A big picture, that shows bare feet walking on the water, greets you to Room Mate Laura. We can inmediately see that the designer, Tomás Alía, wants to introduce us to a great story, just after hearing the bells of the Convent of Las Descalzas Reales, placed on the left side of the square with the same name.
The million dollar question is who is the misterious woman that looks at us with a harsh stare. She is Juana of Austria, who was the Queen of Spain from 1554 to 1559, and, after visiting the convent, which was established by means of donations(the endowment included the building, sums of money and art and everyday objets)made by her, in every corner of both properties, you can feel that woman´s spirit, who from the beyond witnessed the realization of her vision. The building was previously a palace and then, it was converted into a convent dedicated to Our Lady of Solace, it has housed a community of Poor Clares, popularly known as Descalzas Reales or Royal Unshod Nuns, since 1559. This name stems from the simple sandals the Clares wore all year round and the fact that the convent was a royal foundation.
The choice was made by Juana due to sentimental reasons, she was born there in 1535 and the works to adapt it to its new role as a convent began in 1556 and were still incomplete when the first community of nuns arrived at the Convent in 1559.
Juana died prematurely in September 1573 and was not able to see the complex completed.
The Convent´s doors remained closed to the public for centuries. In 1960, after papal authorisation was granted to suspend the rules of enclosure at certain times of day, main areas were opened to the general public. A lot of our guests ask for information about the current life in the Convent: at the present time, 20 cloistered nuns are living in the Convent and they are, from 20 years old, the youngest, to 86 years old, the oldest. The guided visit to the Convent really worth it.
The building housing Laura´s home is really amazing from the main entrance, the vibrant, bright red colour and the huge wall mirror will be first the picture you will take during check in. The traditional structure of the building in Madrid called “corrala” with a very high ceiling is only one of the things that makes Laura so different…