LEISURE group Whitbread yesterday unveiled plans to open 40 “compact” hotels, including in Edinburgh, as it targets customers who want cheaper rooms.
The first “Hub by Premier Inn” establishment will open at St Martin’s Lane in London next summer, with a further four sites already secured in the UK capital.
Edinburgh is top of the firm’s hit list for its next wave of hotels, with rooms measuring just 11.4 square metres.
Whitbread – which also owns the Costa coffee shop chain and pubs brands including Beefeater and Brewers Fayre – said each room will have “a desk that folds into the Hypnos pocket-sprung bed, luggage storage under the bed, an en-suite bathroom with power shower, free wi-fi and a 40in smart screen TV”.
Patrick Dempsey, managing director at Whitbread hotels and restaurants, said: “Hub will work in tandem with Premier Inn, appealing to more price-sensitive customers seeking quality accommodation in the heart of a city. It will enable us to broaden our appeal and further strengthen our competitive edge.”
The mini-rooms have been offered at the Premier Inn in Kings Cross, in London, since June 2012, with more than 1,800 customers giving feedback about the facilities, which have now been redesigned seven times.
Requests included fitting a second shower head, on the wall, so that guests didn’t get their hair wet and super-absorbant “micro-fibre” towels.
In March, a report by property agency Colliers International warned that Edinburgh’s budget hotels boom “must be slowed” to prevent the capital’s hotel market becoming unbalanced.
It has been estimated that the number of rooms in “limited service” hotels in the city – such as the Easyhotel on Princes Street and Motel One on Market Street – has rocketed from 890 to more than 3,000 in the past seven years.