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Ibis Styles Liverpool
As hotel group after hotel group rushes to create new brands that will appeal to millennials, with what feels like new launches bragging about social media-friendly spaces every week, one brand has been quietly reinventing itself. There’s been no real fanfare around it – no extravagant boasts, no flagrant appeals to the self-obsessed generation – just a focus on stylish, unchainlike rooms, low prices and free WiFi. The name of that chain? Ibis Styles.
Not too long ago, Ibis was a byword for budget – in a bad way. Ibis rooms were dark, boring, fusty. They weren’t hotels you planned to stay in, they were hotels you ended up in when you couldn’t find or afford better. (I say this with the hindsight of adulthood – when I was a child, going on holiday to France and staying in an Ibis – or Eebis, as they called it – seemed like the most exciting thing in the world.)
But Ibis Styles are different from proper Ibises (Ibes?) – they have style and verve. Even better, they’re different from each other, too, and relate to the cities they're located in. There’s nothing in the design that screams Ibis, and, speaking (just) as a millennial, that is what we like.
Ibis Styles Brussels
My Ibis Styles revelation came this summer, when I was walking down Avenue Louise in Brussels and noticed two giant smiley faces staring out at me from a nearby window – it was the lobby of the Ibis Styles Brussels Louise, whose chic, startling white rooms start at just €71. Then I read about Ibis Styles Liverpool (from just £71) and was sold.
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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.
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There are certain things in Liverpool you can never have too much of. Shellsuits. Scallies. Rascals. And Beatles-themed hotels. (Joking on the first three, honest.)
So in view of the fact that the Hard Day’s Night now charges from £99 ($170) and inclines us towards doing Liverpool as a Day Tripper, it’s nice to see Ibis offering a budget alternative. Yes, Ibis, purveyors of cheap but bland and soulless motel-style rooms around Europe.
This is no ordinary Ibis, though; it’s the photos, this one appears to have gone for psychedelic swirly carpets, sixties bright, clashing colors, and Beatles cartoons acting as headboards. Love it, and especially love the I am the Walrus mural in the lobby.
Things got a little crazy for Home Alone star Macaulay Culkin earlier this week while he was vacationing in Brighton, England. Apparently, the former child star was leaving a nightclub late Monday night, when he had a full-on temper tantrum and ended up attacking one of the photographers waiting outside.
Tsk, tsk, Macaulay! What would Catherine O'Hara have to say about this?
After having to be physically restrained by other photographers, Culkin then jumped into a waiting van and sped off to his hotel, the Ibis*. (This wouldn't have been our first choice of hotel for an internationally-known movie star, but, hey, weirder things have happened!)
Culkin kept his face covered with sunglasses and a scarf as he made his way inside the hotel, where he was then photographed checking in at the Front Desk. The Daily Mail reports:
"At approximately 1.30am, Macaulay arrived at the Ibis hotel, covering his face with his scarf until he was safely inside the lobby. Once inside, the 32-year-old looked far calmer."
Based on how calm he looks at the hotel, you could almost be tricked into thinking the whole nightclub incident was much ado about nothing. Wrong. As the Daily Mail's photos clearly show, Culkin was having one heck of an episode—cursing and screaming, hair all disheveled, arms akimbo, psycho-killer-style.
We just hope his next hotel plans ahead with lots of fruit baskets and smiling employees. They certainly don't want to do anything that will upset this whacko.
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Ibis Abu Dhabi Gate, as it will be known, will open this month in Musaffah at the entrance of the city, near the Abu Dhabi Int'l Airport (AUH), Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Center and Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, with rates starting at $61/night.
While the 252-room hotel is the brand's first in Abu Dhabi, Ibis in fact already owns no less than five hotels in neighboring Dubai, the cheapest of which has rates starting as low as $65/night.
Ibis is showing guests that they can be their most creative but when they're fast asleep in bed. A select few European Ibis hotels are taking part in a new interactive program called "Sleep Art," which has to be the most unusual example we've seen in a while of cool art being integrated into the hotel experience.
Basically, guests sleep on a special mattress, which analyzes their movements, and then sends that data to a robot arm programmed to create a unique painting based on the information (kind of like the Yobot's long-lost cousin!). Since every person has a different way of sleeping, every painting will be one-of-a-kind.
And if you love the idea of bringing home a work of sleep-induced art, but are too creeped out by the presence of a soulless robot arm twitching and whirring next to your bed, then worry not. The mechanical arm is actually located in a remote studio in Paris. Which leads us to think the whole "Sleep Art" initiative isn't about expression creativity at all, but rather an opportunity for Ibis to flaunt its strong WiFi signals.
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Airport hotels get a pretty bad rap. Sure, there are the greasy, grimy ones, but we like to think that for every one of those, there's a perfectly clean business-friendly oneor, even better, an airport hotel with the luxury of an airport view. All this week we'll be taking a look at a few of our favorite hotels for plane spotting.
Kicking off this week is a double-header at Paris' massive main airport. At the high end, there's the Hilton with its Concorde viewsdon't believe us, see here. For the budget-conscious, there's also the Ibis, with its view of everything else (see here) and direct connection to Terminals 1 & 2.
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Natural disasters, like earthquakes, can paralyze travel plans, sometimes months and even years later. The February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, which pretty much closed down the city to tourism, was no different. But we've got good news--things are bouncing back, including the September 4th re-opening of the Ibis Christchurch Hotel, which has been closed for two years.
The South Island city of Christchurch experienced a 6.3 magnitude quake that caused 185 deaths. Slowly, but surely, the city has been rebuilt and people are moving back to the region.
You know the scene. You open the door to your brand new hotel room, run over to the window, open the blinds and bam, you are hit with the anti-view. Maybe you are looking down a dirty alley, witnessing a drug deal, staring at an air shaft in the face, or seeing a brick wall. Whatever you are viewing it is not extremely pleasurable. Help out your fellow hotel mavens by uploading your anti-views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number with the not-so-easy-on-the-eyes view.
The good news this week is that Accor Hotels Ibis Hotels is getting a much-needed brand makeover which will see an upgrade in hotel bedding, a reconfiguration of the common areas, better food and beverage offerings and some technology upgrades.
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Very big news for Accor Hotels today. The company, which holds Sofitel Hotels and other big European hotels under its umbrella, has announced a reorganization of its hotel brands, particularly in the budget spectrum, as well as a new loyalty program name. Once called the A-Club, the program is now going by the name Le Club Accorhotels. (Yes, Accorhotels is one word like that.) Hmm...we liked A-Club better but oh well.
The biggest change is actually happening with the company's ibis hotels. ibis hotels will become a "megabrand" for Accor with all seasons hotels now going by the name, "ibis styles" and with the Etap hotels going by the name, "ibis budget. Accor hopes to finish this new segmentation by early 2013 with a large-scale communication campaign happening in 2012 to let everyone know about the changes.
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Stay at the Sofitel Rio, and you can join the A Club.
When we first heard about the A Club, we wondered whether it was anything like the A-Team. We hoped it had something to do with Bradley Cooper. Alas, the two aren't related. But we couldn't be too bummed because the A Club is actually the new loyalty program for Accor Hotels, and we love hotel loyalty programs just as much as A-Team's pretty Face.
A Club gives you rewards at more than 2,000 hotels worldwide, including the Sofitel brand. For every dollar or Euro spent at a Sofitel a Pullman, a Gallery Novotel, a Suite Novotel, a Mercure and an Adagio hotel, you'll earn two points. You get awarded one point for every dollar or Euro spent at Ibis or All Seasons hotels.
Not content with having one hotel in Hong Kong, the Ibis Hotels chain are preparing to build their biggest hotel in Asia in central Hong Kong. They say that the downtown area – the hotel will be built on the corner of Bonham Strand West and Des Vouex Road West, if you know the spot – is lacking in decent economy-level hotels and the Ibis should be the perfect fit.
Come early 2012, the Ibis Hong Kong Sheung Wan should be ready for plenty of guests with its 550 rooms, along with a restaurant and bar. An Ibis hotel rarely costs an arm and a leg so it might be worth looking into with that central location.
Ibis is having a big push of building and opening new hotels across Asia, and by the end of this year will have opened 21 new places across the Asia Pacific region, a big proportion of them in China. Considering that Ibis is not a very well respected brand in Europe--they were found "unfit to lick"--we hope they fare better in Asia.
[Photo: das farbamt]