Sit by the virtual fire at the Edinburgh-Royal
Sit by the virtual fire at the Edinburgh-Royal
Verena Wolff

The hotel’s location is practical, in one of the most sought-after areas of Edinburgh: just steps away from the railroad station, with the Old Town and Princes Street shopping only close by.

Old and imposing on the outside, inside it’s all modern, minimalist, and even a little Scottish. Chairs in the reception area are upholstered in a brown and turquoise tartan, and sheepskins have been thrown casually on the deep-set window seats.

Not only is it centrally located and chic — at just 70 euros a night, it’s also inexpensive. The Royal Hotel is one of German hotel chain Motel One’s most recent new venues. The chain, which opened its first hotel in 2000, is one of many populating the the so-called budget hotel market.

According to the German Hotel Association (IHA), the biggest player on the German market is Ibis, which is regarded as a budget hotel forerunners. Its first, in Berlin, dates back to 1982.

Since then, its French parent company Accor has changed what were formerly All-Seasons, Etap and Formule-1 hotels into Ibis Styles and Budget properties, and there are some 200 of them in Germany, most with clean, modern designs.

“This market segment still has huge growth potential,” says German Hotel Association spokesman Christopher Lück. And Munich-based hotel consultants PFK expect that the number of inexpensive hotels in Germany could rise 30% to 40% over the next few years.

“We get both vacationioners and business travelers,” says Oliver Goslich, sales manager for B&B Hotels in Germany. The chain was founded in 1990 in France and opened its first German hotel eight years later. The chain runs 200 hotels in France, 61 in Germany, 14 in Italy, three in Poland, two in Portugal, one in Morocco, and one in the Czech Republic.

If Motel One is loyal to its signature colors — brown and turquoise — B&B hotels are recognizable by their very vivid colors and their rooms’ chic wallpaper that features local-specific imagery. “That way, you know where you are,” says Goslich.

But Motel One and the B&B hotels have one thing in common: Aside from locations with easy access for all types of transportation, the decoration is simple but chic, wifi is available free, and parking is generally free. At Motel One, prices run between 49 and 69 euros per night. “During expos and other events, there are extra charges of 20, 50 or 70 euros per room depending on the event and the city," says spokesperson Ursula Schelle-Müller.

B&B Hotels also have clear and simple pricing, with singles equipped with French beds (bigger than twins, smaller than doubles) costing between 49 and 54 euros, “and marginally more during expos,” says Goslich.

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