First impression: Though it calls its rooms "pods," the sizes look comparable to the average New York City hotel room. Based on a price check, it looks like rates can be a fair amount higher than the advertised lowest rate of $89, though they seem in line with typical New York City hotel prices.
Price check: For the night of November 7, a single room with shared bathroom cost $159, and a double with private bathroom $249.
Locations: Just Birmingham, England, right now, though the coming soon list includes London, New York, and Berlin, among other cities.
The scoop: Designed to "emulate the feel of a luxury yacht cabin," the nitenite hotel in Birmingham strives for an affordable and hip guest experience. All of its 104 guest rooms have en-suite bathrooms, flat-screen televisions, and Wi-Fi. Standard double rooms are just under seven square meters (75 square feet). Rates start at £55 per night.
First impression: Sleek design and soothing lighting makes the rooms seem slightly larger than they are.
Price check: For the night of November 7, rates were £50, even cheaper than the advertised rate.
More modular, or just mod, budget hotels
The modular craze is part of a larger phenomenon of affordable boutique hotels. To the delight of travelers who don't want to choose between affordability and style, hotels offering some combination of modern design, technology-rich rooms, modular layout, and affordability are cropping up all over the place. Here are a few examples of hotels that share one or more of the key characteristics of modular hotels.
In London, you can find affordability, style, and technology at base2stay, which touts itself as a synthesis of boutique and budget hotels. Its "aparthotel" rooms come equipped with mini-kitchens and wired workstations. Rates at this Kensington hotel start at £89 per night. Also in London is the Hoxton Hotel, an "innovative new business hotel" with cheap rates and an emphasis on style.
Big Sleep Hotels in Cardiff, Wales, and Cheltenham, England, dub themselves "design hotels at affordable prices." Rooms in Cardiff start at £58 and suites at £99. Standard rooms in Cheltenham start at £85.
And newcomer CitizenM, which will open its first location at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport in early 2008, will focus on "affordable luxury for the people." CitizenM likens its rooms to those you'd find on a luxury yacht or private jet, placing it more squarely in the module hotel category. Another soon-to-open modular hotel, Christchurch, New Zealand's Hotel SO, will begin welcoming guests in late 2007, and promises flat screen televisions, Wi-Fi, MP3 music player plug-ins, and high-quality bedding at rates from $89 NZ, double occupancy.
Expect to see more of these hotels pop up in cities in the coming years. The combination of good value, appealing design, and high-tech amenities is sure to inspire a following among those willing to sacrifice a little space.