Strip away everything from a hotel but the essentials and what are you left with? Four walls, a ceiling, floor and a bed? Maybe a mirror?
What more do you need really?
That is the fundamental premise behind Tune Hotels, which aims to provide budget travellers with high quality accommodation in global gateway cities.
Borrowing from the low-cost airline model, the brand offers the bare necessities at the lowest possible price, with everything else – from hairdryers, to televisions and towels – available at an additional cost.
While this might conjure up less than flattering images, Tune Hotels has been a remarkable success, expanding quickly into new markets around the world.
Since the opening of its first location in Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur in 2007, the brand has welcomed seven million guests and now has more than 100 hotels in operation or under development globally.
One of the latest to open is Tune Hotel, Liverpool, City Centre, which I visited on a busy weekend in September.
Located on Castle Street, the property is the perfect base for a weekend break in the city.
Close by is Queen Avenue, which boasts a collection of independent retail outlets including Cau restaurant, Moose Coffee and R&H Fine Wines. In short, an ideal location.
But what about inside? How limited is the ‘limited service’ model offered by Tune Hotels?
Well, not very. The hotel is indistinguishable from budget-tier competitors, if not superior.
The reception is bright, airy and immaculate, while the staff – though busy – could not be more helpful.
The black/red decor is also easier on the eyes than the garish oranges and yellows than seem to be preferred as this end of the market.
Check-in is quick and painless, and within minutes of arrival I’m headed for my room.
Work has only recently been completed on the 100-bedroom property, and the only traces of the previous buildings are found in the warren of staircases, lifts, passages and anonymous doors on the way to the upper floor.
Having located my room through the maze, I’m again pleasantly surprised.
Each Tune room comes equipped with high quality basics such as Hypnos beds, and mine is also unexpectedly spacious.
There’s also a fine view over the passing world below.
A lack of furniture, save a desk, emphasises how far Tune is willing to push the budget model, but the bathroom and shower also offer plenty of space.
You’ll have to bring your own soap though.
And that’s pretty much it, there’s not much else to report.
Its £4 to turn on the television, £2 for the hairdryer, and £2 for towels, and the property is definitely designed for those with a busy agenda.
Staying in the room is not really an option.
Elsewhere the hotel provides housekeeping services, while an electronic key card allows access into rooms, and CCTV systems offer security.
Tune Hotel, Liverpool, City, Centre
So why Liverpool?
As Mark Lankester, chief executive of of brand, assets and capital markets at Tune Hotels explains to Breaking Travel News: “Liverpool is one of the key cities in the north-west not only from a commercial point of view, but it also has a long established tourism industry for both domestic and international travellers.”
Last year the city welcomed 32 million visitors, who between them spent £2.3 billion in the city – impressive figures.
This booming tourism sector - which trades heavily on the legacy of the Beatles, among other things - resulted in over 560,000 overnight stays from international visitors, 1.47 million from UK travellers and some 289,000 from business tourism.
There is undoubtedly a healthy demand for high-quality yet affordable accommodation in Liverpool.
Lankester adds: “This makes Liverpool the ideal destination for us to expand our UK portfolio.
“Tune Hotels is the choice of the savvy traveller guaranteeing a safe and comfortable night’s sleep without breaking the bank, and all in great central locations – Castle Street is therefore the perfect site being in the heart of the city’s business district and the Queen Buildings has played a role in the history of Liverpool since it was built back in 1837.
“We hope that it will continue to do so as part of the Tune Hotels Group for many years to come.”
Given its recent success, it seems likely this ambition will be fulfilled.
Tune Hotels, Liverpool, City Centre, is well located, bright, spacious and, for the right price, offers everything you need.
Tune Hotels is a growing chain of hotels that have embraced the limited service model. Prices in London start at £55, falling to £25 per night Edinburgh, Newcastle and Liverpool in the UK, with with regular promotion periods.