Demand in the economy segment is increasing. So the InterContinental Hotel Group (IHG) is pushing forward with the development of the Holiday Inn Express division. There are already 2088 hotels bearing the brand worldwide, with a further 473 in preparation.Anthony Stein, Director of Operations with hotel operators Foremost Hospitality HIEX, says: “Holiday Inn Express has existed in Europe since 1999. Since then, there have already been three generations of hotel.”
“Basically the concept for Holiday Inn Express Hotels is designed for new builds”, explains Martin Rühlemann, Technical Project Development Officer at land administration and financial services providers Westfälische Grundbesitz und Finanzverwaltung – WFG. However, IHG has now opened a hotel in the spring of this year in a building which had previously served other purposes.
When hotel developers WFG opened the building in the autumn of 2008, it was an apartment and office block. 77% of the office space stood empty. In the light of its favourable location near to the main railway station, the pedestrian precinct and the banking quarter, it nevertheless had potential.The maisonette flats in the top storey have been retained. That part of the building that was previously given over to commercial units is now a premium economy hotel. Rühlemann comments: “Premium is the up-market economy concept. When they first step into the hotel, guests are aware of a more sophisticated level of design than in economy hotels. The quality of the materials strikes you immediately.”
To go with it: a restaurant equipped with designer furniture, a bar open 24/7 and 116 rooms that are all larger than is generally the case in this category. Rühlemann explains: “We have gone away from the usual room sizes because of the existing building. In the economy sector, rooms typically measure around 17 square metres and, in the premium sector, around 21 square metres. Here in Frankfurt we have some rooms at 25 and others at 28 square metres.”
Furnishings reflect the third generation of design, which IHG introduced in 2009 with its Holiday Inn Express Hamburg City Centre in a former tax office building. Previously it was oranges and reds that had predominated. For the present generation, rugs, bedcovers and seating are now dark blue or purple. Nowadays, the feature wall is dark brown and walnut effects are used for the furniture. In addition, deeper mattresses and a wide choice of different sorts of pillow offer greater comfort when sleeping.”We built the second Holiday Inn Express to be authorised as a refurbishment by IHG here – following on from Hamburg City Centre – because of the micro-situation and the specific attributes of the building,” says Rühlemann.
Copyright: all pictures WGF AG