New hotels in the UK and Ireland – 31 May 2007

Holidaymakers in the UK have never had such a choice of places to stay, according to business consultancy PKF, publisher of accommodation guide, Hotel Britain 2007.

“We’re seeing true innovation in the industry with the introduction of new hotel concepts,” said PKF hotel consultancy services partner Robert Barnard. “Hotel customers can choose from a broader range of room types and that trend is set to continue,” he said.

The report noted a dramatic rise in 2006 in the number of branded budget hotel rooms, which made up 80% of the additional 3,600 rooms added in the UK last year.

“As competition intensifies, product differentiation is increasing, with new brands ranging from luxury, functional and affordable products,” said Barnard.

The report also said the number of four and five-star properties is increasing, particularly in London, Edinburgh and Glasgow, scheduled mainly for 2008/09 openings.

The question is which is right for your clients? If you’re in need of inspiration, take a look at what’s new.


A bed and a bit more

Etap Hotel Leeds

Lowdown: Opened in March 2007 as part of Accor’s new budget brand.

Check out: 218 identical en suite rooms, sleeping up to three people in a double and single bunk bed. All rooms have a chair, desk, TV, radio and air conditioning. Snacks are available from self-service chiller cabinets and guests can fill up at the continental breakfast buffet for as little as £2.95.

Check in: Located 12 miles from the international airport and a five-minute walk from the city centre, this hotel is ideal for partygoers or for travellers dashing off for an early-morning flight.

Book it: Rooms are available this summer from £32.

Sleeperz, Cambridge

Lowdown: Although this property opened in 2000, we’ll be hearing more from Sleeperz following an announcement in April pinpointing a site next to Cardiff central railway station for its next 74-room property. The hotel is expected to open in May 2008. Manchester is the next link in the chain with 91 rooms from October 2008.

Check out: 20 twin rooms, described as Ikea-style (with little more than a set of bunk beds and a TV, this is minimalist). All rooms are en suite and, as the website states, ‘fully-tiled’. Also has five double rooms on the ground floor.

Check in: Ideal for Cambridge tourists on a budget, the hotel is a 15-minute walk from the centre and 75 metres from the railway station.

Book it: Singles £39 twin £49 and doubles £59, including breakfast.


Business first

Europa Hotel, Belfast

Europa Hotel, BelfastLowdown: The four-star hotel is undergoing a £3 million upgrade, scheduled to be finished in October.

Check out: All 240 bedrooms, including 56 executive suites, were refurbished and have flat-screen digital TVs with wi-fi access.

Although the rooms are very businesslike, designer touches have been added with the Ralph Lauren fabrics. However, business travellers are more likely to appreciate the superior soundproofing and, proving a rarity these days, an iron and ironing board in each room.

The hotel has a formal Piano Bar Restaurant, a more relaxed Brasserie and a casual Lobby Bar. The property has 16 conference and banqueting suites and a business centre comprising nine executive meeting rooms.

Check in: Business travellers wanting extensive meeting facilities in the heart of the city.

Book it: Rooms are available this summer from £110 bed and breakfast.


Cheap and chic

Hoxton Hotel, Shoreditch

Hoxton Hotel, ShoreditchLowdown: Opened in September 2006 to rave reviews. Sinclair Beecham, co-founder of the sandwich chain Pret a Manger, is the main investor.

Check out: This self-proclaimed urban lodge with 20 twin rooms and 185 doubles, boasts “luxury at budget prices”. The luxury factor is apparent with the Frette linen, duck down duvets, power showers, flat-screen TVs and funky decor.

The value for money is reflected not only with its tariffs but also with the free wi-fi, UK call rates at 3p a minute, unlimited movies for just £7.50 a day, fresh milk and water in the fridge and Lite Pret breakfast delivered to your room.

The hotel also boasts the Hoxton Grille, a “French bistro with a New York vibe”.

Check in: Urban warriors – in other words, anyone wanting to explore the capital’s sights and the plethora of bars in this trendy area.

Book it: Rooms are available this summer from a paltry £1 – although you have to be quick to secure this offer advertised on the hotel’s website. On average, rooms lead in at £59.


Chic boutiques and five-star plus

Haymarket Hotel, London

Haymarket Hotel, LondonLowdown: Opened in May as the seventh property in the Firmdale Hotels collection.

Check out: This dramatic 19th-century building has been converted into a contemporary, yet classical, hotel with 50 sumptuous bedrooms and suites, plus a five-bedroom townhouse. All rooms are different and feature wireless Internet and granite and oak bathrooms.

Decked in rich fabrics, comfy armchairs and antiques, guests can relax in a homely environment in the drawing room or conservatory – complete with honour bar. The hotel also features the Brumus bar and restaurant serving northern Italian cuisine.

Unusually for a London hotel, it also has an 18-metre swimming pool.

Check in: Well-heeled tourists and theatre-goers wanting to soak up the London sights in the knowledge that they have a central and luxury bolthole to return to when they get weary.

Book it: Rooms are available this summer from £245.

The Shelbourne, Dublin

Lowdown: This Renaissance hotel reopened in March 2007 following a two-year restoration.

Check out: The Grande Dame of St Stephens Green in Dublin. It was here that the Irish Constitution was drafted in 1922. Boasting 265 rooms and 19 suites in which marble bathrooms, Egyptian cotton sheets and fluffy bathrobes come as standard.

In addition to the popular Horseshoe Bar and Lord Mayor’s Lounge, the hotel has a new bar, Number 27, and The Saddle Room, a modern steak and seafood restaurant. A luxurious spa is scheduled to open at the end of the year.

Check in: Discerning guests who want a central location and those who appreciate historic splendor.

Book it: The Luxury Queen room is available this summer from £181.

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