Boutique on Budget...
Read a great article in April’s Fast Company magazine entitled “Boutique Hotels on a Budget”. With the proliferation of smaller, higher-service hotels, someone (actually more than one, as it turns out) was bound to try to define the low end of this high end marketplace. Funny thing is, if the definition of high-end is part service and part price, at least three companies/chains are shaking up the mix.
EasyHotel is EasyJet’s budget-but-boutique offering. First property in London, small rooms (only 60, 70 or 80 square feet) and minimalist, but definitely boutique. Rooms are supposed to range from $10 to $115 or so a night. Wonder what a $10 hotel room looks like? There’s a photo gallery on the site – if orange is your color, these folks are for you.
Yotel is another European offering, spawned by a successful restaurant chain called Yo Sushi. They’ll also open first in London (2006), the rooms are 100 square feet and will cost around $135 a night, but have a high amenity factor, including flat-screen TV’s and special lighting to help with jet lag adjustment. Their press release emphasizes high design and function at a budget price.
The only offering noted to be starting in the US is Cambria Suites, offered by Choice Hotels (Comfort Inn, Clarion, EconoLodge) who plans to open in Miami and Chicago this coming year. Rooms will be around a hundred bucks a night, offer separate work and sleep areas, plasma TVs, and WiFi (I assume the other hotels will offer this, too. How can you not these days? Here’s a partial description from the Cambria Suites press release:
Public spaces at Cambria Suites brand hotels will be open, contemporary and inviting. Lobbies will include club lounge seating and a large screen "media wall"; a lounge serving liquor, wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages; and a coffee bar serving premium coffees. Food and beverage options will also include a paid-for hot and cold breakfast buffet and a 24/7 convenience store stocked with food and sundry items. Each hotel will also include an expanded fitness facility, an indoor pool and more than 1,000 square feet of meeting space. Additional business services include onsite faxing, copying and printing as well as multiple lobby power/Internet ports and high speed wired and wireless Internet access.
If you’re travelling around and are tired of the 500–room behemoths that are charging more than these rates, maybe one or more of these are worth a try. You’ll probably be in Europe when you try them… I’ll probably check out the one in Miami. Having a cool place to crash in or near the hub of the Latin universe would be a good thing…