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Every month, we tell you which hotel openings you need to know about (and which, inevitably, miss their deadlines). While we have a healthy list of arrivals around the world, there are a few places that are either consistently popular or having a bit of a hotel moment, so “new hotels for…” gives you a rundown of the openings you will want to know about for a particular destination. Never one to shy away from doing things big, Singapore keeps building, building, building like there is no tomorrow: offices, apartment buildings, and of course, hotels. Marina Bay Sands landed a few years ago like a three-pillared spaceship ready for endless rooftop pool selfies, and Karl Lagerfeld brought a few design touches and one of his inimitable pearls of wisdom to Sofitel So just last year. Yet more is to come – here are six new hotels coming to the Lion City over the next few years:
Cast your mind back to October when Hub Hotels – a spin off of Premier Inn – vowed to be the most technologically advanced chain in the UK. Eight months on, they’re not doing badly with this new Apple Watch app.
A forthcoming Premier Inn Hub
The two chains have just been named the best in the UK by readers of Which? magazine. Normally we sniff at this kind of survey, but Which?, for American readers, is a respected title and the top UK consumer publication around. It constantly crowdsources its readers, meaning it gets a wide spread of feedback (6000 people took part in this research).
Sofitel topped out the survey, with an overall score of 83%. But Premier Inn was hot on its heels with 82%. The worst? Britannia Hotels with 33% - it's the second year running that it's come last. Premier Inn's rival, Travelodge, was at 60% - scores were based on nine categories including cleanliness, customer service and value for money.
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A tech-friendly hotel that accepts reservations by app? Snooze. A tech-friendly hotel that only accepts reservations by app? Now that’s something we’re not sure anyone’s dared try before. Except there’s probably a reason for that.
Next month, budget UK chain Premier Inn launches a new brand, hub, with a flagship hotel opening in St Martin’s Lane, central London. It’s another millennial-friendly idea – aiming “to catch the imagination of guests who already rely on technology for many other aspects of their everyday lives”. Technology is going to play a central part – or, rather, the new hub by Premier Inn app will.
You’ll check in via the app, of course; then during your stay, you can control the TV channel, the room temperature or the lighting by using the app. You can use it to order food to pick up downstairs, and stream entertainment on the 40in TV. And for when you venture outside, the app contains a “detailed local area guide, hosting a careful edit of the hottest places” (more millennial speak, there), and even “is enhanced by an Augmented Reality experience in the room”. Not sure what that means. Not sure we want to.
In a manner quite characteristic of Londoners, we found ourselves getting sulky over recent news that European hotel rates are soaring up, up, away and out of affordable reach. London is regarded one of the world's most expensive destinations, inspiring vague resentment among travelers desperate for a jaunt to the land of Royals and all manner of pies.
The budget brand hotel chain will complete a £6 million pound renovation of the old Queen's Hotel located on the north side of Leicester Square. With all of these luxury hotels opening in the neighbourhood budget travelers will be happy to see they haven’t been forgotten.
Plus just because you’re staying at the Premier Inn it doesn’t mean you can’t use the services at the W London or enjoy the restaurant at the St John. It just means you get to stay in the area at a fraction of the price .
Sir Paul McCartney performing at the Hollywood Bowl in March. Doubt he stayed in a budget hotel there.
Last week, we couldn't believe it when we read that Jay-Z and Beyonce shacked up at in a room at the budget brand hotel, Premiere Inn for the Isle of Wight music festival. But that was like, totally true! And they weren't the only rich music stars spending the night in budgie accommodations.
We might balk at staying at a Premier Inn in the UK, given the state of UK's budget brands, but it's apparently all right with Beyonce and Jay-Z. News of the World reports that the famous duo stayed in a Premier Inn, whose rooms go as low as £29 a night, when Jay-Z performed at the Isle of Wight music festival over the weekend. AND they even reportedly skipped a specially-prepared meal, opting to eat at a nearby Pizza Hut instead. Jigga-what?
That said, we can't blame them for choosing Premier Inn. The brand not only has low rates but also modern amenities like king-sized beds, flat-screen TVs, black-out shades and WiFi, although that's not free.
Ok, yeah, this isn't working. We tried to make sense of this but we can't. Why Beyonce and Jay-Z would stay here is beyond us. Maybe News of the World has it wrong. Anyone else who can verify a B and Hova appearance at Premier Inn, let us know.
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Click on Lenny – not to his left
Trouble is brewing in budget UK bedland. The catalyst? Premier Inn’s promotion, fronted by an E list celeb (Lenny Henry) and offering 1,000,000 rooms for £29 on stays from Thursdays to Mondays until April 2010.
The T&Cs were a little daunting – stay two nights (why would you want to stay two nights in a Premier Inn?) or one on a Sunday, book 21 days ahead (if we ever get so organised that we’ll book a motel three weeks in advance, we’ll rip out our own fingernails) – but apart from that, fair enough.
Except, then Premier Inn’s main rivals, Travelodge, checked out the offer and discovered that there was a confusing, two tier booking system on the website.
If you click on Lenny Henry’s face, under “Premier Offers”, you’ve got a 24 per cent chance of bagging a cheapo room. But if you click on the “Quick Booking” facility just to its left – which you might be more likely to do if you had a specific date in mind – there’s less than 1 per cent chance of getting one.
As reported by The Times, Travelodge – which is currently boasting rooms for £9 in its Easter sale - have whipped it up, lodging a formal complaint with the Advertising Standards Authority , mentioning it in its weekly mailshot and setting up an anti-Premier Inn petition.
But it may just have backfired. Not only are people hitting the comments boards slagging off Travelodge for the state of its rooms, but it’s also alerted its entire customer base to a cheap deal with its rival. Meanwhile, Premier Inn have vowed to correct the booking “anomaly”.
We still think it was bad form of Premier Inn not to have the cheap prices running throughout the website, but Travelodge, you’re not looking good right now. Frankly, we’ll be boycotting the pair of you.