With smart tech and sharp design, a new wave of budget hotels is sweeping away grisly memories of dull functionality. We review a selection of the latest openings across London
London’s budget hotel sector is booming. The global financial crisis prompted a development spree among the big low-cost brands and, according to a Visit London report, the sector now represents 20% of the capital’s total hotel market (in comparison, hostels only represent 2%). Premier Inn has 72 hotels in Greater London, Travelodge has 67, Holiday Inn 38 and Ibis 24; and all brands continue to expand: a fifth Hub by Premier Inn is set to open on Goodge Street, Fitzrovia, for example; Ibis Styles is opening in west London; while Z hotels is adding Covent Garden and Soho to its collection of listed townhouses in 2018.
But development isn’t just about increasing the numbers; these brands have started to pay closer attention to design, meaning a stay in a budget hotel need not be the soul-destroying experience it once was. Ibis Styles, for example, has gone for a West End musical theme at its Southwark hotel; and at Motel One guests sip cocktails in a low-lit modern bar. Travelodge, however, could do with upping its game if it wants to compete with rivals on looks.