The new Easyhotel is the fourth property to open in London under the budget brand, and the first to be located near Easyjet’s headquarters in Luton.
Located less than a minute from the station and a £4 taxi ride from the airport, the 58-room property continues the concept of offering budget travellers a “clean, consistent environment, comfortable beds and modern en suite shower rooms”, while charging extra for “frills” such as TV, towel changes, internet access and luggage storage.
Easyhotel’s chairman and serial entrepreneur, Stelios Haji-loannou, was there to cut the orange ribbon marking the official opening on April 23. He said: “I think a lot of people will use this hotel for an early flight. People drive three, four, five hours to fly from Luton and may not want to do it in the middle of the night. Now they can get here the night before, get some sleep, get up at 4am or 5am, and catch the 6am flight.”
The new property, owned and operated by Eclipse Hotels, is a good example of how budget accommodation offers carbon-conscious travellers a greener alternative. Stelios said: “Whichever way you look at it, Easyhotels use less of the world’s resources: less air conditioning, less heating, less lighting, fewer towels to wash…”
Rooms at the hotel are divided into four categories: small and standard, with windows or without. Stelios – who had in a windowless room the night before, paying the introductory rate of £19.95 “like any other customer”, said: “Windowless rooms are fine if we are talking about a short stay and you are not claustrophobic, but it depends on who you are. In Britain in summer the sun comes up quite early, so if you don’t want to be disturbed, a windowless room is lovely.”
Wifi internet access is available throughout the hotel and there is a “Kiosk” downstairs with several PCs. Stelios said: “I use the Kiosk or my Blackberry, it’s the only thing I carry when I travel. For the attachments I can’t read on that, I just log on to a PC.”
Stelios also spoke of his ambitious plans to expand the Easyhotel chain. He said: “We aim to open 80 hotels within three years. This time last year we had two Easyhotels, this is number seven [there are a further three properties in Basel, Zurich and Budapest], and they’re already constructing Heathrow, number eight.” The Easyhotel Heathrow is due to open in August this year, and will also be managed by Eclipse Hotels.
Lawrence Alexander, CEO of Easyhotel Ltd, added that plans are underway to expand into the Middle East, with three properties expected to open in Dubai by June 2009. The rooms will, however, be larger (15.6 sqm) because of standards imposed by the tourist board.
For more information visit easyhotel.com.
Report by Jenny Southan