterly contrasting styles - in Marc Newson's corridors you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in hell, but you'll have to wear your sunglasses in the freezer-box of Zaha Hadid. Take a web-tour for an idea.

The gym, spa and small swimming pool on the top floor are perfect for some soothing New Year's Day exercise (remember that resolution?) - apparently they offer yoga and pilates on request.

And the quiet location - a cab ride to pretty much any of the main attractions - means you won't be tempted to break your head two nights running.

But you can get quiet locations and spas in most 5-star hotels - this one's special for its design. Don't expect it to be practical - there are reports that in some rooms you have to move the furniture to get at the fridge and so forth - but do expect a whole New Year's dose of style.

If you've spent all your Euros on New Year's Eve partying and can't afford the €155 ($228) double room starting rate, you should at least pop down a drink in the 13th-floor bar overlooking Madrid's lights and sights, then take the stairs down (or chat up the receptionist) for a tour.

By the time you get down to the Lágrimas Negras (Black Tears) restaurant designed by the French genius Christian Liaigre - better as a bar than as a restaurant, to be honest - you'll be needing another stiff drink to recover.

[Photo: Manu Contreras]

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