It’s like staying in the home of a well-traveled, aristocratic aunt.
Casa de Madrid is located in a landmark 18th century building across from Madrid’s Royal Opera House. Massive ornate doors lead to a diminutive elevator, and up to the apartment of Marta Medina: art historian, architect, curator, designer, and world traveler.
Doña Medina restored the once-abandoned apartment in the late 1990’s, designing each and every inch herself.
All surfaces, horizontal and vertical are covered with relics and mementos from her many trips. Books are literally stacked to the ceiling.
When she ran out of wall surfaces, artwork was hung on the ceilings.
Medina’s inspired seven guest rooms are theatrically decorated to represent her favorite places.
“The decoration of each room is very different, yet on the whole, when you walk through the house, you can feel the harmony. It is like the same person with a different sense of humour.”
Welcome Beyond.com interview with Marta Medina
Just after I got there, Bianca Jagger checked into the Syrian room. (I was able to see it before she arrived.) The walls of the room are hand painted with Mediterranean motifs, and curtained doors call to mind exotic tents.
In the Greek room, walls are painted with Ionic columns against an Aegean blue “sky.”
On the ceiling, celestial stars are painted into panels of a Greek key-patterned grid.
As in the other guest rooms, Marta has ingeniously designed interior en suite bathrooms.
In the Japanese room, a shower and toilet have been fitted into corners, behind mirrored doors.
The wall behind the bed in this room is draped with a graphic Zen symbol.
In many of the rooms, canvas panels hang from hinged rods on the windows, a clever invention of Marta’s.
My room is called The Leaves of April room. Walls are draped with block-printed Indian cotton in a traditional Cypress tree motif.
When in residence, Marta stays in her dreamy Roman Salon.
I sat down for tea with Marta, and spoke with her of journeys, and art, and life. It was fascinating to be a guest in the home of this illustrious woman.
Sharing my passion for travel with her, she put into words the impetus for those of us who are most fulfilled on the road:
“I travel to evolve.”
A memorable proclamation from a memorable place.
Casa de Madrid
Calle de Arrieta, 2