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Bloc Hotels may not have made its initial planned arrival at London’s Gatwick Airport last fall, but it looks like it has beat our expectation of May 1 by a month – Bloc Hotel at LGW opened on March 31 next to the departure gates at the airport’s South Terminal.
Inside the black-and-gold hued building (see below for a rendering), you’ll find 245 rooms that focus on comfort, technology, and amenities rather than space. Beds are covered in Egyptian cotton, there are monsoon showers in the bathroom, and HD TVs on the wall. Everything is controlled by a tablet, and WiFi – we’d almost like to say, of course – is free.
As floor themes, that is – while we wish our evening at Generator London would have included hanging out with Sacha Baron Cohen, Julie Andrews, and Daniel Craig (imagine that), they were only there in spirit, bringing a splash of different color and design to the just-reopened hostel-with-style in Bloomsbury.
Available by the bed, Generator is taking affordability to the extreme, with starting rates at £12 ($20) a night – but the real gems to us are the private twins starting at £24.50 ($40). Share it with a friend and you’re looking at nightly cost of $20 per person, for a clean bed in a private room with a modern bathroom. You can’t go wrong with that in London, and could easily do much worse for more money.
Straight after the €1 flash sale at Generator Barcelona this week that we hope some of you were able to take advantage of, the stylish hostel brand is ready to welcome you back to Generator London, following its multi-million pound overhaul.
We headed over to the city’s Bloomsbury area to have a look – and there was a lot to see, and lots of people had shown up to browse the public areas, listen to the live music, and sample the specially created gin, elderflower, and Earl Grey tea cocktails.
The Generator hybrid hostel-hotel brand always offers cool accommodations for an even cooler price but on March 18th you'll be able to nab a bed at the Generator Barcelona for just ONE EURO. No need to read that again. It really says ONE EURO.
The hotel is offering a 24-hour flash sale from March 18th at 1pm (local Barcelona time) to 1pm on March 19th. Here are the details:
· Guests can book as many beds for as many nights as they like.
· The sale is only for the dorm beds, not the private hotel rooms.
· It's first come, first served so you have to book fast.
· The deal is good for stays from March 18, 2014-March 17, 2015, a whole year!
· You will also be automatically entered in a prize draw to win a free upgrade to the Penthouse Suite. This room has its own lounge, kitchenette, and a huge terrace. Normally, it's €250 a night, but if you win, it will only cost you ONE EURO.
· Some more terms and conditions are listed after the jump.
· Sign up here to get early bird access.
Set in the Gràcia district, just a short walk from the epic Sagrada Familia by Gaudi, the Generator Barcelona features some incredibly cool spaces, including the lobby/social area which features more than 300 lanterns inspired by the city's annual Festa Major de Gràcia.
Room accommodations range from twin, triple, quad and dorm hostel rooms to private hotel rooms and the aforementioned penthouse suite. Hostel rooms typically start at 13 euros a night while hotel rooms go for 51 euros a night.
Budget-brand Tune Hotels has been aiming to spread like wildfire from its origins in Kuala Lumpur, bringing core values of 5-star beds, power showers, and cleanliness for wallet-friendly prices to 100 hotels around the world by next year. We’ve checked it out in London, and have our eye on their plans in the United States, but what is Tune like outside a major capital? Does it still deliver for a non-city stay?
We tested just that by staying the night at Tune in Patong, Phuket – one of the more recent additions to the brand. On the western coast of the island, Patong is one of the major tourist centers of Phuket (more on that later) and the Tune is about ten minutes’ walk from the main beach. A taxi from Phuket airport takes about 45 minutes.
While we wait to find out if/when Malaysian budget-happy, pay-as-you-go, chain Tune Hotels will make their entry into the U.S. market, we hear that they are going gangbusters in Japan, having just announced plans to open 20 new hotels over the next six years -- just in time for the 2020 Olympics.
The brand currently has 38 hotels in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, United Kingdom, India and Australia, and there is currently already one Tune Hotel in Japan: in Naha, Okinawa. Tim Hansing, CEO of Red Planet Hotels, owners and operators of 18 Tune Hotels across Japan, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia says: “Now that we have established ourselves and the Tune Hotels brand in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, our strategy has always been to expand in north Asia and we will be commencing this move in Japan first of all.”
While we weren't lucky enough to score a £1 room when the Qbic London ran its recent promotion, we still felt pretty chuffed to find a London hotel for a decent price. We paid £71.10 ($117) for a the lowest-priced "No View - Scratch yer Head" (internal) room (including the 10 percent discount we received as a consolation prize for failing in our bid for the £1 room) and here's what we got.
Way back in 2009, during the darkest days of the economic collapse, the news that Malaysia's budget chain, Tune Hotels was making a move to our shores had us looking up from the bottom of the bottle in delight. But now, here we are, four years later and nothing. Well, not in America anyways. Tune has made great strides in the UK and plans to take on Australia next.
However, we did stumble across this registered U.S. trademark. Could Tune finally be making a move into the U.S.? We inquired of a Tune rep and got this statement:
We are always looking at opportunities and the US is a market that is of interest.
Hmm...not quite the answer we were looking for but we'll keep our eye out for some new Tunes.
Know of anyone humming a certain Tune? Let us know where!
Remember when we told you that a new London hotel would open with rooms under $100 (£59) a night? Between December 15 and March 15, even better value is to be had, with five rooms every day at Qbic London City available at the magic £1 rate.
All proceeds will go to a good cause, only a small part of a charitable ethos that runs throughout the hotel. We sat down with Qbic’s CEO and founder to find out more about the brand and have a chance to see what exactly a ‘Cubi’, which integrates both bed and bathroom, is. Think of it as high-quality flat-pack furniture, which has allowed Qbic to turn this former office building into an operating hotel in six months.
Hotel Hype / Freehand Hostels / Freehand Hotels / Hotel News / Budget Hotels / Chicago Hotels / Sydell Group / Hotel Openings / → All Tags
The Freehand Miami
The Freehand Chicago will open in the old Tokyo Hotel at 19 East Ohio Street and according to Chicago Real Estate Daily will have 250 beds. Key word: Beds, not rooms. The beds will be split between private rooms and dormitory-style suites with four to eight beds in a room. There will also be an onsite bar, called Broken Shaker, and a café that hopes to bring in both international travelers staying at the Freehand and locals. (The existing sushi restaurant, Ginza, will close later this month after 26 years in business.)
The interiors will be done NY-based Roman & Williams Buildings & Interiors who did the original Freehand in Miami and who is also redesigning the Chicago Athletic Association which will turn into a hotel next year. You can read HotelChatter's article on the design duo here. Better yet, you can tour every inch of the Freehand Miami here.
As much as we love exploring the latest luxury hotel, news of another affordable option coming to town - particularly when well-executed (see also: citizenM) - makes us all sorts of happy. London will soon have more choice for those wanting a stylish place to stay on a limited budget, with Qbic London City opening mid-October.
The best part? Rates will start below – BELOW - $100 a night (or £59), and include breakfast and WiFi. Qbic will be in east London on Adler Street, a few minutes' walk from Liverpool Street station and close to Brick Lane and Shoreditch High Street. Inside, guests should find: “immaculate cleanliness, a comfortable bed, a great shower, soundless bedrooms and free WiFi.” Read on for more.
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A few months ago we dished on a few Oahu properties for those traveling to Hawaii on a budget, featuring hotels we thought were a value with rates under $200. It looks like we have another promising one to add to the list, as the new 125-room boutique Vive Hotel Waikiki recently opened its doors last month with rates starting at $189.
And from the looks of the photos and the list of amenities, it seems like it's going to fit right in with its location two blocks from Waikiki Beach. The rooms either have a view of the ocean, the mountains or Diamond Head, and the hotel provides complimentary daily continental breakfast as well as complimentary WiFi.