New world

Room Mate Bruno brings to mind the explorations of sea voyagers on their trips overseas and, like an adventurous captain, leads guests to the discovery of unknown universes. It is the latest addition to the Room Mate Hotels chain, just inaugurated in Rotterdam. A project by the architect Teresa Sapey

Room Mate Bruno, Rotterdam

Owner: Room Mate Hotels
Developer: Een VolkerWessels
Main Contractor: Aannemersbedrijf Van Agtmaal Oudenbosch
Interior design: studio Teresa Sapey
Furnishings: Dvelas, Ecus, Expormim, Gebrueder Thonet Vienna, Kartell, Marte 360∫ Design, Missana, Pedrali, SillerÌa VergÈs, Simes, Stellar Works, Talasur,, Vondom
Kitchens: Pilsa
Lighting: Flos, Normann Copenhagen
Bathrooms: Agape
Curtains: Textil Contract
Photo credits: Mads Morgensen

To use a term popular in casinos, Room Mate Hotels has ‘beat the house’. Ever since Kike Sarasola founded it in 2005, the Spanish hotel chain has forged ahead with an unstoppable expansion. 23 hotels in 6 countries in 13 years, with a growth of 180.5% in the last year. Another 11 hotels are in progress for new destinations including Rome, Paris, Naples, the Canary Islands, Mallorca, Lisbon.

‘Rien ne va plus’ for the competitors, but Sarasola is still placing their bets, since in the meantime it has carried off as many awards as it could hold: Medal of Merit of Tourism by the Spanish Council of Ministers, Best Innovation in Digital Marketing Award at the Worldwide Hospitality Awards, nominated in the Travvy Awards as the Best Overall Hotel and, the most rewarding of all, a record of online reputation in the hospitality industry, according to ReviewPro, with a 90% share.

It is with these numbers that Room Mate Hotels inaugurate, in Rotterdam, Bruno, first ‘point’ in the city, the second in the Netherlands for the chain. The location of Bruno is its true strength, indeed the soul that gives it life. It is one of the few historic buildings remaining in the Kop Van Zuid district (recognised as the Dutch Manhattan), a 19th-century spice warehouse in the city’s port area, brought back to life in an exclusive area housing the most important cultural activities and becoming an architectural benchmark in Northern Europe. Identity and memory have been maintained with conviction by the Italian architect Teresa Sapey, who directed the project and was able to combine tradition and avant-garde trends within a building that preserves its original structure.

In the 217 rooms and in the common areas, there are many recurring evocations to the sea, to travels and to the stars, reminiscent of the ships that departed from the port of Rotterdam full of exotic spices from Indonesia, the Moluccan islands or Sumatra. Colour, nautical elements and Flemish paintings play a very important role in the furnishing of the hotel. “We wanted to preserve the naval identity of the building – says Teresa Sapey – but also bring some of the warmth, atmosphere and colours of Spain in Northern Europe”.

Each guest is thus catapulted into a voyage, a different adventure on every floor of the hotel, with graphic references on walls and ceilings that recall the cartography used by sailors, the linearity of shapes and geometric figures and exuberant chromaticism. With a hint of suggestion given by the internal ‘frozen garden’ wrapped in the colours of blue, and an island made of iron that embraces a tree with orange-coloured leaves. Surprising, like the unusual services offered, such as breakfast until noon and the WiMate, free Wi-Fi not only in the hotel but throughout the city, which has earned it yet another award.