Madrid’s legendary hotel was, at the time of writing, closed for a top-to-bottom refurbishment, but if you are searching for the epitome of Belle Époque indulgence, keep an eye out for its grand reopening in late 2019. When Alfonso XIII married in 1908, he was dismayed that Madrid lacked a hotel befitting his guests. He wanted something to equal the Ritz in Paris or London, so engaged César Ritz to consult on the design and lend his name. No expense was spared. Charles Mewes, architect of the Paris Ritz, was hired, carpets were hand-crafted at the Real Fábrica de Tapices, 20,000 pieces of Limoges china were imported from France. Famous guests have included Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly, who honeymooned here; Frank Sinatra serenaded Ava Garner at its piano—she was reputedly wearing nothing but a fur coat; Salvador Dalí unwittingly invented its famous Dalitini cocktail with his own blood. Over its 100-plus years its brocade and velvet have sometimes become a little frayed, and it has changed hands many times, but its latest incarnation promises something special: New owners Mandarin Oriental are spending more than $120 million on the renovation, which will include restoring the original glass dome and creating a 2,000-square-foot royal suite. In truth, few will have the opportunity to stay here, but why not plan to go for afternoon tea? As the Spanish chanteuse Lilian de Celis sang: “If I live to be a hundred and six, I’ll never forget my afternoons at the Ritz.”