Tune Hotels open in London

The Malaysian company Tune Hotels is getting ready to open their first hotel outside Asia with the Tune Westminster in London.  As part of the promotion anybody named “Penny” will be able to book a room for the cost of just one English penny.

Tune Hotels are a new concept.  Their positioning statement is that they have “five star beds at a one star price”.  The thinking behind Tune Hotels is that many travellers are budget conscious, and are really only interested in a comfortable bed and a good shower when travelling, and really don’t require many of the facilities that are offered by hotels that are graded three star and above.

They charge a really low price, typically from 10 Ringgit (the Malaysian currency) per night for a stay in any of their seven Malaysian hotels.  Tune is the hotel equivalent of the no frills airline, which is not surprising, as Tune is owned by the Malaysian no frills airline Air Asia.

Like no frills airlines, if you want any extras when you stay at a Tune Hotel then you pay for it.  For instance, if you want a towel, you pay for it (about 5 Ringgit), for air-conditioning you buy it in 12-hour lots (if you leave your room, you simply switch it off and your air-con time resumes when you switch it back on, so that you pay for 12 hour use of the air-con not 12 hours availability of air-con). The same applies for Wi-Fi and hair dryer, if you wish to use it, you pay for it.

What’s the catch?  I hear you query.  You are quite right, there is a catch.  For a starter, the rooms are ridiculously, infinitesimally small.  Each room comprises a bedroom and a bathroom.  Within the bedroom there is hardly enough room for you and your luggage, and there is no place to put your luggage either than on the bed or on the floor.  The bedroom is very basic, no TV, tea or coffee making facilities, telephone, radios or mini bar.  The bathroom contains a shower, a toilet and a small hand basin, and it too is compact.  This denial of space is one, very good, reason why Tune Hotels are so affordable – they can cram a hell of a lot more rooms into a building, and in real estate, particularly if that real estate is near airports or in the central city, space is very expensive.  By cutting down on an occupier’s space, Tune Hotels is saving you money.

Having stayed in the Tune near Kuala Lumpur’s Low Cost Carrier Terminal I can attest that they deliver on what they promise.  The bed is very comfortable, and the shower was fantastic.

There is no room service at a Tune Hotel, but the rooms are kept clean.  They don’t spend money on facilities such as pools or gyms, but then a Tune Hotel is not really designed for its guests to hang around in.  The idea is that you get out and about and instead of spending all day in your room, do the tourist thing and explore whatever city you are staying in.

As far as food and beverage is concerned, not all hotels have restaurants attached to them.  Some do, others have a seven eleven or similar on site, so that you can purchase basic food, drinks and other supplies.

Tune Hotels like to cut out the middle man so you can book and pay online, but if you don’t turn up, they don’t offer a refund.

From my experience, Tune Hotels are good if you are looking at a short stay, say overnight between connecting flights, or you intend for your time to be fully occupied and will be using your room only for sleeping.  I wouldn’t use Tune if I was planning for an extended stay, but would book a standard hotel instead so that I could use the additional features you find in them.

To sum up, Tune is obviously undergoing an expansion phase as they open up more properties.  It is a good concept for people who only wish to stay somewhere overnight but want the luxury of a comfortable bed and good shower.  The low price does mean they are well valued for what you get, and they charge reasonable fees for any extras that you would want.  Would I recommend them for an extended stay? No.  Tune Hotels may be ridiculously cheap, but they are also ridiculously confining, and I would need more space and more facilities to even consider booking for more than an overnight stay.

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