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Motel One: A not-so-soulless hotel chain?

The review section is starting to look a little sad, so I thought I would try to add something. So let's go with the topic of Motel One.

I really like this Munich-based hotel chain. RS has won me over to trying to stay at charming, atmospheric, locally-owned inns and B&Bs, but for a quick visit to a city, Motel One has always provided a reliably great stay. I've spent at least one night at locations in London, Berlin, Vienna, Stuttgart, Bremen, and Leipzig.

The hotels have small, uniform rooms with limited space for luggage (so not for travelers who like to bring large bags), but the rooms do have some flare that make them feel stylish. Common areas on the ground floor are great -- full of atmosphere and often themed to the city. The bar serves limited food (snacks, not meals). The breakfast buffet has a nice diversity of offerings (at least pre-COVID-19) and is definitely very German in character (even in London).

The price is generally below 100 euro per night. I have always felt good about the Preis-Leistungsverhältnis (price-value ratio) after a stay. Finally, the hotel feels German, which is nice. I have stayed in US hotel chains in Europe 2-3 times; those always feel like I'm staying in a soulless US hotel. I like that the Motel One locations do not feel that way.

Posted by
1235 posts

I'm not going to win a RS good conduct medal. I don’t pack light, never wear a money belt, know I'm not a local and I like "soulless" hotel chains. I enjoy the certainty of what you'll get, the assurance the plumbing works (usually), and
in particular that there is no pretence you're staying as some much-loved friend of the family (but still a paying one, mind).

I agree Motel One are fine. In England, Premier Inn are better. H10 is okay in Spain (and a few other destinations).

Posted by
1567 posts

I am a fan of Motel One. I've tried not to be, because clearly they are predictable. But in numerous cities, I've found that I just cannot beat the location for the price. And for me - single traveler, spending very little time near my room - the most valuable thing they offer is in minutes-to-destinations in a safe, central location. I can usually drop back in to my room quickly to take a break or change for the evening's activity.

Prague - perhaps a 10 minute walk to the center, 5 minutes to Namasti Republiky, but very convenient to the metro, bus station and tram lines; right next door to an ATM and a grocery store.

Vienna - the Motel One Wien-Staatsoper is a block and a few steps from the Opera House, even closer to a Ringstrasse tram stop.

Dresden - immediately adjacent to the Ferris wheel, which overlooks Zwinger Palace, a 3-5 minute walk; 2 minutes to a tram stop that takes you directly to the train station.

Warsaw - I didn't get to stay in this one, but had planned to for my 8 nights. Again, I just couldn't beat the location, even though it's not near the Old Town, it was centrally located for my sightseeing.

I also love that they typically have great storage space. My favorites are those that have USB ports next to the bed, though not all do.

Big fan!!

Posted by
853 posts

Another fan here. It's my default hotel when I'm back in Munich (or Frankfurt or Dresden now). The rooms are clean and simple but the common areas are where they shine, each one different and unique to the location.

DJ

Posted by
2041 posts

Nick,

Reading between the lines of your post, I agree with what your unspoken message is... there's no right way to travel. Glad you have a style that works for you!

Posted by
2577 posts

A huge fan of the Motel One. I especially like when the hotel plays up the local vibe in it’s common areas’ artwork and furnishings. They really strive for location, location, location and so do we. We can also count on a highly functional, clean room with AC in the summer. Their breakfasts are very locally sourced and affordable.

Posted by
350 posts

In Munich the Sendlinger Tor location is really good, nice central location, price was iirc about 10 euros a night higher than their other Munich locations, but well worth it for those visiting Munich for the usual sights. It is in that nice sweet spot of mid level price range with solid quality.

Posted by
1281 posts

This has never made it on to my radar at all, so I guess I should thank everyone who chimed in to give it a thumbs up.

Dave et al, could you expand a little bit on what you mean by saying these hotels 'feel German'?

I find myself holding my tongue, honestly.

Posted by
2041 posts

I guess I was the only one that mentioned the chain feeling German to me. I'm comparing to staying at US chains in Europe, which I've done a handful of times.

The US chains at a similar (or higher) price point where I have stayed had the same repetitive decor in their lobbies and rooms that they have in the US. Motel one has decor in rooms that is repetitive and utilitarian but comfortable and with some style -- especially the bathrooms, which are "Eurocool," as I like to say; the fireplace on the tv in the winter (or, less so, the aquarium in the summer) further builds a sense of gemütlichkeit. Ground floor common areas are often themed to the location; in Leipzig for example, I stayed at the Motel One Nikolaikirche, which is steps away from the church that held Monday prayers for peace that evolved into Monday demonstrations that contributed to the end of the DDR; the ground floor of the hotel is set up (in a stylish way) to tell the history of that. Breakfast, as mentioned above, is a very German layout, even in London. I remember reading a review of the London hotel that said something like, "If they don't learn to serve a proper English breakfast, they'll never make it here." It also helps that a bunch of people are running around speaking German 🙂, instead of US Americans speaking English.

Posted by
1567 posts

Breakfast, as mentioned above, is a very German layout, even in London.

I do like their breakfast layouts, as a convenient (and predictable) way to start the day: I can go for hours on the protein. I will be sad if they are a permanent victim of the pandemic. I didn't know they were a Germany layout, though I do see how the English might miss their normal fare.

I haven't stayed in enough German (or non-German chains) to make an informed comment on their comparison.

Posted by
2041 posts

CWsocial--

Maybe breakfast assortment is a better choice of words than breakfast layout. The meat/cheese/bread + jams + boiled egg + yogurt/Muesli + peppers/cucumbers/tomatoes = German (at least in my mind).

Posted by
1552 posts

Yes, thank you for the reviews. Have never stayed at a Motel One but will look into them for future travel, especially if we return to Munich. We stayed at a hotel that did have Plumbing problems. The one front desk person couldn’t (wouldn’t) help us cause it was a weekend. Luckily it was only one night.

Posted by
960 posts

I’m a fan of both Motel One and Premier Inn. I usually travel with friends and some time during our trips we have discovered that one great way to preserve our friendships is that we build in nights in which we don’t have to share rooms. These chains make it possible to have our own rooms for less than $100 per night! It’s wonderful to not have to compromise, among other things, on the the room temperature or when to turn electronics off! I’m also the snorer of the group so I sleep better knowing I’m not keeping someone up.

Posted by
11170 posts

It also helps that a bunch of people are running around speaking German 🙂, instead of US Americans speaking English.

I found an equivalent situation in the Premier Inns in the UK. If you want to "meet the locals" in the UK, look no further than a Premier Inn breakfast room - because Premier Inns are heavily favored by UK residents traveling in their own country. Whereas the "oh so typically English" type of place, that foreigners think of as a "local" experience, is heavily favored by foreigners.

Nothing wrong with staying in either, of course. But the idea the one place is "inauthentic" and the other is "authentic" is silly. They're just different.