Micro hotel rooms coming soon to Chicago

FOX 32 NEWS - Finding a reasonably priced hotel room in a big city is not easy. But now, more hotel chains are offering micro hotel rooms.

And in the next year, Chicago will have one.

“The whole concept of micro hotels, it didn't start in the U.S., but it's definitely growing here and it's moving into states around the country, very, very quickly too,” said consumer analyst Vera Gibbons.

The micro-hotel trend is taking off in urban cities in response to the changing demands of guests.

One of the pioneers is Arlo, which recently opened its first hotel in lower Manhattan.

The first four-star hotel of its kind, Arlo Hudson Square has rooms that take up just 160 square feet each.

“You need a great bed, a great sleeping experience, a great bath experience, a great shower, you give guests everything they need in 150 or 160 square feet and then you provide these common spaces for community where people they can come together and they can work with the locals, work with other guests, I think is a recipe for success,” said Arlo Hotel managing director Javier Egipiaco.

Arlo uses efficient storage design, including fold-down desks, adjustable wardrobes and smart technology.

Each room features large windows with city views. Some even have an outdoor terrace.

“When our guests check in, they only pay for what they are going to use.  When I travel, I don't like paying for things I'm not going to use.  I want to have an option of consuming something or having an experience, but I want it to be an option not an obligation,” said Quadrum founder and CEO Oleg Pavlov.

Arlo and its micro-hotel concept have some established competition.

The pod brand is credited with launching the tiny hotel room trend in New York. It has two Manhattan locations and a third is coming soon to Brooklyn.

“We've built a product that is in the mid-price point of a hotel market which really covers two thirds of the traveling world who would stay in anywhere between a Days Inn and a Hilton Garden Inn and any of the brands in between and that's the vast majority of the traveling public,” said owner of BD Hotels Richard Born.

Rooms with bunk beds are called 'pods'. They offer travelers a competitive price for compact living.

“If you go into the rooms here, you'll see everything is being built in high quality materials.  Stones, metals, everything is very well designed and very smartly designed and it all fits.  And it's not just the room, it's the whole building,” Born said.

“They're small, they're not for everyone, but they are very functional and they have big sort of communal areas which travelers tend to like,” Gibbons added.

The Arlo and pod brands are betting on the evolving needs of millennials.

The generation is steering towards open areas rather than their private rooms.

Guests can meet for work or play in lobbies transformed into living areas.

“I think it's generally accepted now that this is the environment in which people can really get things done. You know, feel relaxed, get out of the office,” Egipiaco said.

Watch for a pod hotel popping up soon in Washington, D.C. Talks for locations in Miami and Los Angeles are also underway.

Marriott is opening ten Moxy Hotels next year in major cities, including Chicago.

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