Travel Feature Story

Roommate Alicia: Gee, it is Like Staying with a Friend

Madrid boutique hotel offers a healthy helping of comfort and chic

By EDDIE RIVERA, Community Editor
Published: Monday, October 9, 2017 | 12:37 PM

We spent about a week in and around Madrid this summer, traipsing from hotel to Airbnb to Airbnb and back again, but it wasn’t until we arrived at the RoomMate Alicia hotel, that we truly felt at home.

Nestled into a chic corner of the Santa Ana Plaza about a half-mile walk from the teeming high energy of the Gran Via, the 10 year-old, 34-room Roommate Alicia actually is, as its marketing likes to say, “like staying with a friend.”

It’s one of the company’s 26 properties around the world, and one of three properties in Madrid, the others being Mario, on Calle Campomanes, and Oscar, located on the far side of the Gran Via, tucked into the Plaza de Pedro Zerolo. We had actually noticed this one during our series of Airbnb stays, and frankly, looked at it with some longing.

Longing aside, the reception at Roommate Alicia was as welcoming as one might expect, with a minimum of hassle, and one especially welcome surprise. As we were handed our key cards, front desk manager Eva De Luca handed me a small zippered box, and a form.

“Sign here, please,” she smiled. “This is your wi-fi hotspot for your stay.”

Okay, that was a big one. Last year, the K West Hotel in London gave us a cell phone to use during our two-day visit, which I thought at the time, was a small miracle. But having our own wifi (“Wee-fee,” as they say in Spain), hot spot meant moving all around the city with a strong signal everywhere. Our American cell phone lived and died by wi-fi, so carrying around a signal in our pocket was one more way our visit made us feel at home.

The room itself was spacious and chic, larger than many European boutique hotels, with all of the necessary amenities, from free wi-fi, to the luxurious, spacious bed, to the flat-screen TV (which we never seem to watch), as well as the nifty bathroom necessities packaged in chic, disposable squeeze boxes. (We still have two at home, in the shower. Too chic to just toss away.)

Breakfast, which like in most European hotels, is provided with your room, is served in its Miss Sushi restaurant, an identity it assumes each evening. Mornings, there’s coffee, ham, croissants and Cocoa Puffs (which the Spaniards seem to love), instead of inari and gyoza.

The property sits overlooking the Plaza de Santa Ana, which, if this matters to you, goes to sleep very late. But you’re in Spain. You should know that.

And speaking of such things, the summer weather is very Southern California; in fact, both Pasadena and Madrid temperatures were up near 100 degrees American the day we arrived here. If you’re thinking about traveling this fall, temperatures will naturally drop accordingly. If you’re thinking about winter, think Pasadena on New Year’s Day, but a lot colder.

Meanwhile, our room was cool and we were never uncomfortable, but on our second day of sightseeing, we longed for a swimming pool, which the Alicia did not have. But its brother Oscar, did.

“We’ll give them a call, and let them know you’re coming,” said Eva, when we inquired.

The pool atop Oscar was happily, far less crowded on this hot, mid-week afternoon than we expected, but it was only going to get more crowded as the evening drew closer. We swam, we snoozed under an umbrella, and then we swam some more. Swim. Snooze. Repeat.

Given the hotel’s central location, we were always smack in the middle of everything, with the aforementioned Gran Via nearby, and the Plaza Mayor, the Puerto del Sol, and the Palace Real, all within walking distance. Madrid’s magnificently efficient Metro will get you everywhere else.

And it’s all in Spain. Ask anyone who visits the country and they will tell you tales of its beauty and romance, and its intangible spirit of welcome and inspiration. There’s history, there is art, there is literature, there is a street life that runs till dawn, and there is Alicia.

Tell her we said, “Hola.”

 

The 411:
Roommate Alicia Hotel Madrid
Address: Calle del Prado, 2, 28014 Madrid, Spain
Phone: +34 913 89 60 95
www.room-matehotels.com

 

 

 

 

 

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