The Mariposa Hotel Malaga, formerly Room Mate Lola, under new management by two French women entrepreneurs
Two young Parisian sisters, Audrey and Amelie Pignol, both trained and qualified at the Glion Institute of Higher Education in Montreux (Switzerland), one of the most prestigious hospitality management schools in the world.
The Pignol Family purchased the 50-room hotel (formerly the Room Mate Lola) in 2015, with a pre-existing Room Mate concession which expired at the end of 2016. On 18 January 2017 young hospitality entrepreneurs Amelie and Audrey, aged 26 and 27 respectively, reopened the doors as the brand new Mariposa hotel.
The hotel is situated in Soho, the new hip arts zone of Malaga, near the port. This was previously a red-light area, but is now the hub of contemporary culture and street art, with on-point restaurants, tapas bars and galleries, and as well as graffiti by some of the biggest names, and home to the buzzing gay scene. Soho is also where the Centro de Arte Contemporaneo is located, Andalucia’s top contemporary art centre showing work by international artists.
HE How did you choose the name for the hotel?
A&A We came up with so many names, but nothing seemed to work, until our mother suggested “butterfly” which we really liked; it works so well in other languages and is easy to say in Spanish.
HE I know that you graduated from what is considered to be one of the best Swiss hospitality schools, Glion, but do you have hands-on day-to-day experience in the hotel industry?
A&A Yes – when we were 18, after we left school, we spent a year working at a French restaurant, Le Colombier in Chelsea, London, perfecting our English. This was the start, and later we worked at the Hotel Arts in Barcelona, and The Intercontinental in Shanghai in both the Food & Beverages and Rooms divisions – we just love the hospitality industry.
HE Do you have any plans for refurbishment?
A&A Oh yes – we would love to have an outside terrace for tea. The downstairs communal area, the lounge room at the rear of the hotel, is rarely used, so we would like to turn that into a gym and a sauna; we will keep the meeting room. We will refurbish downstairs so that we can create our own unique style, but the rooms will stay the same for now. We also have plans for a roof terrace – we don´t have sea views, but we do have views of the Malaga city rooftops. It’s a dream for us to create a space where you would want not just to have one drink, and then leave; we would like it to be so comfortable that you can enjoy the space for a whole afternoon or evening. That’s our aim.
HE Are your family hoteliers?
A&A Our mother had a hotel that she sold many years ago. Our father is a chef, and our family has owned and run Le Relais d’Auteuil Pignol restaurant in Paris for the last 32 years.
HE What are your impressions of Malaga?
A&A We just love the weather and we are so close to the beach. Malaga is indeed a city, but it is so small in comparison to Shanghai and London. We are also amazed by how friendly the people are; they would not be as friendly to newcomers in Paris.
HE What do you think about the food here in Malaga?
A&A There are very few places with really good food and French wine here, or maybe we are yet to discover them.
HE You are in the heart of the Soho district. Would you like to have graffiti on the outside of the hotel?
A&A The frontage is very plain, so yes it’s definitely something that we would consider.
HE What type of interior design are you looking into?
Oh we can´t say that, as we need to have the approval of our family, which is very important to us. But we have some really good conceptual ideas and it’s going to be a very exiting project.
HE What will make the Mariposa hotel different to other hotels in town?
A&A We could love to create “the place to be” in Malaga with mix of French refinement and the local laid-back culture.
A little Parisian Corner of Soho Malaga