Spain's Room Mate Hotels makes inroads in the Americas

Room Mate Giulia

Room Mate Hotels—a design-focused boutique brand geared toward millennials—has been growing in major cities throughout Europe and the Americas for the last several years, reaching 22 properties on either side of the Atlantic. The company is stepping up its growth plans, and is looking to break into new markets in the coming months. 

Having opened two properties in Europe last month alone, the Madrid-based company has eight additional openings planned for 2016—expect Rotterdam, Florence, Rome, Paris, Barcelona and Madrid to get new hotels soon. To support its growth on the other side of the Atlantic, the company opened its new American headquarters in Miami opened earlier this year. It already has properties in that city and in New York, but is looking to expand into gateway cities like Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston. Room Mate also recently appointed Felip Boyero as its first-ever managing director of the Americas. Boyero will be focused on expanding the brand throughout the region and further developing the brand’s infrastructure in its existing American hotels.

But beyond the States, the company is also focused on Latin America, and continuing its expansion in Europe.  The company just opened its first hotel in Milan, which will serve as Room Mate Hotels’ Italian flagship property. (Its other two hotels in the country are located in Florence.) The property was designed by Patricia Urquiola. Malaga, meanwhile, got its third Room Mate hotel last month. The 61-room  Room Mate Valeria was designed by Victoria and Sylvia Melian of Melian Interiors. 

Room Mate Valeria Malaga Junior Suite Bedroom
Room Mate Valeria Malaga Junior Suite Bedroom

Three new hotels are in the pipeline for Barcelona alone (the city already has two), while two are in the works for Istanbul (one is already there) and the brand is about to debut in Rotterdam. In total,  Roberto Sánchez Simón, Room Mate Hotels’ director of corporate strategy, said, the brand expects to open 2,500 new rooms this year. In three years, he predicted, the brand could be twice its present size. 

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“The U.S. is a key market,” Sanchez said. Deals for two more hotels in New York City are in the works, and the company is eyeing opportunities in Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, New Orleans and San Francisco. In Latin America, the Bogota’s booming hospitality scene has caught the team’s attention, and Paris and London are pending for Europe. "Paris should be open next year, and London will open after that."

A challenge for the brand’s growth, Sanchez explained, is choosing the right venue to fit the brand. Eschewing new-builds in favor of adaptive re-use, the company has taken over existing structures and sought to preserve unique elements that make the properties distinct. The Milan hotel, he said, is a former office complex, and the upcoming Madrid hotel—the brand's fifth in the city—will be in a former palace. 

Room Mate Grace New York
Room Mate Grace New York

Location is also a key factor. “It must be downtown,” Sanchez said of the ideal spot for a Room Mate hotel. The upcoming Rotterdam property, he said, is close to lots of corporate offices, so it sees lots of business guests. The Room Mate Grace in New York, meanwhile, is just off of Times Square and is within walking distance to major offices. As such, Sanchez said, it sees a solid mix of both business and leisure guests, and recently emerged from a major renovation to boost its appeal for both markets. The hotel, formerly Andre Balazs' Hotel QT, is popular for the swimming pool in the lobby—and for being the only hotel in Manhattan with a swim-up bar. 

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