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We’ve long been fans of budget chic hotels and their promise to shake up the hotel game in expensive cities, focusing on stylish rooms and the right amenities at affordable prices. How could we not? But we’re starting to get concerned that those heavily promoted double-digit room rates are becoming just that: good publicity and not much more.
citizenM let us down in New York with nothing under $199 a night, and we hope the 900 rooms its adding across three hotels in London (Tower Hill, Holborn, and Shoreditch) will bring rates down to around £100 ($167), because its current Bankside hotel runs closer to the £200 ($335) mark most of the time.
Equally, The Z Hotels is expanding from its current Soho and Victoria locations to a third London property just south of Piccadilly, opening in June with 122 rooms on Orange Street. A quick browse through the online reservations system gives us rates starting from £185 ($311) for an “Inside Room” without windows in the first months, which is a pretty hefty £100 above the “from just £85 ($143) a night” highlighted on its website. Add a window and you’re looking at £220 ($370), unless you’re willing to book a non-cancellable rate. We’re not entirely sure whether nearly $400 a night for a room that is a squeezy 129 sq ft fits with an “ethos of affordable luxury”.
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Our spies on the ground in London have told us there's yet another new hotel open for us to check out. And fortunately, this one is billing itself as "designer label but without the designer price tag."
The Z Hotel Soho is located off Charing Cross Road, south of the Soho Square Garden, with 85 rooms built around a central courtyard. While the exterior is described as having "classical architectural proportions", the rooms boast a way more contemporary look with 40" flatscreen TVs, glass partitions around the bathroom, iPod docking station which plays through the TV and our fave amenity, free WiFi. For your toiletry whores, they've got Thierry Mugler in the bath.
But don't get too comfortable. At just 8-9 square metres, the rooms are teeny tiny about the same size as the Tune Hotel. In fact, the loo is at the foot of your bed and you may have to watch for the shower head going awry and spraying your bed. But it's not like the hotel doesn't warn you about the cramped quarters. Right on the Z Soho's website it says:
Remember last week when we told you about easyHotel's efforts to significantly reduce the amount of orange in their hotel rooms? Well, we now have our first glance at that plan. (It's, er, above, in case you didn't notice.)
Here's a brief description of what you are looking at:
in-room luggage storage, improved clothes hanging facility, shelving and space for all those 'knick-knacks and new, more flexible, lighting options to improve comfort and functionality.
So what do you all think? Love it? Hate it? Don't care because you'd never be caught dead at an easyHotel anyway? Speak up in the comments below, because according to easyHotel, these changes came about from customer feedback.
EasyHotel, much loved for its reasonably priced rooms but equally loathed for its cramped, cruise cabin-like quarters, is getting closer to being the budget-minded hotel chain of all of our dreams.
Starting with its London Heathrow property, the chain is redesigning its rooms to be more spacious, stylish and functional. Working with London-based architects ZMMA, new easyHotel rooms will:
...Aim to build on the existing room model with the addition of in-room luggage storage, improved clothes hanging facility, shelving and space for all those 'knick-knacks and new, more flexible, lighting options to improve comfort and functionality. Working with ZMMA, easyHotel have also introduced a new, contemporary and complementary colour scheme, which will see the hotel group significantly reduce the amount of trademark orange used in its bedrooms.
To which we say, thank God. That orange always seemed like the lighter shade of a scarlet letter for penny-pinching travelers.
Sometimes in life, it’s the little things, and it appears that Chic&Basic hotels in Barcelona and Amsterdam truly gets this.
For starters, their toiletries are funny. (Don’t deny that that soap didn’t make you chuckle.) It could be the crappiest soap you’ve ever used—something that smells like feet and dries out your skin—but who cares?! The packaging is so darn basic it’s unavoidably cute.
Second, the Chic&Basic web site is like free porn! Well, kinda. The site features a photo of two chicks lying in bed together, one with her arm suggestively draped over the other and another with two men and one woman in bed together. How chic!
However, you’ll have to click on the Castellano version of the site to see these suggestive photos—apparently people who only read English are too uptight for these sorts of things. Or, if you’re like us, too immature.
[Photo: Fatty Tuna]
At least two Yotels, in fact, according to a recently-signed agreement. There’ll be a Yotel at the Airport and a Yotel at the Abu Dhabi City Centre, with the potential for more in the (further) future.
No word yet on when the Abu Dhabi Yotels should get up and running, but the locals are saying they’ll be “just perfect” for Abu Dhabi’s booming conference and business travel market, and for transit stays at the airport. While we don’t personally know anyone who’s ever needed to transit in Abu Dhabi, we can only guess that Yotel’s done their homework … but let’s put it on record that we think it’s a slightly strange expansion step for them.
[Photo: Ben Terrett]
Yotel is going to be opening up at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport soon but probably not soon enough according to the hip capsule hotel chain.
From the latest Yotel newsletter called YoteleGraph:
Yotel at Schiphol...Is nearly there we promise -- the latest news is that we expect to open in September, things have been slightly against us I'm afraid -- too rough across the channel, too windy for the cranes, too much like hard work for the builders -- the list is endless. But judging by the amount of enquiries we've had already the new YOTEL is very much good news for travellers through Amsterdam.
Amsterdam's Schiphol airport is going to be THE place to stay pretty soon, thanks to the recent CitizenM opening and now the upcoming Yotel. Well it will be THE place to stay amongst budget travelers who want hip design and modern technology and who don't mind spending the night in a (well-designed) shoebox.