We continue moaning about the Madrid hotel scene with this hotel close to the Orfila and the Paseo de la Castellana in a smart residential area favoured by the Spanish nobility in the early 1900s. No mistake, Santo Mauro is a lovely hotel, but it could be so much more interesting. You'll find some of what we favour: stylish, distinctive interior decoration; and an enviable situation - the entrance is deeply classy, in an off-street court revealing a clean 18thC style exterior (clearly French-influenced) artfully set off by a splendid green metal and glass porch. Service and welcome are OK, nothing special, in fact we suspect the staff may often be hard pressed. The main frustration, from our perspective, is that this is essentially a hotel, part of a chain, a very public place. Under a private owner-manager, it would have a very different atmosphere.
  The reception rooms have superb style - modern urban chic skilfully blended with this old building's grand proportions - but are essentially impersonal. Note the magnificent dining room, in what was once the library. Bedrooms are of course stylish, with gleaming bathrooms.