Madrid – swimming and architecture on Gran Via
Gran Via is one of the main arteries in central Madrid, connecting Calle Alcala with Plaza de Espana. Its a lively shopping area with lots of restaurants on the side streets leading off it.
Hotel Emperador 53 Gran Via, www.emperadorhotel.com
Get off at Metro Santo Domingo on the red line. Come out of the Gran Via exit and look for the yellow sign of the Emperador on the corner behind you.
Temperatures can soar in Madrid and in mid-summer on my day off I usually head to the outdoor pools at Casa de Campo. Entrance there is €5 in the week and €6 at the weekend and it can get very busy. Once though I couldn’t be bothered with the hassle of catching the metro out to Lago so I came to the rooftop pool at the Hotel Emperador instead.
I bit the bullet and shelled out €33. It’s €44 at the weekend but I was fortunate to have Friday off so I could get the cheaper rate. I was told by a friend that it could be standing room only on a Saturday and I can imagine it’s a popular hangout for party people to chill after a hard night on the town. There’s a soundtrack of chilled house music in the area away from the pool and not too many noisy kids.
For your money you get a sun bed and a towel which you wouldn’t get at Casa de Campo. Also the views are better; on one side there is the Palacio Real and on the other a couple of rooftop art deco statues you wouldn’t see if you were looking up from Gran Via. Also, because you are ten floors up you can catch the cool breezes too. No swimming caps seem to be necessary here either.
A G&T costs €11 but you the measures are stiff. Mahou beers are about €3. I had the Emperador burger with goats cheese which was ok (B). In short, a good spot for a bit of pampering.
As befits a street called Gran Via, there are lots of grand buildings along its length.
And some slightly smaller ones on the side streets off it. I’d love to have access to the roof garden of this one.