There are plenty of places to see masterpieces in Madrid, but there is only one where you can stay. The Urban Hotel, Madrid's first five-star deluxe boutique lodging, opened in 2005 just up the road from the Prado. Its bold architecture and graceful design allow even business travelers who might be too busy to ponder Velásquez's Las Meninas or Picasso's Guernica to relish the city's knack for aesthetic excellence. The Urban's spiraling glass-and-steel structure surrounds a courtyard with a towering alabaster column, and its roof-top pool and bar blend in beautifully with Madrid's varied skyline.
Art is a theme everywhere in the hotel; my room alone had a Buddha statue from the 3rd century B.C. Qin dynasty and a Ming print of two smiling couples. Throughout the Urban, the mix of deep browns, sleek silvers and airy spaces strikes a perfect balance between coolness and warmth. You'll want nothing more than to grab a drink in the aptly named Glass Bar (it's surrounded by glass) or to dine in the elegantly low-key restaurant (try the red tuna tartare). In Madrid, from the art of living to art itself, good taste reigns supreme.