Thanks to Hotelchatter and The Observer I came across this new 205 rooms Urban Lodge that will open 1st September, 2006.Opening promotions included rooms for just an amazing one (1) UK pound per night – sold out off course, but the Hoxton site promises more similar promotions for the near future. Normal rates start at UK pound 59 and become higher the nearer to the night of your choice you make your reservation.
The “Pret a Dormir” has been created by the take away sandwich (Pret A Porter) mogul Sinclair Beecham. The breakfast included in the roomrate is a nice “Pret” sandwich.
Everywhere you look in Beecham’s hotel there are no-nonsense feel-good touches: the internet is free, so is the coffee and the mineral water in the bedrooms, and the Pret breakfast left on a hook outside each morning. Instead of a ruinous minibar, you buy wine, champagne, beer and snacks at the reception desk for normal shop prices.
But all this is window-dressing next to the really revolutionary idea: a room pricing system borrowed from the budget airlines….
There’s no denying you get a lot of room for your money. The mattresses are by Hypnos (‘same as at the Metropolitan’, says Beecham), the towels thick and fluffy (‘same as Claridge’s’) and the lighting soft and discreet (‘done by same company as the Schrager hotels’). The TVs are flat screen and swivel so you can watch in bed, the bathrooms small but swanky, with huge shower heads and full-length mirrors.
The corridors on each of the six floors are lit with different coloured lights and there’s lots of exposed metal, giving a slightly unwelcome echo of Beecham’s previous business. The decor isn’t exactly exciting and the lobby’s industrial design – polished concrete floor, exposed bricks, dark wood – is getting slightly passe in this cutting-edge part of London. But let’s be frank: for the money, and compared with Britain’s other mid-range hotels, it’s jaw-droppingly good.