Known for its pocket-friendly homewares, Swedish furniture chain Ikea is now branching into budget hotels with the US Marriott group.
Branded as Moxy Hotels, the first will open in Milan in early 2014 with plans to roll out a further 150 across Europe over the next 10 years.
The new hotel brand – announced by Marriott at the International International Hotel Investment Forum in Berlin yesterday – promises "contemporary stylish design, approachable service and, most importantly, an affordable price."
Room rates are expected to start at €60 (£52) to €80 a night, according to the Guardian. Guests will enjoy free Wi-Fi throughout the hotels, and may opt to check in using their mobile devices.
Surprisingly, Ikea will not be furnishing the rooms with its signature bold colours and no-frills furniture. In fact the décor of Moxy Hotels will show little link to the household brand.
Upscale and neutral
The 150- to 300-room hotels will cater to "today's budget-minded, savvy travellers who thrive on self-service and embrace new technology," Marriott said in an official statement.
"Guestrooms will be functional and well-designed, with upscale bath amenities, large flat screen televisions and built-in USB ports located within each wall socket."
The décor will feature a neutral colour palette with natural materials to "evoke an organic, comfortable and restorative feel."
Each room will also feature a floor to ceiling 'art wall,' selected to reflect the local city or surroundings.
Moxy Hotels has been in development for two years with consumer research across Europe including the construction of sample rooms for focus group studies.
Ikea's involvement in the Moxy project is as a property investor, using the financial weight of the homewares giant to help fund the ambitious plans for Moxy.
Marriott hopes to join forces with other investors, increasing the Moxy chain to 150 hotels with between 25,000 and 30,000 rooms.