When the NH hotel chain took over this venerable railway hotel in 1997, they gutted the building and constructed a modern hotel inside the shell. The rooms are not very big, but from the wood-laminate floors to the granite sinks to the brushed stainless cabinet knobs and trim, everything is simple, robust, and modern. The desks are practical and include good task lighting and a comfortable chair. There are a lot of nice little touches, like the bedside pamphlets of short stories, the abstract art on the walls, and the complimentary newspapers in several languages in the lobby. Location is great—a 5-minute walk to the Prado, the Reina Sofía, or the CaixaForum. The only shortcoming is that the Nacional hosts a lot of conferences and conventions and can get crowded when everyone needs to get out the door (or down the elevators) at precisely the same moment.