Premier Inn unveils no-frills hotel brand with pod-style rooms

Irving Hamilton
October 22, 2018

Whitbread will unveil a new "no-frills" version of its Premier Inn brand today as it seeks to boost its hotel business after it sells Costa Coffee. As long as they don't mind it being in Cardiff and sleeping on something akin to a glorified sun lounger.

Zip properties will located on the outskirts of major towns and cities a differentiator to Hub hotels, which are in city centers. All rooms have a 1980s caravan holiday aesthetic, but at least there's a plug socket near the end of the bed where your exhausted old head is propped up, along with free Wi-Fi (with a 1GB daily limit and certain device restrictions) if you're in the windowless basement where the local mobile network fails to penetrate.

The first Zip by Premier Inn hotel opens in the Roath area of Cardiff early next year and will have 138 rooms sized 8.5 sq m including a bathroom.

Each room has a small en-suite bathroom with a power shower and towel and a 24-inch television on the wall. Whitbread has secured a second site in Southampton, where 140 rooms are planned.

The Zip rooms have been created by Priestmangoode, the design consultancy behind first-class cabins for airlines including Air France, Lufthansa and Swiss.

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Alison Brittain, Whitbread chief executive, said Zip would let the company access a wider range of customers, including those who are "on a particularly tight budget but still expect and deserve the basics done brilliantly".

The move brings Whitbread's hotel brands to three, the other two being Premier Inn and Hub by Premier Inn.

'We will continue to learn from our customers as they experience the product and will evolve and innovate the concept as we open more Zip hotels'.

The Yotel chain also offers compact pod-style rooms in New York, Boston and Singapore city centres, as well as Gatwick, Heathrow, Charles de Gaulle and Schiphol airports at considerably higher prices.

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