Tótem Madrid Hotel – A Chic Urban Hotel in Fashionable Salamanca

For a sophisticated boutique vibe with chic urban design, Totem Hotel Madrid hits the mark, writes Andrew Forbes.

Occupying a privileged corner location on a leafy block within the elegant and fashionable Salamanca neighbourhood of Madrid, this swanky hotel is set to be our favourite place to stay in the Spanish capital.


This grand 19th century period building has been carefully restored; and its classic features and generously proportioned rooms have been brought back to life with bold design, rich colours and luxurious contemporary furnishings.

…bold design, rich colours and luxurious contemporary furnishings

In my experience of visiting many contemporary hotels, creating a modern urban hotel within a vintage or historic building is not always easy. Technical issues aside, it’s often the aesthetic that fails – results can be either overtly minimalist, creating a cold and unwelcoming ambiance, or too self-conscious and contrived.

The Totem Madrid in my mind gets the balance just right, thanks to interiors by Barcelona agency Corium. Calming tones in the guest rooms, combined with high quality furnishings, finishes and thoughtful touches, create a warm, welcoming feel.

Public spaces such as the cocktail bar and the restaurant have just enough theatrical touches to create impact, whilst still conveying an elegance that’s in keeping with this 1800s building.

The 64-room Totem Hotel is part of the Marugal Distinctive collection which also includes the Hotel Urso – read our profile on the URSO Hotel Madrid here.

This is a 4-star hotel has all the credentials, style and service of a 5-star, making it an excellent value option for a stay in Madrid.


From the moment of check-in, I could tell that thought had really been put into the guest experience. For example, instead of the ubiquitous paper wallet for my room key cards, I was offered a smart leather wallet, complete with notepad, pen, map, bookmark, hotel details and of course the keys – I loved this idea!

The hotel porter was super-helpful, took my luggage, escorted me to my room, and went on to explain the room in detail with great professionalism – that’s a nice 5-star touch.

The Room

There are five room types from classic doubles right up to suites. The standard rooms are compact, but thanks to soaring ceilings, large windows and light décor, they feel spacious.

I stayed in a corner Junior Suite – this is a fabulous space, with three vintage double windows overlooking the leafy street below. Plenty of light, cool décor in white and grey, and smart design features made me quickly fall in love with the room.

For example, the deep, pull-out drawer mini bar, (filled with some local and national products including treats from Madrid chocolatier Matias Lopez), is designed to automatically switch off at night, to make sure there is no noise in the room. That together the super-comfy beds, sort, pure white linens, effective double-glazing and black out curtains meant the room assured a good night’s sleep, (the fundamental, which too many hoteliers seem to overlook these days).

The Junior Suite was about 32 square metres, with a well-proportioned seating area and extra features such as a Nespresso machine. The room had charming period details, such as the wrought iron Juliet balconies, wooden floors, wall-panelling detailing and pieces of art, including a sculpture and a print.

If you want a more intimate feel to your guest room, ask for one of the Attic deluxe rooms, which have sloping ceilings and really cosy feel.

The Bathroom

The space was compact, without tub, and with only single washbasin, but very stylishly presented with black marble, grey walls, bold floor tiles. Large walk-in rain shower, designer amenities (by Handmade Beauty) bathrobes etc.

If you want a larger bathroom with tub and twin sinks, then opt for one of the super stylish suites.

The Beautiful And The Damned

Hermosos y Malditos is the hotel’s sleek 1920s-insprired cocktail bar & restaurant, providing the life and soul of this urban boutique hotel. Mixologist Fran Camino offers his unique creations together with a full bar list that’s pretty much available all day.

The contemporary yet unpretentious restaurant and bar is surprisingly well-priced for such a fashionable neighbourhood.

Hermosos y Malditos is the hotel’s sleek 1920s-insprired cocktail bar & restaurant

Taking its name from F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel, ‘The Beautiful and Damned’,(about a decadent urban elite)  it has a luxurious feel thanks to superb contemporary design. Decadent blue velvet banquette seating, dark woods and glossy parlour palms create a sexy, Fitzgerald era ambiance in the cocktail bar.

You can read more about our thoughts on Hermosos y Malditos restaurant at the Totem hotel here.

Breakast is also served in the restaurant; an on-trend menu of organic eggs, toasts, juices and treats from the bakery. They also cater for intolerences with products such as gluten free bread.

On Your Doorstep

A stay at the Totem Hotel means that the chic Salamanca district is on your doorstep, home to upscale fashion boutiques as well as cool places to eat such as the Platea Madrid, a vintage cinema, now converted in a gastronomic food court including a gourmet fine-dining restaurant ‘Arriba’, by chef Ramón Freixa, found in the former cinema balcony.

The hotel is also walking distance to some of Madrid’s most on-trend neighbourhoods including Chamberí and Chueca.

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