Boutique Hotels on a Budget
(Business 2.0) – A new breed of hotel could be to lodging what JetBlue has become to flying. The cheap-chic hybrid--think Days Inn meets the W--is taking off, the logical next step in an industry whose higher end has been casting off its dowdy look for something a little edgier. "Boutique and hip is very compelling, so demand is trickling down," says Jan Freitag of Smith Travel Research. Here are the three new chains leading the trend. -- MONICA KHEMSUROV
European airline EasyJet is jumping into the hostelry game, booking its first outlet in London this month. The mod orange rooms measure 60 square feet and hold just a bed and a bathroom; no TV, no windows. The prices are also minimalist: from 5 to 60 pounds a night (about $10 to $115).
European restaurant chain Yo Sushi will open its first Yotel in London in 2006. Inspired by British Airways's first-class cabins, the 100-square-foot rooms will cost 70 pounds ($135) a night and have windows facing a central hall (where light adjusts to evoke the time of day) and flat-screen TVs.
EasyHotel and Yotel plan to expand Stateside eventually. But meanwhile, Cambria Suites, a chain from Choice Hotels International, plans to open locations outside Miami and Chicago next year. The $100 utilitarian-moderne rooms will feature separate work areas, plasma TVs, and Wi-Fi.