My best friend and I were celebrating the birth of our newest business endeavor when a timely email popped in my blog’s inbox with an invitation to visit one of the Room007 Urban Hotels in Madrid.
“Where should we celebrate and toast to the success of our project?”, I asked her. “Does Madrid sound like a good idea?”
Two nights in the Spanish capital to get to know the Room007 Select Sol Hotel in Madrid and – as Sónia never forgot to mention in the months preceding this trip – plenty of tinto de verano on late summer afternoons sounded just right. A couple of xennial gals were ready to take on this hotel in Madrid, so central we actually took time out from sightseeing to nap (or siesta). One, we’re not in our 20s anymore. Two, Madrid was damn hot that weekend (and as the hotel receptionists later confirmed, that was unlike the rest of the summer days).
Location, Location, Location
I’m a poor travel planner. I say this without shame. For a number of things I probably miss out on my first trip to a place, there’s a handful of unexpected stories I end up bringing home with me. I can’t say that’s a bad deal. Despite a friend who knows the city well sharing with me all his insider tips for Madrid, the only little spot on the map that caught my attention was the location of Room007 Select Sol. Was the location really that central or was I, again, failing to understand the scale of the map?
Our accommodation for the weekend was really that central. So central, that we were one Metro ride away between an afternoon nap and any of the top points of interest in the city. On a cool day (of which we had none since it was always blazing hot), you can save the €1.50 Metro ticket fare and walk to the museums or to explore the literary buffs’ dream quarter of Barrio de Las Letras or turn the corner of Calle de las Fuentes (where the hotel is) and catch an Opera show at El Real.
How Much of it is Like Other Low-Cost Hotels?
If half-naked drunken guests, cramped rooms with a dozen bunk beds, and communal bathrooms come to mind when you think of low-cost hotels and you feel like running for your life, at Room007 Select Sol you’re safe.
One of the cornerstones for Tripper is being/going local as much as possible, so I never choose a large hotel chain to stay at. I look for hotels with a backstory, a central location, and a brand that pours its heart and soul into making your experience in a new city worthwhile. Room007 Select Sol ticked every item on my list.
Since I spend more time exploring a destination than actually staying in my hotel room, I don’t need the spa experience or the three-course meal served at a Michelin starred restaurant to love a hotel. I am picky about the tiny details, though. I expect soft towels, fluffy pillows, clean bed sheets, a hairdryer (not crucial, but recommended), a clean and functional room, and I love if it doesn’t look like any other room I’ve stayed in (I have a soft spot for rooms with character). And I found all of these here.
The only low-cost sign you’ll find here, it’s the affordable room rates which go hand in hand with my frugal lifestyle as a traveler to invest in the experiences at the destination and save money on flights and accommodation.
What Sets This Urban Hotel Apart
A lot of cities in Europe are losing character due to gentrification, to mass tourism, and to utter disrespect for historical buildings. At any room007 Hotel that is not the case. It could be a publicity stunt to market them as sustainable and socially-conscious, but we could see beyond the marketing communication the moment we walked inside (after an unequal struggle with the front door which I later resolved with some serious improvement of my door-opening skills).
When we reached number 13 of Calle de Las Fuentes, we nearly missed the hotel. Why is this a good thing? Because it’s not an eye sore, it blends neatly with the surrounding look of the neighborhood, and it instantly makes you feel like you’re part of Madrid. The hotel doesn’t lack any of the comfort features you expect from a modern type of accommodation (air conditioner and TV in all rooms, free high-speed WiFi, a key card to access your room, 24-hour front desk), and yet you don’t feel like you’re staying at a hotel.
Good to Know
At the moment that I’m writing this, there are two more room007 hotels in Madrid (Ventura and Chueca are both hostels but follow the same brand principles) and plans to expand to Barcelona and London. They are all different in decoration style but they all have the same core values: central location (you will be at the heart of the city), great service at an affordable price (budget and low-cost doesn’t have to mean poor quality), and care in restoring the building where they’re located and the neighborhood.
Here is a list of things you need to know about the room007 Select Sol:
- Check-in isn’t until 2pm but if you arrive early, like we did, the staff will store your luggage in safety so you can explore the city first and rest at your room later;
- Breakfast is served at a cafe around the corner for an extra fee of €3 per person (if you’re the kind of traveler who leaves the hotel very early to explore the city on foot, like me, breakfast included isn’t really that important since you probably won’t benefit from it anyway. However, having this option is nice on check out day, for example.);
- When booking a room, pay attention to the description of the types of rooms available (although all of them have the same common features, the room size and location may vary according to the selected price point);
- The hotel is surrounded by cafes, restaurants, bars, and supermarkets, so it takes less than five minutes (literally, turning a corner) to find a place to eat out or have a glass of tinto de verano (to all the people cringing at the idea of drinking red wine with ice cubes and orange soda, when in Madrid…);
- Room007 Select Sol is within walking distance of the following Metro stations: Opera (2 minutes), Sol (5 minutes), Callao (5 minutes);
- Nearby neighborhoods, within walking distance: La Latina (12 minutes), Barrio de las Letras – Plaza de Santa Ana (11 minutes), Chueca (20 minutes);
- Distance to points of interest: El Real (2 minutes, walking distance), Plaza de Oriente (3 minutes, walking distance), Museu Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (by Metro, from Sol to Atocha), Museu del Prado (by Metro, from Opera to Banco de España), Museu Thyssen-Bornemisza (by Metro, from Opera to Banco de España);
- There are plenty of bars and restaurants to choose from around the hotel, for all budgets, from typical tapas to chain restaurants to international or fusion cuisine
Disclosure: I was a guest of Room007 Select Sol*. Any opinions expressed are, as usual, my own.