Room Mate Alicia

Plaza de Santa Ana, Madrid, Spain Book from Book from £63 per night

Chic, contemporary and supremely comfortable - an eye catching hotel that's perfectly located for Madrid's central barrios, parks and museums
The quirky philosophy of Room Mate is to infuse their hotels with the character of an imaginary personality. Here you meet the sophisticated Alicia, whose love of the ‘better things in life’ is reflected in every corner of this lofty building. It's a former woollens factory, once the only industrial building in central Madrid, now metamorphosed by interior design supremo Pascual Ortega.

Stepping into the reception from leafy Plaza de Santa Ana, through sliding glass doors flanked by aluminium panels, you are greeted by a svelte, nude video figure that walks hypnotically towards you. Next you notice metallic torso sculptures, then an extraordinary stainless-steel staircase with flowing Art-Nouveau tendrils that point the way to your room. Ortega was given free rein and an open cheque book to create 34 spaces to sleep that leave the mundane a long way behind. The 2 Duplex Suites, complete with plunge pools and terraces overlooking the hip square (packed with bars and restaurants) just shout 'special celebration for 2'.

Highs

  • It's at the epicentre of young, bohemian Madrid, surrounded by great bars and restaurants, plus there's a super-cool sushi bar in the hotel's lobby
  • The city's main attractions (Thyssen museum, Reina Sofia museum, The Prado and Retiro Park) are all a stone's throw away
  • The unique building looks great from within and without. At night the elegant glass-fronted upper storeys are lit in changing colours, adding a unique visual element
  • Staff treat you as they would a friend, and are chosen according to how easily they slot into the Room Mate ‘way of being’
  • Every corner of the hotel is filled with weird and wonderful art; this is as far from chain-hotel standards as you can get

Lows

  • All rooms feature in-room bathrooms with glass showers; perhaps a hotel for couples rather than friends (though families are very welcome, too)
  • This part of Madrid rocks on into the early hours, and there’s usually some noise down in the square. Bring ear plugs if you’re a light sleeper
  • There's no communal outdoor space
  • The hotel’s eclectic decorative cocktail might seem contrived - but it’s certainly different!
  • With occupancy of 90% across the year, advance booking is a must

Best time to go

Madrid is a fascinating place to visit at any time of year. But remember that the city can be very cold in winter and sweltering-hot in summer. There's a huge annual exodus during the month of August, which can be a great time to visit - provided you can handle temperatures that can get into the 40s.

Our top tips

It would seem crazy to stay for less than 2 or 3 nights - the Barrio de las Letras is one of Madrid's most attractive quarters and there's plenty to occupy your days and evenings. You could use the city as a base for a week, take in the sights, and slot in day trips out to Avila, Segovia and Toledo (all are less than an hour away by train).

Great for...

City Style
Family
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 34
  • Restaurant (open daily)
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
Room:

Rooms

Ortega has created a series of spaces that are both soothing and stimulating. He opted for a soft palette of cool pastel shades for the walls, ceilings and carpets, which provides an understated backdrop for more colourful, jazzy decorative elements: 70s-style lamps, unusual plastic drum tables, bright stripy cushions, repros of Pop Art classics by Warhol and Lichtenstein, and chairs covered in pastel suedes that match the feature wall colour. Black-and-white block-mounted photos of 19th-century Madrid pay lip service to the building's past, whilst the bathrooms, with their dark slate floors, top-end taps and gleaming stainless steel fittings, take you back to the 21st. All are in-room with glass showers, so if you’re travelling with a friend or as a family with older kids, we’d suggest you opt for a Junior Suite or Duplex which have more privacy thanks to the additional space.

All gadgetry in the bedrooms is top spec. Flatscreen plasma TVs take on a secondary role as constantly changing framed pictures, whilst mirrored headboards framed in beech shelving reflect the natural light which streams in through the high window openings. Double-glazing and electronically operated blinds keep the rooms dark at night.

The fab factor is upped another notch in the 2 highbrow Duplex Suites at the very top of the hotel. Each has its own private sun terrace with a corner plunge pool and views onto the square below. We were lucky enough to be in one of the 3 Junior Suites during our 2014 revisit. We loved the fabulous views of Plaza de Santa Ana from the bathtub as well as the bedroom. Standard Rooms (the only room which can be set up as a twin) are similar in design but smaller, while Executive Rooms benefit from a small balcony.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Cd player
  • Central heating
  • Cots Available
  • Dvd player
  • Extra beds
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Phone
  • Safe box
  • Tv
  • WiFi

Eating

Partner restaurant Miss Sushi, wrapped into the ground floor of the building, adjacent to the lobby, is an integral part of the hotel. Breakfast is served in here for hotel guests only and follows a well-rehearsed Room Mate formula: a big and inviting buffet feast with good sounds to accompany your repast. There are mueslis and cereals, croissants and cakes, a range of bread, fruit and yoghurts, cheeses both French and Spanish, and a platter of cold meats - as well as the offer of a hot breakfast of eggs, bacon and sausages (with garlic and tomato should you fancy starting the day in true Spanish style).

Miss Sushi is then open throughout the day, offering a huge range of sushi and Japanese dishes in its funky grey and fuchsia dining room; there’s a full bar, too. Guest are able to have meals delivered to their room if they wish.

You couldn’t be better placed for eating out, however. For top-end traditional Castillian cuisine, L’Hardy is just around the corner (though it is a little pricey). You could dip in and out of the bars in Calle de las Huertas, right next to the hotel, trying different tapas and wine in each. Do find time to people-watch from one of the terraces on Plaza de Santa Ana over a coffee or digéstif; worth a visit are Cervecería Alemana, a favourite watering hole of Hemingway, and La Venencia, an impressive sherry bar popular amongst the locals.

Features include:

  • Children meals
  • Minibar/fridge
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Alicia is within easy walking distance of 3 of Spain’s most extraordinary collections of paintings, those of the Thyssen museum, the Reina Sofia museum and the Prado. The staggering collection at the Prado includes 'Las Meninas' by Velázquez, as well as huge collections of El Greco and Goya’s finest work. If you’re more interested in modern art, or want to see Picasso's haunting anti-war statement 'Guernica', you’d be best concentrating on the Reina Sofía
  • The Barrio de las Letras, wrapping round the Alicia, is a plexus of narrow streets with a myriad of bars, restaurants and quirky little corner shops. Set aside time for a beer and tapas at one of the cervecerías or vinotecas in the leafy Plaza de Santa Ana, a great place for people-watching
  • Head to the Plaza Mayor for a coffee at one of its many pavement cafés. Madrid's most famous square, it's enclosed by 17th- and 18th-century residences and packed with living statues and buskers
  • Don’t miss the Retiro Park. Close to both the Reina Sofia and the Prado, and a 10-minute walk from Alicia, this is a great place to recharge your batteries, perhaps with a siesta in the shade looking over the boating lake. A number of small stalls selling second-hand books are at its southern end; the Palacio de Cristal, just behind the lake, stages exhibitions of contemporary painting and sculpture
  • The vast Royal Palace (Palacio Real, a 20-minute walk away) remains the official residence of the Spanish royal family, even though they have long since debunked to the more manageable Zarzuela Palace. Many of the 2,000 frescoed rooms and chandeliered halls are open to the public and the landscaped gardens are a great place to unwind after your visit
  • Head north across Alcalá to Gran Vía (10 minutes' walk). It's home to many of Madrid’s cinemas, you’ll also find everything from high street fashion chains, music stores, bars, restaurants and night clubs to top-brand shopping in the Corte Inglés

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Traditional cultures

Kids

Children are welcome at Alicia, and with such a great location, it's hard to think of a better hotel to stay in in the city. There’s a public playground across the road from the hotel, and the proximity of the Retiro Park, just a short stroll away, is a big plus for parents: any kids past toddling age will enjoy boating on the lake. And it's worth remembering that the Prado offers guided tours of the gallery that are pitched at kids, in which they're asked to look for clues in paintings. This is a really fun way for them to get to know some of the most remarkable pieces.

Under 12s go free and children aged 12+ incur a small fee per night. Breakfast is charged on top.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Only the suites can fit an extra bed or baby cot. If your budget stretches to it, you would be best to book a Duplex Suite, which has plenty of room plus a private terrace and a plunge pool.

Babysitting:

Offered by the hotel for an extra fee.

Baby equipment:

  • Baby cots

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Children's meals:

The hotel serves a very child-friendly breakfast (continental with a few cooked options), but the restaurant, Miss Sushi isn't the most suitable eatery for little ones, plus there are no kitchenettes; however, you're well placed for eating out, and kids are a welcome sight in restaurants.

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Public playground opposite the hotel
  • Take an art walk to the Prado, Thyssen and Reina Sofia
  • Visit the Casa de Campo, a lake, zoo and amusement park complex, by the Teleférico cable car
  • Retiro Park has street theatre, cafés and a boating lake
  • There's a small aquarium in central Madrid
  • The botanical gardens are nearby

Families Should Know:

Some rooms have terraces, possibly not good for toddlers.

Distances:

  • Airport: 25 minutes (traffic dependent)
  • Doctor: Can be called to the hotel
Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

Based on 8 independent reviews from i-escape guests

9/10
Room
7/10
Food
10/10
Service
9/10
Value
8/10
Overall

A very nice hotel with pristine location in the heart of trendy Madrid district Las Letras. We rented two rooms 303 and 307. The 307 is a treat. Spacious and sunny, with nice view on adjacent plaza and modern taste. It breaths rise and shine spirit. Room 303 much smaller, has the same decoration, though lacks any view or sun coming in. More for the clubbers wishing to sleep in late as it is a very quiet room.
The hotel offers no food though adjacent restaurants are plenty and delicious.

9/10,

Liked the location.

9/10,

Only thing that would have made me happier is if the window in our room would have opened. I love fresh air. Location and service was excellent. Front desk personnel couldn't have been more helpful.

9/10,

Fantastic location and very friendly and helpful service. Only weakness was the odour of the rooms, very musty with insufficient ventilation. Also the bed linens were not fresh, especially our pillow cases. Overall value is normally fine, but the rooms were more expensive possibly due to the Madrid Marathon through the centre of the city.

7/10,

This hotel is a little gem! The situation is perfect: within walking distance of the Prado, the Thyssen collection, the Reina Sofia and the Retiro Park. The neighbourhood is lively and has many small and eclectic shops, funky restaurants and bars, far from fast food chains and big brand names. We liked the Brown Bear Cafe for coffee and cakes, the Lamucca restaurant for light meals and pizza, and El Barril de las Letras for smarter eating. All are minutes walk from the hotel. We had a double exterior room, which is definitely worth paying that little bit extra for as these rooms look onto the square (as opposed to an interior courtyard) and are a good size and full of light. Staff were very welcoming and attentive. I would definitely recommend this hotel.

10/10,

Our room was ideally located for many wonderful museums, shops and restaurants. The duplex apartment had a charming terrace and fountain. The services and kindness of staff was outstanding. Fantastic bed and tub. The only drawback for "tired tourist legs" was steps up to second floor bathroom, but perhaps only an issue for seniors. Overall GREAT stay.

10/10,

A lovely hotel in a perfect location. No view to speak of (interior wall view) which was a shame. A large comfortable room, perfect temperature, even in mid winter, very comfy bed, loved the sofa/table/tv area, lots of storage. Great little welcome pack and toiletries which were replenished daily. Didn't try breakfast. I would recommend this hotel.

9/10,

A great hotel in fantastic location. Our second visit was every bit as good as the first. The hotel is fun, casual and hip and what it lacks in luxury touches, it makes up for in value for money. The staff are extremely helpful and very friendly. And then there's Plaza Santa Ana literally on the doorstep. Recommended.

10/10,

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Rates for Room Mate Alicia