< SPAIN | MADRID: The Westin Palace
The Palace Hotel was built on the former site of the palace of the Duke and Duchess of Medinaceli. In March of 1911 the first stone was laid and only 18 months later the Europe’s largest hotel was inaugurated on October 12, 1912 in the presence of their Royal Highnesses, King and Queen. Each of Its 500 rooms was equipped with in-suite bathrooms, the first hotel in Europe to boast this characteristic, along with a telephone in every room. The distinguished Catalan architect Ferrès y Puig was the creative genius behind this outstanding work in which he installed the most advanced technical innovations of the day with an architectural style in-line with the great Parisian buildings of the Belle Époque.
Since its inauguration, the Palace has been a meeting point for counted artists, intellectuals and politicians as well as a meeting
point and place of relaxation for the inhabitants of Madrid.
Recorded among the guests of its early days are renown artists such as the painter Ignacio de Zuloaga who made the Palace his Madrid residence; the painter Pablo Picasso; the actor Buster Keaton and a long list of others, not forgetting the mysterious Mata-Hari, who stayed in the hotel Ander a pseudonym, leaving only a trace of her adventurous spirit lingering in certain corners of the hotel.
As the years unfolded society’s fashions and customs changed and the Palace remained witness to the passing of famous personalities who were, or became, history: Sarah Bernhard, Federico García Lorca, together with Luis Buñuel, Pablo Picasso and Salvador Dali, Ava Gardner, Rita Hayworth; Hemingway, During the War, Palace was requisitioned by the Republican government as a hospital.
In the famous Rotunda which was the setting for so many teas and balls, an operating theatre was set up for those wounded on the near front. The office of the maîtres d’hôtel and waiters was transformed into that of surgeons and anaesthetists. Formol replaced the dry Martinis.
Today, the Palace is still continuing to be the setting for all kinds of events with the constant presence of artists, writers, Nobel Prize winners, politicians and other famous personalities who will be included in world history.
In 1989 the Palace Hotel was purchased by the prestigious CIGA Hotels chain, a company created in 1906 by Count Giuseppe Volpi who was inspired by the tradition and art of Venetian hospitality.
Since March 1st, 2000 the Palace Hotel belongs to Westin Hotels and Resorts. As from this date the Palace Hotel is known as The Westin Palace Hotel, Madrid.
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