If I had to choose my favourite city for an indulging city break, Madrid would probably rank on top of that list. I’ve only been there once, and just for a short time, but there is something about the Spanish capital that convinced me of its awesomeness in basically no time. It’s the stunning architecture on the way into town (I love the Torres Blancas and wish I could live there). It’s the bustling streets of the city centre. It’s the delicious tapas from the market. It’s the churros con chocolate. It’s the sound of Spanish everywhere. It’s the pink and white blossoms of the cherry trees lining the streets. It’s the tiny boutiques and vintage shops of Chueca. It’s the sunset at Debod temple. It’s the view from the rooftop bars. It’s the Gin. And the Tonic. See, you simply have to visit!

Madrid is also a very affordable city. Somehow you don’t need to pay for lunch, as long as you order a few drinks (we’re speaking plates of free paella here). The public transport system is good and there is a bike-share system in operation, but most distances are actually walkable. Hanging out at a sunny park with your supplies from the supermarket is somehow just as cool as sipping on a cheap espresso on a busy cafe. The city also has great budget accommodation, and one such is a hostel that deserve mores than the word ‘cheap’ to describe it: Room007.

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The Location

Room0007 actually runs two hostels in the centre of Madrid – one in Chueca and one in Las Letras (the hostel however is called Ventura). Both areas have a cool vibe, lots of young people, cafes and bars everywhere, a laid-back atmosphere, and most importantly a local authenticity. Although there are many tourists in Madrid, the city has kept its natural charm and doesn’t feel flooded by souvenir shops, street vendors and pick pockets, like other major cities in Spain and Europe.

The two hostels are located in restored buildings, one of them (Chueca) dating back to 1859. Both are in easy walking distance to Madrid’s main attractions, Plaza del Sol, the Royal Palace, Plaza Mayor, the grand museums and Retiro Park. And even though they are so close to the city’s touristic heart, they also have a local flavour.

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Chueca is as tolerant and progressive as Madrid can get. The area was recently refurbished, mainly influenced by the local LGBT community. Here, sex book shops are direct neighbours to Spanish designer boutiques and sinfully sweet bakeries, and no one bats an eye. Las Letras – ‘the district of letters’ – has a bohemian past, as the city’s writers used to live here, and present, with bars and cafes lining the largely pedestrianised streets and squares, like Plaza de Santa Ana.

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The Facts

Room007 Ventura was the first of the two to open, back in 2013. Chueca followed in 2014. They offer the same kind of infrastructure, just with Chueca having 11 rooms more than Ventura. The aim was to open a cool hostel with all the comforts of a hotel, but at the reasonable rates of budget accommodation. The design comes from Requena & Plaza, a renowned Spanish design group that specialises in the interior of hotels. It is clean and minimalistic, with splashes of colour in the furniture, lamps and decoration.

Possibly the biggest asset of both hostels is the roof top terrace – yes, you heard correctly, a roof top terrace. The communal kitchen and area to hang-out is located on the top floor, the ‘attic lounge’. From there you can access the terrace and enjoy a breakfast in the sun or a sundowner after a day of sightseeing shopping.

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The Rooms

The rooms range from private doubles to bigger dorms (maximum of 11 beds at Chueca, max. 8 beds at Ventura). The coolest dorms are probably the duplex rooms at Chueca. They offer a lot of additional space and have ceiling windows. Every guest has a designated lockable cupboard (no need to bring your own lock), individual lights and power points by the bed.

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Of course there is free WiFi throughout the hostel and the front desk is open 24/7. All rooms are cleaned everyday and come with an en-suite bathroom with power shower. Towels and linen are provided free of charge and can be changed upon request. No matter if you book a private double or a bed in the dorm. Which regular hostel does that?

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The Food

Both Room007 have an in-house restaurant called Saporem which serves food all day, but doubles up as a cocktail bar at night. The crowd is a mix of tourists, hostel guests and locals. Often there are events on, like a street food market or live music.

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The menu ranges from burgers and pizza to traditional Spanish dishes. The tables are arranged in the light-flooded patio of the building, which is very typical for restored buildings in Madrid. They keep the patio structure but put a glass-roof up on top to let the daylight in – beautiful!

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The Social Aspect

The already mentioned attic lounge, terrace and restaurant are a great place to meet new people. There’s a foosball table in the common area and lounge chairs for a comfy break. Even better are the activities the hostel organises for its guests, including a daily walking tour and pub crawl, flamenco workshops, roller skating, cycling and tapas tasting. Some of them are even for free! The hostel’s staff is all local, although every now and then there is a trainee from France or Germany at place. Either way, they all speak English (and other languages) very well and know the city like the back of their hand.

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If you head to Madrid this year – which you totally should – Room007 is the kind of hostel you want to go for, whether your travel alone, with friends or your family. It’s central, cool and affordable. The prize for a dorm bed starts at €18, and a double is available from €50. Have fun exploring!

 

*This post is a collaboration with Room 007.

Photos by Kathi Kamleitner & Room 007.