Big hotel brands launch affordable chains, but what are they actually like?

affordable hotel

As Premier Inn announces it is launching ZIP, it’s ‘no frills’ brand of hotels with room starting at just £19 a night, we take a look at what they are actually offering and the other big brands focusing on new affordable hotel chains.

Premier Inn – ZIP

Let’s start with Premier Inn and it’s new brand ZIP. Available to book from 01 March 2019, it’s not actually launched yet. The first hotel will be in Cardiff and will offer a ‘simple stay’. What does that actually mean?

Each room can be set up with a single bed, two single beds or a double. Whichever configuration you have, you’ll enjoy a comfy Hypnos mattress.

You’ll get a 24″ television, air conditioning, small bathroom with a power shower, body wash and a towel, as well as overhead storage and hangers.

Free wifi will be available throughout the hotel.

It is 10 minutes drive from the town centre and it’s right next to the popular David Lloyd Leisure Club.

Sounds good so far, so what don’t you get? 

You’ll only get room cleaning every three days, although you can request daily cleaning for an extra £5 per day.

A window isn’t guaranteed. Each room either has a small window or a ‘light box’. You will be randomly allocated a room on arrival and will not be able to select which type of room you get.

Each floor of the hotel will also feature an ‘ironing room’ to provide guests with complimentary ironing facilities.

There’s no food or drink facilities in the room, communal spaces will include a bar serving drinks and ‘light snacks’, workstations and booths, as well as a ‘chill-out areas’ with table football and a television.

Guests can also buy breakfast in the morning for £3.95.

Wondering what it looks like? Here are some images:

Marriott – Moxy

Aimed squarely at Millenials and ‘combining style and comfort with affordability and a community atmosphere, if you’re looking for a fun, lively, affordable hotel, Marriotts ‘Moxy’ chain does exactly that. They currently have 41 hotels across the US, Europe and Asia, with another 31 due to open in 2019 and 2020, so it’s fair to say the concept is popular.

What does it get right?

The rooms are ‘cosy’ but well thought out. Plenty of plugs for electronics near the beds, modern lighting, 42-inch TV, foldable table, comfy chairs, and pegs for clothing. For each room, there’s also a full-size bathroom with a shower, vanity, and upscale amenities.

The communal areas get a lot of good feedback with lots of different areas and options to sit for hours if you want to.

There is ultra-fast wifi throughout the hotel, but the big bonus? The hotel is part of the Marriott Rewards program which means you can book stays using your points and earn points while you visit.

What do you compromise on for the price?

There is no phone or clock in the room. Most people have their phone so not a big deal, but when you need to speak to the front desk at 3am, you might not want to have to go down to the lobby and join a queue.

The food choice is limited. No an issue if you are in a city but if you use one of their airport hotels where there isn’t much else close by, be prepared to eat the one hot option or a prepackaged sandwich.

Moxy Milan Malpensa

Starwood (Marriott)- Aloft

Part of the Starwood Group, which is now owned by Marriot, Aloft is roughly in line with Moxy in terms of price but is significantly different when it comes to the experience. Focusing on technology, Aloft firmly markets itself to ‘early adopters’.

What’s to love?

If you enjoy using new technology, you’ll love the tech they currently have in place and what they have coming soon. A couple of our favourites? SPG Keyless – You can opt to go keyless when you stay and use your phone, or Apple watch, as your room key. Just register for the program and opt to go keyless before you arrive. When you get to the hotel, you’ll receive a text with your room number and you can just go straight to your room! And we can’t not mention the robots roaming the corridors. Yes, actual robots roam the halls of the hotels. With a single text, you can request a service, connect to the front desk, get hotel information, even listen to the Live at Aloft Hotels playlist on demand. If you request towels or toiletries to be bought to your room, Botlr the robot will bring it up for you!

As you’d expect, there is wi-fi throughout the hotel as well as  W XYZ bars which offer food, drinks and often live music too.

What’s not to like?

Although the sleep experience is highly rated, the rooms are pretty much all the same and aren’t overly inspiring.

The main area to be aware of is that communal spaces can get very noisy and if you don’t like loud background music, you might want to avoid spending too much time there.


Motto by Hilton

On October 23rd, Hilton announced it is joining the other big brands by opening a new chain that focuses on attracting younger, more cost-conscious travellers. the new, affordable ‘lifestyle’ hotel brand is called ‘Motto’ and focuses on ‘Highly Competitive Rates, Customizable Rooms, and Coveted Urban Destinations’.

The first Motto hotel will open in 2020 in Marylebone with deals also having been agreed for Savannah, San Diego, Boston, and Washington D.C.

The average room size will be approximately 14 square meters, but there are promises of space-saving innovations such as wall-beds and loft beds, segmented showers and toilets and furniture that can be stowed.

Other key features include the option for guests to book multiple connecting rooms in advance, split payments between more than one person at the time of booking, ‘connected rooms’ allowing guests to control features in their room (i.e., temperature, lighting, TV, window coverings, etc.) from their Hilton Honors mobile app and a ‘Curated Sleep Experience’ with emphasis on a premium sleep experience including a premium mattress; a Sleep Kit with eye masks, essential oils or vitamin bars; a white noise app; blackout window shades; and sound-absorbing materials throughout the room.

There currently isn’t any indication of price, other than ‘affordable for cost-conscious travellers’ but it will be part of the Hilton Honours Loyalty program which is great news.

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