A quirky, clubby hotel located overlooking the oblong Plaza de San Martín near the Royal Theater and Palace, Room Mate Laura feels like a time warp to an IKEA catalog of the early aughts. Every room is forcefully color-coordinated—think white walls and white linens with red pillows and red plastic chairs—which can be joyful or jarring, depending on your vacation vibe. Questionable aesthetics aside, rest assured that Room Mate Laura is a comfortable and clean hotel with big, cushy beds and plenty of natural light.
One of the most magical hotel amenities in town, “Wi-Mate” is a pocket-size gadget that grants you free, secure wireless internet anywhere in the city. Request one at the reception desk.
Nothing is too serious at Room Mate Laura. Turquoise headboards, blown-up prints of Juana de Austria (the founder of a nearby convent), and patterned, Big Bird-yellow throw pillows exemplify the carefree whimsy that’s part of the Room Mate chain’s DNA. Some rooms feature kitchenettes and many sleep three people. The rooms, not the kitchenettes. Don't sleep in your kitchenette.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Some rooms have stairs, a potential inconvenience for those lugging heavy suitcases.
Compact yet satisfactory, bathrooms feature good-quality shower amenities, plus soft towels and (occasionally) bidets.
A “For Her” amenity box contains makeup remover, a nail file, and sanitary napkins.
Though front-desk staff will go out of their way to make you feel at home, you won’t want to hang out long in the lobby, whose awkward layout and uncozy furniture seem more apt for a nightclub entrance than a hotel's.
Breakfast, the only meal offered at the hotel, is served till noon in the basement dining room, though a number of quality breakfast spots in the neighborhood, such as Boulangerie y Pâtisserie, offer a better bang for your buck.
It’s less than a 10-minute walk to many of Madrid’s top attractions, but for excursions farther afield, there are metro stations close by at Ópera (Lines 2, 5, and R), and Sol (Lines 1, 2, and 3).
Room Mate Laura is dangerously close to Madrid’s most fabled churro spot, San Ginés (4-minute walk), a 24-hour café where towering platters of crisp-fried doughnuts are served piping hot by white-clad waiters. Churros con chocolate are the perfect way to end a tapas crawl on and around Cava Baja (9-minute walk), the city’s most archetypal—if slightly touristy—tapas street where you’ll find stalwart old-school restaurants like Casa Lucio, Casa Lucas, and Botín, the oldest restaurant in the world founded in 1725.
A two-minute walk from the hotel, La Coquette, Madrid’s premier blues bar, offers terrific—and free—nightly shows from Tuesdays to Thursdays in an arcaded brick cellar. Although the venue’s size might be likened to a sardine can, the upside is that every seat is front-row— it’s always a thrill to watch the talented musicians jam out right in front of you. When the show winds down, keep the night going at El Amante, a discoteca around the corner frequented by Spanish celebrities.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Room Mate Laura’s aesthetic may be a tad over the top, but we’ll take playful originality over cookie-cutter corporate any day of the week. The hotel’s portable wifi is a huge money saver for guests without international carrier plans, and though we can’t rave about the breakfasts, there are plenty of delicious, affordable food options right outside your door.