Road Warrior

IKEA to Build Budget Hotels: Allen Wrench Not Included


Unlike your college dorm or apartment, your hotel room will come without any assembly required.

Ikea Furniture
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IKEA, best known as the world's largest furniture retailer, plans to build a budget hotel chain across Europe, following a trend for cheap-but-cool accommodations driven by low air fares and increasingly price-conscious business travelers.

Still, don't expect to see IKEA furniture in the rooms, or its name on any of the planned 100 hotels across Germany, Belgium, Britain, Austria, the Netherlands, Scandinavia and Eastern European countries such as Poland.

IKEA's first hotel will most likely open in 2014, and the chain will be run by an international hotel operator.

"'Budget designer hotels' is today the fastest developing hotel segment," Harald Muller, senior executive at the property unit of Inter IKEA, the company that owns the IKEA brand and concept, told Reuters. He sees demand for such stylish yet affordable rooms growing.

As a frequent leisure traveler to Europe, I have to agree. When not redeeming hotel loyalty program points for stays at luxurious properties, my wallet dictates a little more frugality. I still, however, search for respectable yet moderately snazzy hotels.

One of my favorite chains that offers decent rooms and amenities at a price often $150 to $200 less per night than the next level up, is Park Inn. It's a part of Radisson's portfolio of hotels, and my experiences at their European properties are often better than what I find here in the U.S.'s four-star hotels.

I imagine the proposed IKEA-envisioned hotels will be on par with Park Inns and other mid-tier properties. Without, of course, having to use an Allen wrench to put together your own hotel room furniture.

This article contains reporting from Reuters.