Hotels with five star luxury… at three-star prices
Goodbye trouser presses and pillow chocolates – the ‘lean luxury’ hotel revolution is all about compact, stripped-down style. And it proves...
UNTIL now, visitors to great cities had a harsh choice: costly five-star comfort or a scruffy budget option. Now ‘lean luxury’ hotels are breaking the mould with high-end services at low rates. The key? Ditch fripperies and go for streamlined style. Here are eight hotels setting the pace…
RUBY LOTTI, HAMBURG
LOTTI is the latest example of the luxury lean concept by German brand Ruby Hotels. You won’t find a restaurant, room service or minibars here. Instead, Lotti offers an organic breakfast buffet, and there are galley kitchens on each floor where you can make yourself a hot drink.
There is an artfully cluttered 24-hour cocktail bar, and a library in which to work – appropriate for a building that was once a publishing house. Live music will follow in an indoor/outdoor waterfront bar terrace, while bikes are available to rent for €10 (about £9) a day.
USP: Guests receive tablets and smartphones preloaded with a city guide, useful apps, and unlimited data and calls.
Favourite features: As well as soundproofing, walk-in showers, massive mattresses and pale-hued design, luxury rooms feature Marshall amps – with guitars loaned for free should you fancy a jam.
Book in: Doubles cost from €99 (£88) a night, including breakfast. Ruby Lucy opens on London’s South Bank next autumn. ruby-hotels.com
INTENDED for short city centre stays, Yotels deliver luxury fundamentals in hi-tech bedrooms. Known as cabins, they contain rain showers, ambient lights and smart TVs which can be connected to guests’ devices. Most Yotels, including its Singapore base – the brand’s first Asian residence – feature a 24-hour gym and a lounge. Cute robots Yolanda and Yoshi check in guests and will even deliver your room service order.
USP: Cabins are small but spaceefficient, thanks to whizzy, gelmattress SmartBeds, which shrink into sofas at the touch of a button.
Favourite features: Unlike other Yotels, the one in Singapore contains a slender outdoor pool. Guests can order food or drink from their poolside sunbeds.
Book in: Cabins cost from £96 a night, or slightly less for members of Club Yotel. yotel.com
CITIZENM, AMSTERDAM AND NEW YORK
ABSOLUTELY no trouser presses, bellboys, towel swans or pillow chocolates. That’s the promise of Dutch brand CitizenM, which keeps prices down via its modular concept – every room is identical. But while compact, the rooms still include extra large beds and luxury linen, rain showers, adjustable mood lighting and gaze-worthy wall-towall windows – perfect for taking in those views across Manhattan.
In CitizenM’s classic Amsterdam South base, the humming lobby features an all-day restaurantbar serving sushi and beer.
Expect bright furniture with humorous mottos on them. You check in on computer screens and bikes can be rented for free.
USP: Most CitizenM hotels feature large-scale artworks. On a plaza outside the chain’s just-opened Bowery skyscraper in New York is a 5,000-square-foot mural.
Favourite features: Free movies in each bedroom, playable on TVs via iPads which are provided.
Book in: Rooms cost from €81 (£72) a night in Amsterdam but a more expensive $320 (£250) a night at Bowery. citizenm.com
LIFE HOUSE, MIAMI
LIFE HOUSE promises chic, classy boutique hotels with the emphasis on unexpectedly low prices. The first, Little Havana, opens its doors on December 18 amid Miami’s same-named Hispanic quarter. It’s a ‘tropical mansion’ in which neighbourhood-made art adorns walls, musicians play regular live sets, and local fare is served in the lobby cafe. Every beautiful bedroom, textiled with a faint colonial theme, boast Bluetooth speakers and Le Labo toiletries.
USP: Life House’s own social-media network, which boldly allows guests and (carefully vetted) locals to arrange dinner parties or surf sessions away from the hotel. Members can also meet before sharing high-quality, two-person dorms – with big curtained-off bunks and private bathrooms – from around $50 (about £40) a night.
Favourite features: The buzzy rooftop, packed with plants, houses a cocktail bar and restaurant nattily styled with timber and jade-green tiles, plus a plunge pool.
Book in: Private rooms cost from $107 (£84) a night, although $180 (£140) is more common. lifehousehotels.com
LIFESTYLE is the focus for aparthotel brand Native, which uses interior designers such as Conran, and exclusively renovates iconic city buildings. Its newest hotel is in Glasgow, regenerating the Anchor Line Shipping Company’s former HQ by George Square. Many of the Art Deco structure’s original, opulent features have been retained across 64 studios and penthouses, including terrazzo flooring and attractive timber wall panelling.
USP: Most aparthotels offer little more than the space but Native provides breakfast, and there are two restaurants: a contemporary French bistro with live jazz at weekends, and a seafood specialist in the old first-class booking office.
Favourite features: Big old safes have been cleverly transformed into walk-in wardrobes. Some of
the grand original windows were restored by the same family firm which first fitted them in 1906.
Book in: Apartments cost from £77 a night. nativeplaces.com
MOB HOTEL, PARIS
LOCATED beside Europe’s largest flea market in Les Puces, MOB is less a hotel than a giant social space where one can also sleep in serious comfort – and without spending much. It’s styled as a utopian, polymorphous meeting place for the people; a place of ethical ideals, wellness and relentless cultural exchange. Hence the myriad offerings: a 180-seat farm-to-table restaurant, a music stage, a romantic courtyard with evening film screenings, pop-up stores, a fair-trade fashion school, philosophy lectures, and a meditation cabin.
Spacious rooms typify the eclectic decor – think red velvet bedheads and Chinese puppet toys – although the white-tiled bathrooms do lend a dash of serenity. Bigger doubles afford movie screens and patios. MOB will soon expand across Europe and into the United States.
USP: The strict organic ethos extends to an allotment shared with local residents and businesses.
Favourite features: Two rooftop terraces host various classes – yoga, meditation, tai chi, salsa and so on.
Book in: Doubles cost from €99 (£88) a night. mobhotel.com
MOTTO BY HILTON, LONDON
IN 2020, the first outpost of Hilton’s funky ‘micro-hotel’ brand will open on Marylebone Road, London.
Motto promises small but stylishly minimal rooms, where the lighting, temperature, TV content and blackout shades are all controlled by an app. Sleep kits, including essential oils, further ensure quality slumber. Downstairs a cafebar will serve premium, Londonroasted coffee and food all day.
USP: A split-payment system for large groups, as pioneered by Airbnb, will also be offered.
Favourite features: Flexibility. Motto’s four room options feature a traditional, bed-in-the-middle layout, a pull-down Murphy wall bed, a cool corner-bed option, and a corner bed plus a lofted twin bed – raised, bunk-like, and targeted at families. About a third of the rooms have interconnecting doors, so groups can book in a row.
Book in: Prices will be released soon but Hilton has repeatedly promised affordability. mottobyhilton.com
ALL CHANGE: Beds at Yotel turn into a sofa at the press of a button. Left: The Singapore hotel pool COMPACT: A room at CitizenM’s Bowery site and its bar area, above
TROPICAL MANSION: The rooftop bar at Little House in Miami