The Artrip only opened in June 2012, but is ranked at number one on Tripadvisor. It’s in the Lavapiés area of Madrid, which isn’t hotelly at all; in fact, this is the only hotel there. It’s officially rated two star, but is really rather designery. Sounds intriguing, doesn’t it?
I stayed in room 203, which is in the junior suite category. That just means it’s bigger than the standards, but the facilities are basically the same. All white, minimalist, clean lines and Ikea-style, it is easily four-star standard. The mattresses are top quality, and in fact are the same as in the Vincci hotel chain and the five-star Eme in Seville. There are duvets and good reading lamps too. There is an open wardrobe along one wall and a partially open-plan bathroom – although there are sliding doors for privacy, and separate opaque doors to the toilet and shower, which has overhead and handheld showerheads.
203 has a bit of a loft-apartment vibe, although the building dates back to 1900. The lobby and breakfast room are used for exhibitions by local artists, and you can buy any artworks that catch your eye. There are 17 rooms over five floors, with high ceilings on the first and second floors. I really liked the very cute small double with a pitched roof on the top floor, VM Ático, which would be great for single travellers.
The only thing I wasn’t so keen on about 203 was that there wasn’t much natural light, as it gives onto an interior courtyard, so next time I’ll ask for a room which gives onto the street. You don’t have to worry about noise here as it’s really well insulated.
You won’t be surprised by now to read that wifi is free and fast. Another thing I really liked was that you can help yourself to tea and coffee from a machine in the café on the ground floor whenever you fancy – and it’s good coffee too. Breakfast includes all the basics for a bargain €4.
What really makes the Artrip stand out, however, is the friendly service. Miguel, the owner, is around a lot of the time, and the reception staff are really welcoming and helpful. Just ask them for tips on what to do and where to eat locally.
Lavapiés is one of the oldest and most traditional neighbourhoods in Madrid, and nowadays is one of the most ethnically-diverse too. There are some great Indian restaurants, Moroccan tea rooms and loads of bars and pavement cafés. Just around the corner is La Casa Encendida, a lively cultural venue where there is always a lot going on. The hotel is about 10 minutes walk from Atocha train station, where the airport bus stops, and Lavapiés metro station is a few minutes’ walk away.
I really liked the friendliness, the clean design and that there was no pretentious stuffiness or kowtowing. If you stay at a lot of hotels, it’s a real breath of fresh air. Rates are really reasonable for the standard , starting at around €75, and 203 is usually €90-€110. There are discounts for early booking, staying more than two nights and booking direct through reception.
If you like the sound of the Lavapies neighbourhood, read more here.