On Plaza del Carmen, right in front of our hotel, one building is the centre of attention. Initially built by Daniel Zavala in 1898 with the purpose of holding a fronton, in 1906 it was given a new cultural use as well as its sporting one: the Central Kursaal was created, a café-chantant, a Madrid-style music hall where illustrious people such as the dramatist and novelist Ramón del Valle-Inclán frequently went to enjoy different shows with the most famous artists of the time.
Also during that time, in the early 20th century, another building of a similar kind was built on Plaza del Carmen on the land where an old bazaar used to be. Salón Chantecler became a very successful entertainment spot during that time with performances by famous cabaret artists such as ‘La Chelito’, with the “Sold Out’ sign being hung outside every day.
Before and after the performances by La Chelito, the square was filled with admirers who waited to see her go past and blow her a kiss. In the 1920s, she bought the building with her savings and it first became the Teatro Eldorado and then Teatro Múñoz Seca. With this last name it survived through time until today, although there are no more cabaret shows because the new owner, a businesswoman with straight morals who recovered La Chelito’s real name of Consuelo Portela, wanted it so.
Teatro Múñoz Seca
In the 1940s, Central Kursaal, that had also since become a theatre for a brief time of two years, was remodelled once again to hold the Cines Madrid cinemas. It was then that the beautiful facade was added, the one you can see from the windows of our hotel, with a doorway sustained by four columns.
The arrival of Cine Acteón cinema in Plaza del Carmen definitively established it as a cultural and leisure enclave in Madrid for the last quarter of the century. Visitors from in and out of the city visit it to enjoy cinema and theatre. In the end, Cines Madrid closed in 2002 and its future still remains unclear. However, the square has performing arts and shows in its identity and we are sure that a new cultural project will rise again.
Just a few yards from the Puerta del Sol, Plaza del Carmen is a popular spot in the area and one of the main access ways to our hotel in the centre of Madrid.