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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.
Budget-brand Tune Hotels has been aiming to spread like wildfire from its origins in Kuala Lumpur, bringing core values of 5-star beds, power showers, and cleanliness for wallet-friendly prices to 100 hotels around the world by next year. We’ve checked it out in London, and have our eye on their plans in the United States, but what is Tune like outside a major capital? Does it still deliver for a non-city stay?
We tested just that by staying the night at Tune in Patong, Phuket – one of the more recent additions to the brand. On the western coast of the island, Patong is one of the major tourist centers of Phuket (more on that later) and the Tune is about ten minutes’ walk from the main beach. A taxi from Phuket airport takes about 45 minutes.
While we wait to find out if/when Malaysian budget-happy, pay-as-you-go, chain Tune Hotels will make their entry into the U.S. market, we hear that they are going gangbusters in Japan, having just announced plans to open 20 new hotels over the next six years -- just in time for the 2020 Olympics.
The brand currently has 38 hotels in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Philippines, United Kingdom, India and Australia, and there is currently already one Tune Hotel in Japan: in Naha, Okinawa. Tim Hansing, CEO of Red Planet Hotels, owners and operators of 18 Tune Hotels across Japan, Thailand, Philippines and Indonesia says: “Now that we have established ourselves and the Tune Hotels brand in Indonesia, Thailand and the Philippines, our strategy has always been to expand in north Asia and we will be commencing this move in Japan first of all.”
Way back in 2009, during the darkest days of the economic collapse, the news that Malaysia's budget chain, Tune Hotels was making a move to our shores had us looking up from the bottom of the bottle in delight. But now, here we are, four years later and nothing. Well, not in America anyways. Tune has made great strides in the UK and plans to take on Australia next.
However, we did stumble across this registered U.S. trademark. Could Tune finally be making a move into the U.S.? We inquired of a Tune rep and got this statement:
We are always looking at opportunities and the US is a market that is of interest.
Hmm...not quite the answer we were looking for but we'll keep our eye out for some new Tunes.
Know of anyone humming a certain Tune? Let us know where!
Let's all say "namaste" to Tune Ahmedabad, the first-ever Tune Hotel for India. Located in the "Science City", the hotel officially welcomed its first guests but not before hosting a colorful ceremony blessing the new building with flowers and other offerings.
Keeping with the Tune model of pay-for-what-you-use, a Comfort Package is available now for about an extra $9, which gives a full 24-hours of wifi, TV, and air conditioning access. If you're looking to dive into some vindaloo to start your day, for just over $3 you can tuck into breakfast in the lobby's XO Cafe.
The hotel is perfect for travelers looking to save a few rupees and still get a full Indian experience with some shopping and sport. Along with being annexed to the city's newly developed 4D Square Shopping Mall, Tune is also a short walk to the local cricket stadium, after all this is 'cricket country'. (the sport, not the insect)
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In a first for the hotel chain and for Scotland, Tune Hotels opened up their first Scottish property last week welcoming thrifty travelers in the city to check out the umpteen castles, Edinburgh has to offer. It's a first for Scotland and a first in the new design for the hotel chain.
Last summer we told you of plans to bring the discount chain to Scotland, and now everything is official. The brand brings to the city, a la carte pricing for which they have become famous. Want towels? That's £1.50 extra. Room cleaning? £7 per day. Ability to watch some TV? £3 per day.
For those that can plan in advance, you'll see the cheapest rates. Room rates start at £25, but will skyrocket as the cheap rooms sell out. On a recent search in April, we found a double room without windows for £50 ($80) and a room with a view for £80 ($128). Once you start adding any normal hotel amenities, the price is comparable to local hotels.
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With big things happening for Tune Hotels in the UK and Australia, it kind of makes sense that the expansion waves would also carry over to Asia, where the chain is actually based.
This September, Tune will open its third Thailand hotel, a 130-room outpost on Bangkok's Sukhumvit Soi 14, a few blocks away from Lumphini Park, and encircled by pricier hotel choices like Westin Grand Sukhumvit, Grand Millennium Sukhumvit and Sheraton Grand Sukhumvit.
But while basic rooms at those places generally go for around $150-$220 USD, Tune will be swinging into town with rates of just $15 USD/night.
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The Sydney Morning Herald reported the other week that Tune has plans for hotels in both Melbourne and near the Sydney Airport.
Tune's first Australian venture, 235 rooms in Melbourne's Swanston Street, is due to open in August next year....
The Melbourne hotel will be followed by a 250-room property at Sydney Airport and is linked to AirAsiaX's new daily flights from Sydney to Kuala Lumpur.
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Despite just having opened a new branch on Liverpool Street last week, Tune Hotels is now aiming for yet another two new hotels in London between now and the start of the Olympics. And don't think they'll be taking a break after that, either. Oh no. CEO Mark Lankester told The Star that though the Olympics is good for business, "we are in [it] for the long term."
What this means is rapid expansion throughout the rest of the UK. And now we've gotten a few more details on the upcoming hotels, the first of which Lankester confirmed would pop up in Edinburgh and Liverpool (the city, not the London street) by 2013. And just to throw in a little extra excitement, he added: "With a name like Tune Hotels, we have to have one in the birthplace of the Beatles."
Starting tomorrow through Friday, the hotel will release 1,000 room nights at the Liverpool Street Hotel for just 2p! The two-penny rooms can be booked for select dates from opening day, January 4, all the way through May 27.
The race for the low rate begins at 8am London time and all you have to do is head to the Tune UK website, www.tunehotels.com/uk, search for a discounted room and click the BOOK NOW button. If you can't find a date that has a 2p rate on the website, you can also look on the Tune Hotel’s Facebook and Twitter pages for some clues as to which dates are still open.
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Last week The New York Times’ Frugal Traveler got scammed after booking an apartment on Craigslist and that sucks. So being the nice people that we are we thought we’d give you a list of cheap London hotels so you don’t have to trawl for a cheap flat and end up getting burnt. Also worth noting: people in London use Gumtree over Craigslist, anyways.
Tune Hotel Westminster
The Tune Hotel Westminster is one of our favourite cheap hotels. It has everything you need from a budget hotel – a bed and a bathroom. There’s also a TV, but, like everything else you need to pay to use it. Even with all of the extras, though, it still works out pretty cheap: under £60 when we stayed there.
For being the hotel snobs that we are, we actually dig the "no frills" concept of Tune Hotels. And despite having a room that was only slightly larger than a sleeper cabin on a train, we really enjoyed our stay at the Tune Hotel Westminster in London. The price was right and the room was rather cozy.
But the one thing that did sort of irk us was all the add-ons that the hotel charges, mostly before you even get there.
However, Tune is finally doing away with one fee--the room administration fee. In conjunction/celebration of the new Tune Hotel Bintulu opening in Malaysia, Tune Hotel is dropping this fee across all 12 properties starting today. And you can thank Tune expansion for that.