Wow effects on a low budget

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All rooms at the Hamburger Prizeotels bear the exalted signature of star designer Karim Rashid, guest at Heimtextil 2015.

Frequent travellers are often irritated by those faceless hotel blocks that have nothing but barren interiors to offer instead of a superbly inspiring atmosphere. A new generation of budget hotels is taking a different approach and is offering cool interior design at low cost. By using clever design strategies, they are rapidly gaining shares of the market. A start has been made by chains like B&B and Motel One, which are making their mark with consistent concepts and low prices.

Motel One, founded 14 years ago by hotelier and entrepreneur Dieter Müller, now offers accommodation in Germany, Austria, Belgium and the UK, with 50 hotels in all. And the chain plans to expand even further. Switzerland and Spain are next on the agenda. The plan is to extend the European network to 74 locations by 2017. The turquoise-coloured ‘Egg Chair’ by Arne Jacobsen has long since established itself as the visual figurehead for the appealing CI of the low-budget lodgings.

Ikea has also been investing very recently in hotel properties. Under the ‘Moxy’ label, which is operated by Marriott, the first hotels are all set for launch. Milan was the first, with Munich, Frankfurt and Berlin to follow. The plan is to have up to 150 hotels right across Europe. The target group: younger and trend-oriented people with an affinity for new technologies who are looking for affordable overnight accommodation.

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The rooms of the Prizeotels provide many surprises on a small area.

This is also provided by Prizeotel, a further low-price hotel in the two-star segment, which opened its first location in Bremen in 2009. Now there is a second hotel in Hamburg, which has been attracting guests for several months. Here the design is responsible for the tremendous ‘wow’ effects. The New York star designer Karim Rashid – who will be guest at Heimtextil 2015 to present a new collection for Grund – was specially commissioned for the task. He has left his unmistakable imprint on both properties. For him, this was a fantastic challenge, as he explains in his interview. “Design does not have to be elitist and expensive. You can also do something really cool on a very tight budget, and, believe me, this one was extremely tight. I’m absolutely convinced of this. Everyone should be able to afford a design hotel.”

In the Prizeotel rooms, each of them 16 square metres in area, there is a comfortable bed 180 cm wide with high-quality bed linen, free WLAN, flat-screen TV with an HDMI connection plus a ‘MusicLamp’, which is a lamp and a radio at the same time. The carpets and wallpapers (from Marburger) both bear the exalted handwriting of the enfant terrible of the design scene. You simply have to like it. There is nothing boring about it, and that’s guaranteed. And, says Rashid, “as a guest, you can’t knock into anything anywhere in my hotel rooms, because all the edges, whether on the bed frame or the desk, are softly rounded”.

Behind the innovative overall concept are Bremen’s Marco Nussbaum, expert for new hotel concepts and formerly managing director of the Astron Hotel group, and the real estate economist Dr. Matthias Zimmermann, managing partner of Weser-Wohnbau and Zimmermann Real Estate. They entered the scene with the aim of “being, in the medium term, the most unconventional budget-design hotel chain and qualitative leader with a presence in Germany’s core markets”. In Hanover, by the middle of 2015, the next Prizeotel will leave its guests in awe and astonishment.

Heike Gessulat

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