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We’ve often made jokes about IKEA-type furnishings in hotel rooms, and we even talked last summer about the upcoming IKEA hotel, and now the word is out--Marriott is indeed joining with the Swedish furnishings company to create Moxy Hotels. This will be be the company’s European, three-star budget brand, with the first hotel scheduled to debut in Milan in early 2014. And we suppose if any place needs a budget hotel, it would be Milan, no?
Thinking of the young, budget traveler, Marriott turned to Inter Hospitality Holding, IKEA’s real estate division and expressed interest in working together to create rooms that will cost around €60 ($78) per night. But here's the thing, like we said before--IKEA furniture won't be used in the rooms. Huh. So then, why the partnership?
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All this talk about IKEA getting ready to sweep Europe with a new chain of budget hotels got us thinking about some of the other cool brands out there. And it's a good thing there's so many of them—because while certain brands have managed to deliver on their promises, others have yet to open a single property. And yet we still remain hopelessly glued to the screen...
Take a look at these six other hotel brands we're most excited about, and see which openings are coming to a theater near you.
The world finally exhaled when Virgin made the announcement that the location of its first-ever hotel would be in Chicago. It's going to have a modest 250 rooms, and it will open in the city's historic Dearborn Bank Building, which will hopefully make good on Richard Branson's promise that all Virgin properties will become "the hippest most comfortable in any city." Well, sir, we'll hold off on judgment until we see one actually open. Construction began in May, with a projected opening date of Fall 2013.
Looks like we—along with the rest of the world—may have gotten a wee tad ahead of ourselves following IKEA's announcement last week that it will be launching a new chain of budget hotels across Europe.
Though we readily accepted the fact that the Swedish brand wouldn't have its name on the hotels, what wasn't immediately clear was that the hotels won't actually contain any IKEA furniture. Sad, but true.
In a statement to Reuters, here's what a senior exec at IKEA's parent company, Inter IKEA, had to say:
Though they've dabbled in the real estate business for a while now, internationally-known furniture megastore IKEA is getting ready to dive into the hotel business with a string of 100 "budget design" hotels across Europe—and the first one is scheduled to open in Germany.
The announcement came yesterday, about a week after the company's net worth was revealed to be a staggering €9 billion.
Clearly, they've got the dough to build whatever the heck kind of hotels they want to. But, in the interest of making even more money, the company has decided to focus on the trendy (and lucrative) budget hotel market. And though the hotels will not be branded or operated by the company, IKEA will build, develop and own them.
We assume, of course, that they'll also be supplying all the furniture.
Lots of unhappy hotel guests slam budget hotel furniture, or just ugly hotel furniture, by saying it's been store-bought from IKEA. So we're guessing they should probably never visit Vardshuset Hotell and Restaurang, the official IKEA Hotel, located next to the company's headquarters in Almhult, Sweden.
We learned about the existence of the hotel through the New Yorker's recent story on the IKEA culture, when the reporter, Lauren Collins, actually spent a night at the hotel. Here's what she said:
That night I stayed at the IKEA Hotel. Its web site promises, "Guests sleep well and wake up refreshed without art or frills." The lounge area was bright, like a scene from the IKEA catalogue. I sat on a candy-striped KARLSTAD chair and listened to supply managers discuss the respective turn-around times of China and Pakistan in global English. Swedish-speaking men with mustaches wore short-sleeved plaid shirts and drank Eriksberg beer...
Behind the reception desk was a series of candy jars filled with gummi bears and caramels. Why was the receptionist smiling so broadly? were the toasting salesmen bit players in some sort of Almhultian "Truman Show"?
Later that night, when she went up to her room for bed, there was a "pair of spartan single beds" and on top of the pine desk sat two books--the New Testament and the IKEA catalogue.