Boasting one of the swankiest rooftop pools in the heart of Chueca, Madrid’s “gayborhood,” Room Mate Óscar caters to a yuppy crowd of artsy and alternative types. In-room bathtubs, stained-glass panels, and indigo light fixtures are a few of the many playful design accents you might notice during your stay. A number of Madrid’s best nightlife venues are at arm’s length—just walk outside onto Plaza de Pedro Zerolo after sunset, and join the bar-hopping crowds of (mostly local) partygoers.
Spanish interior designer Tomás Alía imbued these rooms with a fresh and youthful feel, exemplified by the brightly colored wall panels, quirky lamps, and fluorescent-hued furniture.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The closer your room is to the bumping rooftop terrace, the more likely it is you’ll be reaching for the earplugs come nightfall.
“Designer” bathrooms concealed by thin glass panels may appear stylish but are ultimately impractical and uncomfortable. On the plus side, some clients may appreciate a “for her” bath box complete with makeup remover, a nail file, and good-quality lotion.
Front-desk staff are bubbly and eager to assist but, according to some, aren’t particularly understanding when something goes awry. Comfortable chairs and low tables make this lobby a fine place to plan your next move—if you can get past the wildly patterned Dr. Seuss aesthetic.
Outfitted with Balinese beds, chaises longues, and a cocktail bar, it’s no wonder the rooftop pool at Room Mate Óscar is one of the city’s most "Instagram-worthy" spots to take a dip while also taking pictures of yourself doing that, to show other people. But families, be warned: No children allowed.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The pool opens on June 1 and is only in service through early fall, so don’t let the website’s attractive pool photography fool you when booking in the cold-weather months.
Room Mate Óscar is no culinary destination, but the breakfast smorgasbord—served until noon, but not included in the rate—is perfectly passable.
The rooftop bar, located beside the pool, is this hotel’s main raison d’être, and it lures hordes of see-and-be-seen types from far and wide, as long as the weather is nice.
Most locals didn’t get the memo that the bar was winterized in 2015, making it suitable for cocktailing year round.
Gran Vía, Madrid’s main artery, is just a few blocks south, making foot travel a cinch, but you can also hop on the metro at Gran Vía station (Lines 1 and 5), a four-minute walk from the hotel.
Chueca is a tapas mecca with many neighborhood restaurants specializing in dressed-up finger food. Whet your appetite with Canary Island delicacies like papas arrugadas (wrinkly potatoes dunked in spicy mojo sauce) at Siete Delicatessen inside Mercado de San Antón (3-minute walk), a renovated market whose top two floors are packed with tapas stalls. From there, head a block north to Atlántico, a shiny new Galician restaurant known for its pristine raw seafood, or get your funghi fix at the neighboring El Cisne Azúl, an old-school joint specializing in mushroom dishes.
Don’t let the hordes of foreigners convince you otherwise: the famous bar next to the hotel called El Tigre is a dumpy tourist trap. Sip your suds at Fábrica Maravillas (5-minute walk), Madrid’s only city-center brewpub, instead, where you can choose from a dozen draft beers that were brewed just steps from your barstool. To get a taste of the vibrant gay nightlife that Chueca is known for, duck into Cazador (19-minute drive), a laid-back hipster bar, or go all out at Boite (7-minute walk), a trendy gay discoteca that rages until 6 a.m.
WHY WE LIKE IT
For partygoers, young couples, and single travelers, Room Mate Óscar is the type of hotel where it’s easy to strike up a conversation with a stranger—sort of like a hostel for the martini-drinking, post-collegiate crowd. Stay here in the summer, and you’ll have access to one of the most exclusive pools in the city (plebeians who live here have to pony up €30 for a day pass), but the good times roll year round, too, with the newly winterized rooftop bar. Though the design palette may be ostentatious to some, the hotel’s central location means you won’t want to spend much time in the room anyhow.