There is a new breed of budget hotels that combine small spaces (rooms are typically 75 to 100 square feet) with tech-conscious design. Many of these chains offer self-service check-ins, iPod docking stations and free wireless, wall-mounted, flat-screen TVs and adjustable mood lighting.
CitizenM – Amsterdam’s CitizenM (short for mobile) opened in early 2008. Rates started from about $101 a night for a room with mood lighting and a king-size bed.
EasyHotel – Part of the company behind Britain’s low-cost airline easyJet, these orange hued hotels are in London (Kensington, Victoria and Earl’s Court, from about $52 a night), Basel and Zurich, Switzerland (from about $47 and $49 a night), and Budapest, Hungary (from about $22). Locations: There are three in London (South Kensington, Earl’s Court, and Victoria); one in Budapest, Hungary; one in Basel, Switzerland, and one to open mid-November 2007 in Zurich, Switzerland. Room types vary by location, but expect to find mostly six to seven square meter (75 to 97 square feet) “small rooms” (with or without windows) that come equipped with a private bathroom and shower, plus a flat screen TV (though it costs £5 to get 10 channels). The slightly larger “standard rooms” offer the same amenities in an eight to nine square meter space. Rooms at the London hotels start at £30 per night. The London easyHotels’ private bathrooms and clean new spaces are a step up from the typical hostel at a comparable price.
Hotel SO – Compact rooms at this eco-conscious hotel, launched last month in Christchurch, New Zealand, include free Internet phone calls. Rates from about $53 a night, with optional $11 “servicing charge.”
Nitenite Cityhotels – Open now in Birmingham, England, with expansion plans for New York City, the U.K. and Germany, Nitenite hotels feature ergonomically designed, yacht-style rooms in neutral colors. Rates from about $82 a night, double. Just Birmingham, England, right now, though the coming soon list includes London, New York, and Berlin, among other cities. Designed to “emulate the feel of a luxury yacht cabin,” the nitenite hotel in Birmingham strives for an affordable and hip guest experience. All of its 104 guest rooms have en-suite bathrooms, flat-screen televisions, and Wi-Fi. Standard double rooms are just under seven square meters (75 square feet). Rates start at £55 per night. Sleek design and soothing lighting makes the rooms seem slightly larger than they are.
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Pod Hotel – Rates at the former Pickwick Arms in central Manhattan start at $99 a night for a tiny but chic room with twin bed and shared bath down the hall; double rooms with private bath from $139. Just one in New York City’s Midtown East neighborhood. Formerly the Pickwick Arms, the Pod Hotel’s variety of room types suits a variety of travelers. Queen and double rooms have private bathrooms and larger beds, while single and bunk rooms cost less and have shared bathrooms. Clean minimalism with the occasional touch of bold color characterizes the rooms. True to its claim of high style and high tech, all rooms have iPod docking stations, free Wi-Fi, and flat screen TVs. With advertised rates from $89 per night, New York City’s Pod Hotel offers a more typical hotel experience than most modular hotels beyond the rooms, with a concierge, lobby lounge, restaurant, and rooftop bar. Though it calls its rooms “pods,” the sizes look comparable to the average New York City hotel room. Based on a Price, it looks like rates can be a fair amount higher than the advertised lowest rate of $89, though they seem in line with typical New York City hotel prices.
Qbic – The first hotel is already open in Amsterdam. Hotels in Antwerp and Maastricht will open in early 2008. Qbics are located in city centers. Design, novelty, and efficiency are the defining characteristics of Qbic Hotels’ signature “cubi” rooms. Cubis include extra-long beds, private bathrooms with designer touches, flat-screen TVs, work-and-dine spaces, and free Wi-Fi, in rooms averaging a palatial (by modular standards) 30 square meters (323 square feet). You can even change the color of your space to yellow, red, or purple by pressing a button. Rates start at ?39 per night. The hotel’s lobby has a self-service check-in terminal, vending machines with food from local bakeries and caterers, and a digital concierge with information about local restaurants and cinemas. Stylish and well-equipped, and the dining area sets it apart from other pod hotels as a comfortable place for a slightly longer stay. Open in Amsterdam and Maastricht, Netherlands, Qbic’s “fun, sassy and efficient” hotels feature extra-long beds, Philippe Starck bathroom design and vending machines with homemade food from local caterers. Priced from about $57 a night.
Tune Hotels – Cheap is the byword at this garish red hotel in central Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia: rates start at about $3 a night, though towels and air conditioning are extra.
Yotel! – Yotel! at Gatwick Airport is now open in the International terminal. The Heathrow location (in Terminal 4) opens later this autumn, and Amsterdam Schiphol opens in early 2008. Inspired by airplane cabin upper class suites, Yotel! is sticking to the theme and opening its capsule-style hotels not just near airports, but actually in airports. With rates from £25, it’s the cheapest glimpse into first-class you’ll find. Yotel! offers two types of “cabins.” Standard cabins measure seven square meters (75 square feet), and include a bed the website claims is large enough for two, bathroom with shower, work desk with stools, storage areas, free Wi-Fi, and flat screen TV with programming that includes television, radio, games, internet, and current airport arrival and departure information. There’s an on-screen cabin service menu from which you can order food 24 hours per day. Premium cabins have all the standard amenities plus more, including a bed that folds itself into a couch at the touch of a button, bedside tables, and a fancier bathroom. And, at 10 square meters (108 square feet), it’s a bit roomier. You can book in four-hour increments or overnight. The airport location makes Yotel! a good option for layovers or early-morning, late-night, delayed, or canceled flights. Rates for four hours start at £25 for a standard cabin, or £40 for a premium cabin, and additional hours cost from £5 for standard cabins. Sleek and modular, the perks seem ideal for everyone from business travelers with early departure times to exhausted vacationers waiting out flight delays.