Westin Palace, Madrid
Built at the behest of the king in 1912, the luxurious Palace was the place to stay for decades afterward. The sheen has never really worn off, thanks to its location just off the Paseo del Prado and to its grandeur, apparent in the marble-floored lobby and the rotunda room with its massive stained-glass cupola. The 465 rooms and suites (junior, executive, and royal) provide luxury points for every palate, though rates can zoom up to $1,200 a night (or $7,000 for the top-floor royal suite). One annoyance: lower-priced rooms are levied a hefty hourly charge for Internet service, free in pricier rooms.
Insider Tip: This is the best place in town to splurge on mid-afternoon tea or Sunday brunch.
Room to Book: Gorgeous, Neoclassical executive suites (ending in “23” or “36” up to the 6th floor) have views of the Neptune fountain in the Plaza Cánovas del Castillo.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.