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We chat a lot about fancy schmancy luxury hotels here on HotelChatter yet even when it comes to budget options, we still look for places that at least try to have a sense of style. If that fails, well, we'll be happy with a cheap spot that gives us clean bedding and free WiFi. Which is why we might add Red Roof Inn to our "Cheap and Chic" list. Or at least our "Cheap and trying to be Chic" list.
The budget brand was recently ranked the #1 economy hotel for the fifth year in a row, according to the 2014 ReviewMetrix CSI Benchmark. But Red Roof is also working hard to convince guests that it is more than just a cheap place to stay.
The company has spent $200 million to renovate and upgrade its 400 locations across the U.S., including rebranding some of its regular Roofs to Red Roof Plus+. These hotels feature the modern "NextGen" design but also complimentary welcome snack boxes filled with bottled water, popcorn, orange juice, trail mix and two Nature Valley® granola bars. Additiionally, the rooms have coffee/tea makers, an iron and ironing board, mini-fridges, microwaves, and an additional pillow.
And yes, rates tend to stay below $100, making it actually pretty affordable for the all-important Millennial travelers.
Another day, another new hotel brand. This time it's from Red Roof Inn, who is now rolling out "upscale economy" hotels to be known as Red Roof PLUS+ Yes, it sounds a bit like an airline seat category but hey, we like upgrades.
The PLUS+ brand is hoping to offer guests an “enhanced experience at a value price”. Thirty-one hotels will be launched immediately with nine more set to open by the end of the year. All will feature a NextGen design that has modern furniture, flat-screen TVs with HD channels, wood-like floors, extra outlets, and Rest Suite beds by Serta with high-end bedding. Red Roof says that within two years, 20 percent of its portfolio will actually be PLUS+ hotels.
Here are some more "pluses" that guests can expect from Red Roof PLUS+:
Celebrity Scoop / HotelChatter Interviews / Ben Folds Five / Starwood Hotels / SPG / Westin Hotels / Hotel Openings / Hotel Music / Hotel Parties / Manhattan Hotels / Motels / Red Roof Inns / Howard Johnson Hotels / London Hotels / → All Tags
About a dozen Westin heavenly beds were hauled up to the hotel's third floor ballroom, where select SPG members got cozy and settled in for a private performance by indie trio Ben Folds Five. It's not every day you get to watch a live concert in bed!
But that wasn't the only exciting thing about the grand opening. Earlier in the day, HotelChatter got to sit down for an exclusive interview with the band and quiz them on their early days in the 90s as motel-hopping road warriors. Sure enough, they had plenty of stories to share...
HotelChatter: When you guys were just starting out and traveling to different cities each night, what was it like? Where would you stay?
Ben Folds: The Knight's Inn. Usually, one of us would book the room as if it was just for one person, and the others would hide out in the van and wait. The reason being, if there was more than one of us, the price would go up. So then we'd get into the room; someone would share a bed, I usually blew up a mattress and slept on the floor.
HC:: And how much did you have to pay?
BF: $39.95 usually. We would use whatever cash we'd gotten from the night before.
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Once in a while we take a chance on a hotel, usually for one of three reasons: the place got recommended to us by a friend, it's super convenient, or we're just plain old desperate. In the case of our stay last week at the Red Roof Inn Flushing New York, which is located just four miles from LaGuardia Airport (LGA), it was some mix of the latter two.
Walking into the hotel, we thought, 'OK. It's a little bare bones, and there is kind of a weird plaster-y smell, but nevermind: the rates will be cheap, and there will be free WiFi.'
Sure enough, upon checking in, the rate was certainly lower than what we're accustomed to seeing across the river in dear old Manhattan. $110 for the night. And what's more, they even decided to bump us up to a "bigger" room on the highest floor, at a discount.
Off to a good start! But then things took a turn for the worse.
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Red Roof Inns revamped their room look back in 2009 with the introduction of the NextGen room designs. But it looks like Red Roof has done some tweaking with those rooms as they've just announced new contemporary interiors and exteriors for their hotel rooms.
This time around the design elements being implemented come from traveler feedback. Number one on the list? More electrical outlets. So now every NextGen room will have extra outlets as well as new 32" or 37" Panasonic flatscreen TVs, wood-like flooring with area rugs under the beds, enhanced showerheads and more bathroom counter space. But best of all, the beds are getting updated duvets and bed skirts. Phew!
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Bitcoin is an electronic currency that's only accepted in the digital world. It's not recognized by any government, it's entirely unregulated and the only ways to get your hands on bitcoin is to either buy it with real cash or spend days "mining" for it on the internet. For more on how it works, you can (try to) read the bitcoin entry on Wikipedia.
Yet, Jefferson Kim, the owner and manager of both the Howard Johnson and the Red Roof Inn in Buena Park was eager to use bitcoin for hotel reservations saying that he would "personally like to see the BTC succeed." On the hotel's website, he detailed how to pay for a room with bitcoin.
One person who took him up on this? Wired contributing editor, Joshua Davis, who wrote about bitcoin for a piece in the New Yorker (the October 10th issue.) Davis booked a room at the hotel online for 10.305 bitcoins.
Surely, there's gotta be $20 in here.
If you're worried about sticking to your New Year's Resolution of "spend less money" when it comes to your travel budget, we've got two ways to get around that for the first week of 2011.
First off, Red Roof is offering all guests rooms for just $20.11 on January 2. The special, one-day only "Nicest Price" can be booked via redroof.com using the code 608790. Yes, we know the Red Roof is not the glamorous getaway you had in mind but $20.11 is dirt-cheap! We might even book a Red Roof just for the thrill of paying $20 and 11 cents for a hotel room.
Can't stay on January 2? Red Roof is kicking off its Nicest Price advance purchase program in the New Year, which offers up to 20 percent off when guests book 20 day in advance or 15 percent off when booking 10 days in advance. That's good to know when planning a road-trip this spring.
If you get stuck in this room, calling someone to bail you out won't cost a thing.
We're adding this to our Annual Hotel WiFi Report right now--Red Roof Inns have just annoucned that starting this month they will offer free communication for its guests, whether you need to hop on the internet, make a phone call or send a fax.
Available at its nearly 350 properties across the U.S. starting May 2010, guests can take advantage of free access to Wi-Fi, local and long distance calls within the continental U.S., and up to 10 fax pages sent within the continental U.S.
We're not so sure who needs to fax things out there anymore but should you need to, it's nice to know the first 10 pages are free. Now, why can't all hotels get onboard with this? Specifically, these hotels.
But aside from a gentle water massage in the mornings, you may also want to stay at Red Roof Inn because from now through April 15, rooms only cost one cent!
The one-cent promotion kicked off on April Fool's but it's no joke. All participating Red Roofs are offering one room per day for one cent. To book a penny room, you must do it through the Red Roof Inn website and the rooms go up for grabs each day at noon EST.
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A revamped room at a Motel 6 in Addison, Texas.
While we love designer decor and treating ourselves to a high-end hotel stay every once in awhile, our budgets don't allow us to travel like we're a rock star all the time. So we can't say enough about the trend of budget brands upgrading their look and amenities. We love it! After all, who says we should be depressed just because our bank balance or plain old geography demands we stay at a value-oriented hotel or motel?
The New York Times ran a story about motels 'upping the thread count' just the other day—which got us wondering: What's your favorite budget brand makeover?
It's official. No hotel anywhere, ever, has any excuse for big, boxy TV's, early-90's coffeemakers and exceptionally nasty bedspreads: Red Roof Inns have, at last, started to upgrade and redesign their new-build properties. The budget chain has just opened the first of their "NextGen" hotels in Locust Grove, Georgia, with another one debuting in Beaumont, Texas in June.
And they ain't lookin' so bad, if we do say so ourselves. We're not so sure we're buying the "exquisitely luxurious" descriptor used in the press release (yeah, they said that, really), but the newer Red Roof NextGen properties feature:
New and luxurious bathrooms with granite countertops, vessel sinks and spa-inspired rain-flow showers [...] wireless internet and flat-screen TVs that will be outfitted with auto sensing remote jack packs (RJPs) as well as spacious workspaces with ergonomic seating; Love-you-Linens plush bedding and Smart-by-Design amenities.
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Still looking for a room for Super Bowl XLII? Well, since you are a reader of HotelChatter you are in luck. Three Red Roof Inns in Tampa Bay area have offered our readers a special discount. Mention "HotelChatter.com" when you call the hotel directly to get these discounts. This special HotelChatter Reader Deal is available at the following locations:
· Red Roof Tampa/Brandon(13.5 miles from stadium): $159 + tax per night after discount; Call 813-681-8484 to book.
· Red Roof Fairgrounds (10 miles from stadium): $189 + tax per night after discount; Call 813-623-5245 to book.
· Red Roof Busch Gardens (8 miles from stadium): $189 + tax per night after discount; Call 813-932-0073 to book.
A Red Roof rep assures us these rates are lower than other internet rates like Expedia (at least $10 less.) Fail or a Success? Let us know if you end up booking rooms at these hotels and how it all worked out.
Know of a hotel room open for Super Bowl? Tell us where right here.