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Room Mate Bruno: Inside Rotterdam’s Trippy New Lodge

What do you do if you’re building a hotel in a city unconstrained by history but your property is in the literal shadows of a tower by Rem Koolhaas and surrounded by works by the likes of Norman Foster and Renzo Piano?

For Teresa Sapey, the architect behind the cool and trippy Room Mate Bruno in Rotterdam, the latest addition to Room Mate Hotel’s portfolio, the answer was a chic wooden Scandinavian lodge-like structure on top of a restored warehouse. Her unique approach made this property a perfect choice as the third selection for our twice-monthly feature on new hotels, The New Room With a View.

The 217-room hotel is housed in a former 19th-century spice warehouse on the peninsula that was the launching point for the Holland America Line that brought émigrés from Eastern Europe to the U.S. It is part of the Room Mate collection, a Spanish hotel group that is rapidly expanding and known for its hip, colorful, and eclectic aesthetic.

“In Room Mate Bruno we have kept the building’s naval identity, but we also wanted to take Spain’s sun, flavor, and colors to the Northern Europe,” Sapey said about the project. And boy, has she done just that. While the exterior retains a historic-but-restored look and the roof is all wood and glass, the inside of the hotel is saturated in color: loud purples, yellows, and blues.


If you’re an architecture lover (which, as a tourist, is probably Rotterdam’s main draw), you’re in the right neighborhood, given the starchitect works surrounding you. But it’s also a quick walk across the iconic Erasmusburg Bridge to the city center. Or in the other direction, across a pedestrian bridge to the famed Fenix Food Factory. If you’re there for business, there is a metro stop just a block away.


The explosion of color extends to the hotel’s rooms. Ours was an intense purple from floor to ceiling with a sunflower yellow headboard, but the color schemes, while loud, are different across the hotel rooms. Rooms on the third floor have a patio about the size of the room looking out to the Koolhaas tower.


One of the hotel’s gimmicks to appeal to younger travelers is a definite plus: breakfast that goes until noon and chairs with giant wings that block anybody from seeing you. And the bar just up the steps from the lobby is very cool, although a bit strange to walk through/past on your way to the gym in the hotel.