In 1952, the year in which Spain joined UNESCO and Isabel II became queen after the death of her father, George VI, a transportation businessman and bullfighting breed founder named Baltasar Ibán Valdés realised his dream of opening a five star luxury hotel.
He built it in the neighborhood of Salamanca, which had taken its name from the man who championed its development, José de Salamanca. Today, Salamanca is one of Madrid’s best and most stately districts.
Baltasar Ibán wished to establish a hotel whose prestige matched that of its surroundings – a place where guests could walk to nearby Retiro Park by means of a majestic main thoroughfare. Starting in 1944, he collaborated with architect Luis Blanco Soler to turn his dream of a luxury hotel into a reality – at a time when the tourism industry, as well as the economy in general, was uncertain.
Baltasar Ibán acquired a corner plot at 8 Velazquez Street, on the corner of Velazquez and Villanueva Streets; the plot contained a building with two elegant facades. This building was to become the Wellington Hotel; it is a building that is catalogued and protected in the architectural heritage of Madrid.
After its first few years in the business, the hotel became so popular that an expansion became necessary.
This was done, in 1976 at the adjacent 6 Velazquez Street, where, until 1936, Ramón Gomez de la Serna had had his famous Torreón.
Nowadays, Wellington Hotel Madrid is part of Preferred Hotel Group and Prestige Hotels of the World.
Our rooms have hosted celebrities of great prestige, including Gene Kelly, Xavier Cugat, Graham Greene, Ernest Hemingway, Severo Ochoa, the Dukes of Wellington, and the comedian Gila. Their Majesties the Kings of Spain, their Highnesses the Prince and Princess of Asturias and their Highnesses Princess Elena and Princess Cristina have preferred to call us home while in Madrid, as have innumerable groups of people representing all aspects of society, both from Spain and all over the world.
Additional visitors to the Wellington Hotel include international actors such as Adrien Brody and Matt Damon, the ex-president of France Nicholas Sarkozy, the Nobel Peace Laureate Muhammad Yunus, the Petits Chanteurs de Saint Marc Choir (the choir that appeared in the film Les Choristes) and the actress Paz Vega.