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Shopping in Madrid

Shopping in Madrid offers something for all budgets.

Key areas

The smartest shopping district is Salamanca, around Calle Serrano. Designer names like Armani, Chanel, Versace, Hermès and Hugo Boss, including the elegant cuts of Spanish designer Adolfo Domínguez, are located on Calle Ortega y Gasset.

 

Another trendy area is Chueca, especially Calles Almirante and Conde de Xiquena, for outlet shoe shops while the place for youth fashions and new boutiques is on and around Calle Fuencarral. Explore the streets around Calle Toledo behind Plaza Mayor for a bit more local character.

Markets

The main areas for antiques are Salamanca and the arcades on Calle Ribera de Curtidores - Nuevas Galerías, at number 12, and Galerías Piquer, at number 29. Bargain hunters should make for the Rastro, Madrid's famous flea market. The market is open on Sunday mornings (closing at 1400).

Shopping centres

The most convenient area for tourists is around Calle de Preciados, between Sol and Gran Vía, home to El Corte Inglés department store, and high-street names like Zara, Gran Vía 32, and Casa Jiménez.

Opening hours

Madrid's shops are generally open from 0930/1000 to 1330/1400 and 1630/1700 to 2030/2100, with major stores open throughout the lunch hours. Shops on Calle Preciados and around the Puerta del Sol are open every Sunday, while in other areas they usually open on the first Sunday of every month.

Souvenirs

For a huge range of traditional espadrilles, don’t miss Casa Hernanz, Calle Toledo 18, while Capas Seseña, Calle Cruz 23, opened in 1901 and is the only shop in the world to sell capes exclusively. Buy fashion wear, wines, leather wine bottle holder called bota, olive oil, cured ham or cheeses if you're looking for souvenirs in Madrid.

Tax information

VAT (IVA) of 21% is charged on most goods in Spain. It is possible for visitors from outside the EU to claim a tax refund from many central shops - shoppers should look for the Global Refund Tax Free Shopping stickers in windows and ask for Tax Free Cheques and keep with receipts to be presented at airport customs upon departure. Further information is available from Global Blue (www.globalblue.com).

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Featured Hotels

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Petit Palace Ducal Chueca

Located close to the Gran Via, this Madrid hotel can truly boast 'all mod cons'. Part of the state-of-the-art High Tech hotel chain, its 58 boutique rooms are full of electronic knobs and whistles, including a flat screen TV and a hydro-massage shower. That doesn't impinge on comfort levels, though, and the red and black décor gives it a classy feel.

Vincci Soma

The location is one of the main attractions of this 170-room boutique hotel in Madrid, opposite Goya Metro station in the upmarket Salamanca district, 1km (0.6 miles) from Retiro Park and the chic shops of Calle Serrano. There are a few forays into the realm of luxury service, with a pillow menu and a book delivery service. The restaurant serves creative Mediterranean dishes.

Hotel Trafalgar

Less than 10 minutes from the centre of town by metro (Iglesia or Bilbao), the Trafalgar is a modern hotel that is popular with both tourists and businesspeople. It lies in a residential neighbourhood, well provided with shops, restaurants and other amenities. The 48 en-suite rooms, while unexceptional, are air-conditioned and have direct-dial telephones and TV. There is also a laundry service and currency exchange. The English-speaking staff are friendly and helpful.

Hotel Paris

One of the popular cheap options in Madrid’s Puerta de Alcalá area, Hotel Paris' 120 rooms are surprisingly spacious, decorated in classic style – this was one of the first luxury hotels in Madrid at the start of the 20th century. It was only when the Ritz was established in 1910 that it was relegated to a more modest category. Its main attraction is its location, right on the Puerta del Sol, with the main cultural stops right on its doorstep.

Hotel Unico

Despite the name, this five-star property in the heart of Madrid's most affluent neighbourhood, Salamanca, is not exactly unique – at least in terms of interior design. But based in a 19th-century palace, it is smart and elegant, with numerous luxurious touches such as the coffee machine in the rooms, the ground-floor garden that manages to block out the noise of the city and the staff who deliver complimentary chocolates and water to your room in the afternoon. Breakfast in the aforementioned garden is an extravagant affair, with fresh-baked pastries, Iberico ham, fine cheese and eggs to order.

The Principal

Concealed behind a palatial facade, The Principal is situated on the corner of one of Madrid's most important streets, Gran Vía. The entrance, reception and dining area are handsomely decorated, with portraits of aristocrats and fine wooden furnishings conjuring 19th century grandeur. Rooms are stylish without being ostentatious; expect carpeted floors and elegant but simple furniture. Ask for a room overlooking Gran Vía for terrific views over the city, or you can always pop up to the roof terrace for a drink.