One of the world’s biggest hotel chains is about to go small. Beginning in 2019, Hilton Hotels & Resorts will launch a series of urban micro-hotels under the new brand Motto by Hilton. With initial plans to open in New York, London, Dublin, Lima, and Dallas, among other cities, the new chain will prioritize affordability, efficiency, and flexibility.
The idea mainly stems from the growing popularity of boutique lifestyle hostels (think Freehand, CitizenM), which have been resonating with travelers thanks to their prime locations and ability to foster a community vibe — both among guests and in the context of the neighborhood at large. “You feel like you’re a part of something,” said Hilton vice president and global head of Motto Tripp McLaughlin. “At the same time, you’re only paying for the things you really care about.”
Motto hotels will have 175 rooms on average, with four different layouts available. The standard format will be fairly traditional with a bed in the middle of one wall and a bathroom area with a sink, vanity, and shower, while a riff on that type will move the bed to the corner for a more open feel. The third integrates a Murphy bed, which allows for a couch and lounging area, and the fourth (dubbed a “bunky”) lofts a twin bed above the corner bed to accommodate three people. Given the locations in busy cities, rooms will incorporate features designed to promote a good night’s rest (sound-dampening materials in walls, blackout curtains), as well as amenity kits with sleep masks and essential oils.
To give guests the option of booking multiple adjoining rooms — a particularly popular choice among groups of friends traveling together — about 30 percent of rooms in Motto hotels will be interconnected. Ultimately, Hilton aims to allow guests to divvy up payments and confirm the connected rooms during the booking process.
The lobby area, dubbed Motto Commons, will function as a cafe during the day and serve food and drink from local purveyors. At night, the commons will become a bar. Other social spaces will draw inspiration from the neighborhood and city. “One might have a 200-seat whiskey lounge,” said McLaughlin. “Another might have a rooftop bar with a taco truck.”
A majority of the properties will have a fitness center, but in some cases, guests might be better served by the hotel partnering with local boutique fitness studios or a company that creates running trails. Pricing for hotels is to be announced, but McLaughlin said that it will be based on market rate for each city.