EasyHotel to offer 'capsule' rooms for just £5 a night

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The Independent Online

There is no television or mini-bar and barely space to swing a cat but the bijou rooms in a chain of hotels launched yesterday are expected to appeal to devotees of "no frills" living.

There is no television or mini-bar and barely space to swing a cat but the bijou rooms in a chain of hotels launched yesterday are expected to appeal to devotees of "no frills" living.

The entrepreneurs behind easyJet, a pioneer of low-cost air travel and car hire, are applying the same concept to city centre hotels, and they will charge as little as £5 for an overnight stay in London.

Backpackers, self-employed business people and families venturing into the city for a night at the theatre are all in the target market.

EasyGroup are about to embark on the refurbishment of a four-storey Georgian terrace in Kensington, west London, as the first in the chain. Further hotels are planned in city centres across Britain with plans to extend the concept to New York, Paris and Barcelona.

The prototype room in a warehouse in Romford, Essex, is being shown to fitters with a brief to produce the finished article at a budget of £10,000 per room.

EasyGroup said the idea is a hybrid version of low-cost motels in France such as Formule 1 and Etape and the Japanese "capsule hotels".

James Rothnie, a spokesman for easyGroup, said: "This is a challenge to the B&Bs. It is for anyone who does not travel on a corporate card. We are convinced there is a gap in the market for branded budget hotels where the consumer can be guaranteed of safety and a clean bed, though not much more."

Developers for the group are scouring city centres for hotels of a dozen rooms or so which will be converted to 25 to 30 units to be run under a franchise system.

Each room will be built of moulded plastic and will measure 9ft by 10ft, some windowless. Guests will get a raised double futon with clean sheets and a duvet, a shower, wash-basin with a mirror, a rack for hanging clothes and a lavatory complete with toilet paper.

Telephones and televisions will not be included, nor will there be any pictures on the wall or carpet on the floor. Guests will have to bring their own towels and toiletries and there will be an extra charge to have the room serviced during the day.

With all the space taken up by rooms, there will be no restaurant or reception, although a live-in concierge will handle security and emergencies.

Early bookers get the best prices and the average price per room will be £30 - the break-even rate - and £50 or £60 for the last beds.

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