Motel One was founded in 2000 and is headquartered in Munich, Germany. It operates 65 hotels in Germany, Austria, Great Britain, Belgium, The Netherlands, Switzerland, the Czech Republic, Spain and France. It focuses on city locations, and has a pipeline of a further 30 hotels. The second half of this year will see new openings in Glasgow, Bonn, Frankfurt, Leipzig, Cologne and Munich. Motel One Glasgow will be the brand‘s seventh opening in the UK, and the largest hotel in Scotland at 374 rooms.
What’s it like?
The hotel’s main building is set back a little from the street so you enter the glass-fronted, one storey One Lounge bar and restaurant. Towards the rear of this is the reception desk. The place was sort of half lounge / half bar, and was a good introduction to not only the hotel but the brand, if you haven’t come across it before.
I arrived after 10pm on a Monday evening and the bar was busy without being hectic or noisy. The receptionist told me the bar was open 24 hours a day, that breakfast was included and explained where the code for the free wifi was written (on a slip pf paper in the cardboard sleeve for the room key card.
Where is it?
Just 500 metres north of Tower Hill underground station on Minories, a well-known street running north / south.
Among the 291 rooms there are several room categories on floors from 1 up to 15, but although these have different configurations and different number of beds (double or twin) they are all the same size (16 sqm). Typically the brand only has one size of room and one price, but because some of the rooms in this property have such good views, they have introduced different price bands, with the higher floors having the best views, particularly those facing west towards the cluster of high rise buildings such as the Cheesegrater, the Gherkin, the Walkie Talkie and, from this angle, the Shard on the south side of the river (the picture I took from my room is at the top of this piece).
The entry level rooms is the King Room which is 16 sqm and moving up through the floors and the price range to those with the best views (the corner rooms on high floors) this size remains constant, though the shape differs depending on where you are in the building.
My corner room on the 12th floor had three, floor to ceiling windows, with good blackout curtains so I wasn’t disturbed by any light but also had great views in the morning. The room was larger than many I’ve stayed in at this price point, with a small desk, though you’d probably struggle to work for very long sitting on that stool and even a comfy lounge chair – this is where I sat to work, with my feet on the stool. Perhaps because there were so many windows, the Loewe TV was above the desk and so was difficult to watch from the bed – not a problem since I was either working, asleep, or staring out of the window at the dawn over London.
The room had tea and coffee making along with a kettle, and a complimentary bottle of water. This comes with membership of the brands ‘beone’ loyalty programme (it calls itself a membership programme). This offers a free breakfast on joining, the water and a free late check-out on Sundays. Since it’s free to join, if you are thinking about staying with them again, it’s worth the small amount of effort.
The bed was good and firm, the air conditioning ferociously effective and there were plug points everywhere including by the bed. The lighting is good and bright when it’s needed, and can be completely turned off from the bed, leaving only the reading lamp which is set into the wooden effect backboard to the bed.
Food and drink
The One Lounge, the decoration of which is inspired by the nearby Tower of London, is open 24 hours a day, and serves toasties and snacks, and then a continental breakfast in the morning (prices at £9.95. The area is full of seating better suited for relaxing and drinking than eating, but is a comfortable and friendly space, and when I walked through in the evening there were plenty of single business travellers reading or relaxing. The breakfast choice was limited, but of good quality.
I had a look at the bar menu which has a very good range of drinks including a whole list of local (or at least UK) gins. Apparently in Edinburgh you get a wider range of whiskies and so on…
Business and meeting facilities
Really good value for money with a lead-in price of £119, though note that the hotel has a minimum 2-night stay for Tuesday, Wednesdays and Saturdays. These are larger than expected rooms and it’s in a great location in the City.
Motel One London-Tower Hill, 24-26 Minories, EC3N1BQ