Major events and new hotel openings will make Madrid a top destination in 2022
The upward trend of Madrid’s tourism industry will continue in 2022 with new and major events and developments that will position the Spanish capital as a top destination in Europe and the world. The mayor, José Luis Martínez-Almeida, took part in the presentation of “Save the Date”, the campaign organised by the City Council to announce some of the most important and surprising offerings in store for visitors, with which the city aspires to maintain its leading position in an industry that is key for its economic, social and cultural development. During the presentation, the mayor stressed that Madrid is enjoying a “vibrant” period, adding that “this ‘Save the Date’ illustrates the city's vitality and is just the tip of the iceberg” with respect to the optimism with which it is planning its exit from the pandemic.
He praised the “excellence of the tourism industry” and the City Council’s commitment to creating “the right framework” to “keep making progress and having the highest per capital spending, and to achieve an increase in high-impact tourism that benefits the industry and the city as a whole”. Almeida singled out gastronomy as a “buoyant sector” and underscored that “nowhere in the world can you eat better in terms of value for money”.
The mayor also applauded the fact that for the first time ever the city of Madrid has made it into the top ten cities chosen by tourists as their preferred leisure destinations, saying “we’ve gone from number 16 to number 10”. He praised IFEMA for positioning the Spanish capital as the world's top city for MICE tourism, “a ranking we’ll try to hold on to”, and welcomed the fact that the Legends Experience project will “make Madrid the global capital of football”.
During the presentation, the mayor was accompanied by municipal delegates Andrea Levy, from the Department of Culture, Tourism and Sport, and Paloma García Romero, from Public Works and Facilities, as well as Tourism Councillor Almudena Maíllo and several representatives of key events and tourist and cultural resources that are new to the city or will join its offerings next year: Ignacio García-Belenguer, managing director of Teatro Real; Michel Notten, managing director of The Madrid Edition hotel; Juan Pablo García, managing director of Galería Canalejas Madrid, and Julián Marmol, the Michelin-starred chef behind the new culinary ventures Monchis and The Eight in Galería Canalejas Food Hall; Marcelo Ordás, director of Legends Experience; and Maribel López, director of ARCOmadrid.
Maíllo explained that ‘Save the Date 2022’ “is a sample intended to highlight what’s in store for us to experience and enjoy next year, in addition to being a testimony to our city’s vibrancy, because despite being hit hard by this crisis, we’re still here, continuing to improve and working as hard -or even harder- to become the top destination for urban tourism”. The Tourism Councillor thanked the industry for its efforts and asked it to keep working with the support of Madrid City Council to “maintain and go beyond what we’re currently achieving, for the whole world to look to Madrid and for us to be a top-ten favourite city destination”.
Major hotel openings
Hotel openings will be of key importance in 2022. In 2021, Madrid welcomed new luxury establishments like the Four Seasons as well as the reopening of hotels like Mandarin Oriental Ritz Madrid, Rosewood Villa Magna and the Santo Mauro, Autograph Collection, all of which belong to major international hotel chains. This trend of openings is set to continue in the first few months of 2022. The Madrid Edition, by Marriott International, is a clear example. Located opposite the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales, it will have 200 guest rooms, a state-of-the-art spa, a rooftop bar and large spaces that can host events. Moreover, in the next two years Gran Vía avenue and its surroundings will welcome at least five new hotels, some of them housed in iconic edifices in the city such as the Metrópolis building.
Plaza de España, a new tourist hub
Another important development is the remodelled Plaza de España, which will continue to be a key spot in 2022. The municipal representative for Public Works and Facilities stressed the transformative potential of the new area, which despite having just reopened has already become one of the city’s most visited tourist spots. Paloma García Romero pointed to the crowds in the square over the last long weekend and this past weekend, saying they were “spectacular, not just with respect to Madrid's residents, but also tourists from all over Spain and the world who wanted to be part of this new centre in the centre”.
After its remodelling, the square, a key area in the city, is now a greener space that has 1,100 new trees and is more pedestrian friendly. The singular spot connects the Royal Palace, La Almudena Cathedral, the Sabatini Gardens and the Temple of Debod, and is set to become one of Madrid's new tourist hubs.
During its complete transformation, numerous archaeological remains were unearthed that will be able to be visited, including two floors from Godoy Palace, the buttresses of the former Royal Stables and the vestiges of the walkway of the old San Gil barracks. With the aim of continuing to increase the number of places of interest in the area, the Tourism Department is planning to create a Royalty Interpretation Centre that will disseminate Madrid’s historical ties to the Spanish monarchy, offering value-added experiences for visitors.
Fine dining, leisure and shopping: Galería Canalejas
With respect to gourmet food and shopping, Madrid can now boast of being home to an avant-garde space that’s unique in Spain: Galería Canalejas, a complex with a leisure and lifestyle concept that invites us to enjoy exclusive experiences in its 15,000 square metres. Located in the heart of the Spanish capital, a stone’s throw away from Puerta del Sol, it has some of the world’s top fashion, fine jewellery and accessories brands and an impressive Food Hall with over a dozen restaurants of varying styles and nationalities, as well as gourmet baked goods.
World Capital of Sport and a new football museum
Madrid will also be a benchmark for sport. The city has been named World Capital of Sport for 2022, which guarantees that it will be hosting all sorts of professional sports events throughout the year. But if there’s one sport that’s almost synonymous with Madrid, it's football. The two will be even more closely linked from next year on with the opening of Legends Experience, a museum in Puerta del Sol devoted to the sport, which will provide an overview of its history with a collection of more than 5,000 pieces. The immersive experience will feature the latest technology and will operate in partnership with FIFA, the UEFA and the world’s most important federations.
Madrid is culture
In the words of the municipal representative for Culture, Tourism and Sport, “we are a city that attracts big investors but also nurtures community-based culture: alternative venues, public and commercial theatres, flamenco clubs. New bookshops have even been opened which have become another of Madrid’s infinite attractions”. Andrea Levy called attention to the fact that the City Council “works to ensure there are appealing cultural offerings for everyone. We have culture and leisure alternatives as different and disparate as Madrid’s personality itself. Madrid is a warm city that attracts people like a magnet and never disappoints”.
There’s no better cultural destination than the Spanish capital, which has a wealth of excellent ways to experience culture with a capital “C”. Madrid can boast of being home to institutions like Teatro Real, the world’s best opera company. With over 200 years of history, the city’s opera house runs a programme that aims to disseminate opera throughout society to make the genre accessible to all audiences, in addition to including flamenco and dance among its offerings. Next year it will stage classics like Lakmé, by Delibes; The Fiery Angel, by Prokofiev; King Arthur, by Purcell; and The Marriage of Figaro, by Mozart, before ending the season with Handrian, by singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright.
ARCOmadrid is another key cultural event that will take place in 2022. The international contemporary art fair will be held from 23 to 27 February and will include over 150 national and international galleries. This edition will have a special 40+1 section to commemorate its over 40 years of history, for which 20 galleries have been selected by María Inés Rodríguez, Francesco Stocchi and Sergio Rubira. One of the biggest developments of the year will come courtesy of the Department of Culture, Tourism and Sport, which in the first half of 2022 will open the new MAD (Madrid Digital Arts) Centre for Immersive Experiences in Nave 16 at Matadero Madrid Centre for Contemporary Creation. This pioneering project in the Spanish capital will combine the exhibition and creation of digital art with research and experimentation with new formats and multimedia content aimed at a broad, diverse audience.
The presentation also reminded the audience of Madrid’s position as a centre for the performing arts, in particular as the capital of musicals in Spanish, with productions that have become tourist attractions in themselves like El Rey León (The Lion King), which is celebrating its tenth anniversary in the city this year. It will soon be joined by other offerings such as El tiempo entre costuras, an adaptation of the book by María Dueñas; Matilda, based on the children’s novel by Roald Dahl; Fama (Fame); and Dirty Dancing, as well as other major productions like Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia.
In addition, every year the City Council organises initiatives that add to Madrid’s cultural and leisure offerings, providing residents and visitors with an exceptionally varied, top-quality programme. Initiatives that will be returning in 2022 are San Isidro (May), the Veranos de la Villa Festival (July-August), the Jazz Festival (November), the Christmas programme (December-January) and the international festival LuzMadrid (October), which was added to Madrid’s calendar this year as the city joined the network of light festivals held around the world.
Information on these and other shows, concerts, exhibitions and tourism developments in the city of Madrid can be found on the city’s official tourist information website, esMADRID.com: https://www.esmadrid.com/en/madrid-save-date