Room Mate Lola

Malaga & Cordoba, Spain Book from

Noughties eclecticism with a big splash of designer derring-do at the heart of Málaga's old city centre
Each Room Mate hotel takes an imaginary personality as its decorative touchstone. In this instance Lola's your girl: young, attractive, a lover of jazz and a teacher of dance, she's very much 'in the zone' when it comes to fashion. So, given free rein to revamp a 50-room hotel, designer Lorenzo Castillo has created a young and post-modern mood. Mixing stainless steel, glass and leather, the spaces are as eye-catching as they are innovative.

Reception sets the tone. You check in at a leather table beside a zebra-skin pouffe, where the young staff are clad in all black T-shirts and jeans with an infective 'let's relax' attitude, and easy smiles. A wall of glass with a huge chrome-surround porthole demarcates a diaphanous breakfast bar and split-level chill-out area, where white leather L-sofas gleam beneath arty black-and-white abstracts. Lola's bedrooms pack the same funky, decorative punch and an inspirational vibe permeates every corner of this city-centre hotel.

Highs

  • Malaga is not just an airport city: there's the Picasso museum, the CAC arts centre (just round the corner), the Renaissance cathedral, live music and a massive August festival
  • Rooms come with a modest price tag considering their degree of comfort
  • The mood is relaxed and intimate, despite there being 50 rooms
  • You can expect a really good breakfast which could easily become brunch given the long serving hours (until 12pm), and it's nice to sip your coffee whilst watching the world go by outside

Lows

  • The setting has always been a bit seedy - expect to see a few low lifes, prostitutes and sex shops - although the area is being given a thorough spring clean, its streets pedestrianised and the future is looking much brighter
  • It can be quite noisy at night, both inside the hotel and out. If you're a light sleeper ask for a room at the rear of the hotel
  • Chill music is piped into the communal areas throughout the day

Best time to go

Málaga is a great place to visit at any time of year. The city gets packed out during its extraordinary Semana Santa (Easter Holy Week) celebrations which vie with those of Seville. The annual feria, which kicks off on the second Friday in August, is one of Andalucia's biggest parties: if you're keen to try dancing a sevillano (similar to flamenco), this is the time to be in town.

Our top tips

Whet your appetite for the region with a Picasso biography and perhaps a copy of Laurie Lee's As I Walked Out One Midsummer Morning (he passed through Malaga on his epic walk).

Great for...

Beach
City Style
Family
  • = Recommended
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 50
  • Breakfast only (walk to restaurants)
  • 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
  • Concierge Service
Room:

Rooms

Lola's 50 bedrooms and suites are stacked up on 4 floors, connected by slick, open-plan glass and chrome staircases and corridors matted in woven vinyl. An overall black-and-white decorative palette is pepped up with a different colour on each floor: green on the first, yellow on the second, blue on the third, and on the top level a mix of greens and lilacs.

All rooms have been funkily decked out by Castillo, with a minimum of decorative clutter in which angle, line and colour are lead role players: the plasma screen TVs, clean-cut writing desks, mirror-fronted wardrobes, chrome bedside lamps and woven vinyl floors are all in synch with his Noughties brief. Fast WiFi reaches every room whilst there are iPads in reception should you need them.

Standard Rooms have 30s-style leather armchairs, and these smaller rooms are given a more spacious feel with mirrored walls and wardrobes. Expect to find a stack of fashion and design mags on your bedside table and - a nice old-fashioned touch, we thought - a postcard of the hotel. We found mattresses to be really comfortable, pillows less so. Book a Junior Suite or an Executive Room for extra living space - and you'll be able to slump in a Corbusier-style leather sofa.

All of the bathrooms, bar 3, have bathtubs with overhead showers and non-standard rooms come with twin sinks. There are thick and fluffy towels, magnifying mirrors and small bottles of gel, shampoo and tangerine-scented soap, in keeping with Room Mate's orange branding.

Features include:

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

Eating

The glass-fronted breakfast room is a great place to kick off your day. Morning sunlight filters in across the jazzy, black and white banquette and diner-style tables, and the feeling of space, along with the soft chill music, induces an easy, relaxed mood.

Breakfast, laid along the black marble bar, follows the standard Room Mate formula of a big buffet and includes cereals, fruit, bottled fruit juices, yoghurts, scrambled eggs and bacon, serrano ham, olive oil and tomatoes - try an Andalucian-style tostada and a big bowl of fruit fresh from Málaga's wonderful indoor market. The serve-yourself espresso machine is a bit of a faff to operate but its coffee is really excellent.

There are heaps of great bars and restaurants within walking distance. During the day, head down to the beach and try the local speciality pescaito frito (fried sardines) at one of the seafront restaurants or wander along to the newly revamped Puerto area where El Muelle 1 Gastropub should be first choice for a fine dining experience. In the evening go on a tapas crawl in the area around the cathedral, starting with sherry and seafood in the Antigua Casa de la Guarda. Alternatively, treat yourselves to 3 courses at Mesón Iberico, or wander a few yards down the street to the CAC museum whose Oleum restaurant is now in the top league of Málaga diners.

Features include:

  • Breakfast
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Don't miss the Picasso museum, which has a huge permanent collection as well as temporary exhibitions of the Malagueño artist's work or drop by at the Carmen Thyssen museum if you prefer art from the 18th and 19th centuries

  • Find time to visit the Contemporary Art Centre, just around the corner from Lola (which it also has a great restaurant)

  • Visit the beautiful old cathedral, then window shop along Calle Larios; the town's main pedestrian thoroughfare

  • Head up the hill of the Gibralfaro for a stunning vista of Málaga, to see the Moorish fortress, The Alcazaba, and perhaps stop for coffee and cakes in the parador

  • Spend a day on one of the beaches just east of Málaga where you'll find some of Andalucia's best chiringuitos (beachside restaurants)

  • Wander the town's backstreets and check out the lively covered market, one of best in Andalucia

  • Pick up a copy of Malaga's 'What's On' guide. The chances are that your visit will coincide with some good musical events

  • If you're approaching from Marbella, stop off at Mijas for a dazzling glimpse of its white house facades clustered together under a rocky brow

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping / markets
  • Swimming

Kids

As in any hotel in Spain, kids are welcome but Lola doesn't really feel quite right for them with its designerish, chilled-out vibe. However under 12s stay for free in parents' room with a supplement for older children or adults.

Family friendly accommodation:

Cots Available, Extra Beds Available

Babysitting:

Babysitting available by arrangement

Baby equipment:

Baby cots available on request

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

Kids Activities nearby:

Kids would really enjoy the big play area that is part of the Muelle 1 waterfront complex.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

9/
Rooms
6/
Food
8/
Service
9/
Value
8/
Overall

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