For art's sake, a Madrid package

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MADRID -- The Hotel Ritz, an Orient-Express Hotels property centrally located in the cultural district here, is offering an Art Discovery in Madrid package that includes entrance to three of the capital's major art collections through the end of December.

The three-night deal includes deluxe accommodations in a "classic" category room; a private, three-hour tour of Madrid in a chauffeured car; one five-course dinner for two, with wine, at the Ritz's Goya Restaurant; an afternoon tea for two; roundtrip, chauffeured airport transfers; daily buffet breakfast; and welcome flowers, champagne and fresh fruits. The three museums featured in the package are the Prado, which is undergoing a major expansion and houses one of the world's foremost art collections; the Reina Sophia Museum, home to an extensive modern-art collection that includes Pablo Picasso's "Guernica"; and the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum, which features paintings by Picasso, Delacroix and Goya.

The package is priced from about $1,695 for two people in the low season (February, July and August) -- and about $1,960 in the high season.

The 167-room Hotel Ritz, built in 1910 for Spain's King Alfonso XIII, was acquired by Orient-Express Hotels last May for $135 million.

The company, along with partner Omega Capital, is investing $25 million to upgrade the hotel and add facilities, including a spa, a dining terrace and additional meetings space.

The hotel's existing facilities include 30 suites and the Ritz Terrace, a 66-seat restaurant in a garden setting.

Travel agent commission is 10% when the package is booked through the Crown Collection by Crown International Marketing at (800) 628-8929 and [email protected].

To contact reporter Kenneth Kiesnoski, send e-mail to [email protected].

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