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Good news for the cost-conscious business traveller to London: a few weeks from now, there will be a fifth Tune Hotel to choose from, this time among Canary Wharf’s corporate high-rises. Four and a half years after we first tested its Westminster location, this 130-room hotel will bring some new interior design to go with the same low, low, low rates the group is known for.
Above a double room with window, of which there are 85. Another 22 doubles do without the exterior aspect, while for the 20 twin rooms the only choice is the windowed kind. Three accessible rooms (also with window) take it to the total of 130 rooms, walking distance from Canary Wharf tube station (the Jubilee line will take you to the heart of the West End in less than half an hour) and West India Quay for the DLR overground.
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A “globe-trotting, design-loving clientele”. A fashion theme. Lots of communal spaces. Uh oh - this can only mean one thing. A hotel tailored to millennials.
Where is the latest city to suffer the indignity? Why, it’s poor, beautiful Florence. The Hotel Garibaldi Blu, which opened last week on Piazza Santa Maria Novella is themed around jeans – yes, jeans – which, actually, originated in Genoa. What that means, basically, is that the palette is blue.
There are more airport locations in the pipeline (Milan’s hotel is at Malpensa airport), and rumors about Moxy in New Orleans have already made their way to us, but we also know that London will get not one, not two, but three Moxy’s (Moxii?) over the next few years.
The first London – and UK – hotel will be at Heathrow Airport, on Bath Road. As much as that street name may seem of little significance, it puts Moxy not just next to the airfield, but also close to cousin Renaissance and competition like the Sheraton Skyline, on a strip of hotels that you may have seen out the window while waiting in the endless queue for take-off at LHR. Moxy Heathrow Airport will have 422 rooms.
Over the summer, we first looked at Motel One London Tower Hill, a budget-chic concept from Germany making its way into the British capital with a 258-room hotel on Minories. True to its word, it achieved its planned opening of late 2014, with reservations up and running from this week.
Room rates start just under £100 (about $150) a night, with rates for tonight, December 1, at £113 ($177), going up to £132 ($206) a night if you want breakfast. That’s £9.50 ($15) for breakfast per person, rather than the £7.50 ($12) we were promised back in July. WiFi is free no matter what.
We can see three room types, all of which share the above image, so we assume that is indeed the final design: Queen & Double rooms that cost the same, and “City View” rooms that go for £20 ($31) a night more – perhaps these are in the taller part of the structure that reaches 18 stories high.
One of the more aloof members of Atlanta staff
Yesterday we introduced you to the Atlanta Hotel in Bangkok and its militant anti-sex tourist policy. The Atlanta is a budget hotel – rooms start from 800THB ($24) and go up to 1950THB ($59). But despite its low prices, it’s run with a rod of iron – it opened in the 1950s and checking in today is like stepping back in time a few decades. And its attention to detail is certainly better than plenty of five star places we’ve stayed in. Why? These 10 reasons why, for starters:
Another day, another hotel welcome drink. A pineapple milkshake, since you ask – so far, so blah.
But wait, what’s that on the coaster? Ah yes:
ZERO TOLERANCE & SLEAZE FREE ZONE
NO SEX TOURISTS, JUNKIES, LOUTS & OTHER DEGENERATES
Of course, this isn’t the first time the Atlanta has warned you of its guest policy. “SEX TOURISTS NOT WELCOME,” shouts the homepage. “Visitors who object to any of The Atlanta's policies or who intend to spend their time in Thailand whoring, behaving badly, indulging in alcohol abuse and illicit drugs should stay elsewhere,” says the long caveat page. The message is repeated on the email confirming your reservation. And if you hadn’t got it by then, this is what greets you beside the front door:
Call us snobs, but London goes better with Paris and Rome than with Hamburg and Copenhagen. We’re not the only ones who think so, either – Generator Hostels are opening properties in the City of Light/Eternal City next year.
Generator Paris (above) will be the largest Generator to date, with 950 beds in the 10th arrondissement (AKA the Canal St Martin nabe). It’ll be designed by Toronto-based Anwar Mekhayech, who’s also worked for Soho House and Momofuku, and will include a café-lounge and an intimate bar”. Prices will start from €25 for a dorm and €98 for a private ensuite room (for two people). Pretty decent, for Paris.
A Mastic Sour with the Monastery of St John on the hill, top right
We blame the Grande Bretagne in Athens. After we tasted the Tears of Chios cocktail at its rooftop Selfie Spot bar, we got a little obsessed with mastiha, a liquor flavored with mastic (a gum-resin thing that’s produced on the island of Chios). Mastiha cocktails, neat mastiha after dinner – it’s all we wanted to drink in Greece.
So when we were on the island of Patmos, we went in search of mastiha-infused cocktails. Patmos is a notoriously un-party island (it’s home to a huge monastery, various convents and the Cave of the Apocalypse) so this was always going to be a tall order.
We started at Patmos Aktis, one of the poshest hotels on the island, which had looked lush from afar. But then we left immediately because the server in the (deserted) restaurant threw a tantrum about us only wanting drinks.
We ended up in port town Skala at Chris Hotel, not nearly as rarefied a place as Patmos Aktis (right by the port, for starters – and then there’s the name), but not nearly as snooty. The terrace bar, which had been buzzing every time we drove by, was full – and not just with tourists, but mainly with locals. This, apparently, is where the young of Patmos go to party.
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Shoreditch may seem to be the destination of choice for hoteliers at the moment, but there are other parts of London that are ripe for an accommodation invasion – like Greenwich, for example, where Accor has just announced a forthcoming Ibis Styles property.
Ibis Styles, of course, are trendy Ibises – millennial-focused, one might even say, with the budget roomrates you’d expect from an ibis proper, but with a focus on swish, boutique-style interiors. And Greenwich – or, the Greenwich Peninsula, to be precise, is in the midst of a vast regeneration project, with £5b ($8b) investment being pummeled into the area, overseen by the Mayor of London. It’s where the O2 (Millennium Dome) events arena is based, and is well connected to central London, despite being out in the sticks. It’s also an easy 10-minute journey from London City Airport.
Now is a great time to be in Greece. We are writing this from the island of Patmos, where the temperature is dropping to toasty but bearable, the hordes have gone, and the hotels are still open – at least for a few more weeks.
But if going end of season feels a bit grubby, fear not – because if you go to the tiny island of Milos, there’s a new hotel waiting for you. Eiriana Luxury Suites is one of that new breed of Greek hotels – tiny (just four rooms) but perfectly formed.
It’s located in Trypiti, near the old-style windmills, and is on a hilltop so all the rooms have panoramic views (including some of the sea). The décor is very Greek with a hint of madness – traditional all white rooms, but with pops of lurid color in the drapes, cushions and bathrooms. We’re not convinced by the color tbh – nothing feels as Grecian as a pure white room – but at least they’re trying something different, and we’re not about to criticize the aesthetic of the island that brought the world the Venus de Milo. (Milos is also known as the Island of Colors, so we should probably give them a break.)
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Switzerland: a country that takes pride in being completely unaffordable for anyone from outside of it. Edit – a country that did take pride in being completely unaffordable. For this summer, we have seen the emergence of a New Switzerland – one that pities us, one that wants us to come stay without having to remortgage our house, one that suddenly wants to thrust budget accommodation at us. Not you’re your standard crappy budget digs, of course; no, the New Switzerland is a place of hip ‘hostels’ that other countries would class as nice hotels.
Of course, you already know it’s a trendy kind of place – it was clearly named to be a hipster magnet, after all – but listen to what it actually has. It has a pool (and separate children’s pool). It has a spa with saunas, a herbal steam bath, hydromassage showers, and a ‘gorge balcony’ (presumably it looks over a gorgeous, rather than being especially gorgeous). It offers a hotel-level massage list. And all this stuff comes with humungous windows overlooking the mountain landscape.
2014 is proving to be a busy year for Motel One (not to be confused with Motel 6). Its first English property opens in London at the end of the year (an Edinburgh hotel opened in 2012), and the last couple of months have seen two other openings: a major one in Brussels and a slightly more minor one in Leipzig (sorry Leipzig).
Motel One Brussels opened in June on the spectacular Rue Royal, which straddles the old and new parts of town. At 490 rooms it’s pretty enormous but has kept a sense of location with (subtle) Belgian lace trim on the sofas and Arne Jacobsen chairs, artwork of the Belgian royals and even a chocolate display.