Tomorrow (September 1) sees the opening of The Hoxton Urban Lodge, billed as the Square Mile's first "luxury budget" hotel.
Created by Sinclair Beecham, co-founder of the Pret a Manger sandwich shops, the hotel is located on Great Eastern Street, a few minutes walk from Old Street underground station, and comprises 205 rooms (185 doubles and 20 twins).
Rates start at £59 (Friday – Sunday), and £119 (Monday – Thursday), and all rooms include air-conditioning, a flat screen TV, desk, sofa, tea and coffee (with fresh milk), mineral water, as well as Frette linen and duck down duvets. Rather than installing a minibar the hotel has opted for an empty fridge in each room, with a shop in the lobby area serving goods at "regular retail prices".
Business travellers will be attracted by the complimentary wifi internet access throughout the hotel, and in-room telephone rates of 3p per minute to the UK and 5p per minute to the US. There is no room service, but the Hoxton Grille serves French/American inspired dishes, and guests will also find a complimentary "Lite" breakfast of a banana, orange juice and yoghurt hanging on their bedroom door handle each morning (supplied by Pret a Manger of course).
Business facilities include five meeting rooms and two private dining areas, as well as "private offices" which can be hired by the day (10am – 4pm), from an initial rate of £19 per day.
The opening of the Hoxton Urban Lodge follows the announcement earlier this year by the Yo! Group of two budget "business class" hotels to be opened in early 2007, one inside London Heathrow's Terminal 4, and the other at Gatwick's South Terminal. The Yotels promise to follow a similar trend of providing luxury amenities such as flat screen TVs, mp3 player docking ports and free internet access at budget prices starting from £40 per night (although the Yotel "cabins" will measure just 10.5 sqm). For more information visit yotel.com.
Hoxton Urban Lodge
81 Great Eastern Street
+44 (0)207 550 1000
Report by Mark Caswell