Madrid kicked off the millennium with a hotel boom, during which the number of hotel rooms nearly doubled. From 2009 to 2010 alone, they increased by 4,000, and the (failed) bids to host the Olympic Games then pushed up the total amount to about 900 hotels and 86,000 rooms by early 2014.
Plenty of the new arrivals are medium-price chain hotels that try to combine striking design with affordable prices. A step higher is the handful of new hotels that lure the hip crowd with top-notch design and superb food and nightlife. These have caused quite a stir in the five-star range and forced some of the more traditional hotels—long favored by dignitaries, star athletes, and artists—to enhance their food and service. Meanwhile, hostals and small hotels have shown that low prices can walk hand in hand with good taste and friendly service.
The Gran Vía, a big commercial street and Madrid's equivalent to Broadway in New York, cuts through many neighborhoods. During the day it has a good feel of Madrid's hustle and bustle and nightlife energy, but it does lose a bit of its charm when stores are closed.