Is easyHotel now set to enter the Middle East?

Small box-like rooms decorated in garish orange, offering limited services and zero facilities could be the new trend in Middle East hotels.

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By  Sarah Campbell Published  August 31, 2005

Small box-like rooms decorated in garish orange, offering limited services and zero facilities could be the new trend in Middle East hotels. August saw the London opening of the first ever easyHotel, the ultimate budget hotel concept, where hotel rooms cost £20 (US $36) a night. Owned by budget services stalwart the easyGroup, easyHotels are to be introduced to cities across the world, and the Middle East is no exception, according to James Rothnie, director of corporate affairs for easyGroup. easyHotel is designed for city centres where the price of property is high. By getting more rooms into the same available space consumers are being asked to trade off space for a better price. The rooms come in three sizes — small, very small and tiny — or 80, 70 and 60 square feet respectively. The London property offers 34 double rooms, all with double mattresses and a quilt, en-suite bathrooms with towels, air conditioning and pay-as-you-go television at £5 per 24 hours. There is one disabled room and three of the rooms have windows. The three rooms with windows sell at a premium compared to the 30 rooms without windows. Located between South Kensington and Earls Court, easyHotel London has one member of staff permanently on site but no services other than accommodation and no common or public areas other than a manned reception desk. The aim of easyHotel is to provide a safe, clean room for the night with a bathroom en-suite and to fill the gap left between the branded chains of hotels and bed & breakfast accommodation. The hotel is promoted via www.easyhotel.com. The website went live in June and has seen a steady increase in reservations. Prices rise with demand so that the lowest prices have sold out for the periods of popular demand. “So far we have not spent a cent on advertising and yet the hotel is full,” easyGroup’s Rothnie told Hotelier Middle East. “[The product is aimed at] anyone paying out of their own pocket, business people with an eye on budget, those visiting friends and relatives, and tourists,” he said. The easyHotel is owned and operated by the easyGroup. The group is considering growth of the chain through franchise agreements, with the first franchisee already signed up and the first franchised easyHotel set to open in Basel, Switzerland in September. Further expansion is planned, with the Middle East also earmarked to receive the budget brand, according to Rothnie. “All growth will be through franchising,” he revealed.

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