When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. So the saying goes. Apparently the travel industry is following suit, and doing a little squeezing of its own for the budget-constrained, on-the-go traveler who doesn’t mind a bit of pre-fab construction.
Pop-up hotels have been well, popping-up all over the world for a couple of years now, most recently in Europe. According to a recent report on travel trends in 2010 and beyond from Euromonitor International, pop-up hotels are stacked up to become a major tourism phenom. The key advantage is the ability to quickly provision portable and affordable hotel rooms in conjunction with longer-term events and festivals. Not surprisingly, the rooms are small, though efficiently laid-out. The decor – urbane chic – sleek and spare – Ikea meets modern prison cell. In the best possible way.
London will get its first pop-up hotel in Spring 2010 in the form of uber cool and luxurious M-Hotel, designed by UK architect Tim Pyne, whose construction concept is frequently likened to snapping Lego blocks together. “The hotel can go up – and be taken down – in three days,” says Pyne. “Each room concertinas down into a shipping container, so they can be easily transported by rail or road.” Other advantages? “The M-hotel concept can explore the opportunities to construct hotels in underdeveloped areas and can also be relocated around the world,” says Pyne. Design-wise, M-Hotel rooms are chic and well-laid out – interior walls can even be moved to create a bigger room or conference space.
Other chains are quickly setting themselves up to be players in the porta-tourism space. In the UK, Travelodge has already launched its Travelpod and plans to build nearly 40 hotels a year by 2020, half of which are expected to be pop-up. At about £29 a night, there’s money left over to buy a nice bottle of wine, unfold a paper wine glass and medicate yourself through the inevitable claustrophobia of spending a night in a box, albeit a fabulously hip and eco-chic one. Hmmm.