Budget is the new luxury. Gone are the days when ‘value’ hotels were synonymous with identikit furniture and soulless hotel bars.
In the past few years, a new breed of stylish value and mid-range options has popped up, both from the big hotel operators and independent hoteliers.
These hotels are characterised by trendy wine bars, up-to-the-minute technology and sleek design. With clients increasingly tightening their purse strings, it’s vital for agents to have these budget beauties up their sleeves.
Citizen M, Amsterdam
For a hotel chain which opened its first property in June last year, Citizen M has certainly made its mark on the industry, winning a host of design and hospitality awards.
These funky budget hotels are constructed from prefab room units built in a factory off site, allowing the chain to deliver its promise of affordable luxury.
The first property opened at Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport last year and a second was due to launch in Amsterdam city centre on April 1. Plans are under way to take the concept to Glasgow this year.
Book it: €89 for a double room in low season.
Room Mate Hotels, Spain
Founder Enrique ‘Kike’ Sarasola started Room Mate Hotels when he realised how little time people spend in their hotel room. He decided to focus on location and provide the best beds, showers and free breakfast.
Since its inception in 2003, the Room Mate brand has expanded to 12 properties in Spain. With names such as Leo, Vega, Grace and Oscar, every Room Mate property has a distinct personality.
New properties in Madrid, Valencia, Barcelona, Buenos Aires, Mexico City and Bogota will bring the company’s portfolio to 20. The brand has also expanded into the US, with Grace in New York and there are plans to open properties in New York and Miami Beach.
Book it: A standard double at Oscar in Madrid is €115.
Hampton by Hilton
Described as a “new kind of economy hotel”, the first Hampton by Hilton hotel was opened in the US back in 1984 and the brand has just entered the UK market.
The first in Europe opened in Corby, Northamptonshire, in March. The hotel giant plans to open a further 20 in the UK in the next few years. Hilton focuses on delivering good quality basics with extras like a free hot breakfast and internet access.
Book it: Double room starts at £67.15.
Hotel-cum-hostel Superbude is the latest offering from German chain 25hours. Rooms come with up to four beds and are spread across six different coloured floors. Guests can choose the brown, grey, red, pink, green or blue level.
Amenities include a Wii sports room, an in-house private cinema, Skype cordless phone rentals and a Kitchen Club, comprising three fridges full of food for sale.
If this is taking credit crunch chic a little too far, try Superbude’s 25hours Hamburg, which offers more of a grown-up hotel feel for a similarly seductive price tag.
Book it: Double room from €59.
Mini-chain Ace Hotels is to bring its budget-friendly, industrial style to New York. Rooms are designed to look like your best friend’s apartment, with vintage furniture and full-size Smeg fridges.
Work will begin at Hilton Hotels’ first ‘hip and humble’ Home2 Suites property in the next 12 months.
InterContinental Hotels Group has announced plans to build the world’s largest Holiday Inn in Russia. The 1,000-bedroom property in Moscow is set to open in 2014.
Yotel is taking its capsule hotel concept to Abu Dhabi, with plans for an airport hotel and another in the city centre.
US budget chains
Trendy budget brands have well and truly landed in the US and are rapidly gaining popularity.
NYLO – Aimed at trendy business travellers, NYLO has stylish loft-style rooms with bold design and up-to-date technology. The chain has properties in Texas and Rhode Island, with another Texas hotel due to open this summer.
Aloft – Starwood introduced ‘limited service’ brand Aloft last year in Montreal. Lobbies are designed for socialising with grab-as-you-go breakfasts, pool tables and disco lights. Rooms are the other extreme: sparsely furnished with subdued decor.
Element – Westin spin-off Element is aimed at extended-stay travellers. The large rooms are eco-friendly and designed for long stays, with kitchens, sofa beds and home offices.
Hyatt Place – Hyatt’s mid-scale brand Hyatt Place has been expanding rapidly since its launch in 2005.
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