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Sunday 17 March 2013

Can a hotel room that costs $25 be any good?

Sometimes all you want from a hotel room is somewhere to lay your head overnight. A hot shower and a comfortable bed in a clean, safe environment.

If you need a business centre, 100 channels of cable TV, free wifi, room service, a comfy sofa and morning paper under your door then budget chains like Tune hotels won't work for you - but if your needs are simple then you you can save a heap of money. 

I've stayed in two Tune hotels, one in downtown Kuala Lumpur when the rate was around $40 a night (during peak season) and another at London Westminster (see room image below), where the current rate is around $100 a night - but can often be found for much cheaper. 

Book far enough in advance, however, and you can pay as little as $20 or $25 per night for Asian properties, more in western cities.

So what do you get for this bargain price? You get a central location. A bed (extremely comfortable with pillows, sheets and duvet) – and a bathroom with a power shower. 

You also get a bedside table, some hangers, a television and lighting. Want a towel, soap or shampoo? Pay extra. Want air-conditioning? Pay extra. Want in-room wifi? Pay extra. Want the television turned on? Pay extra.

The rooms are small but functional and there is 24-hour reception. Parking facilities? No. Baggage storage? Pay extra. Early check-in? Pay extra. But there are computer terminals in the lobby that are free for guests to use.

In a way this is refreshing. I’ve lost count of the number of rooms I’ve checked into a hotel at 11pm one night and checked out of at 6am the next without ever looking at the bar, swimming pool, gym or business centre. Paying for stuff I’m not using, in other words.

Malaysian-based Tune has hosted over four million guests since the opening of its first hotel in Kuala Lumpur in 2007. There are currently 27 Tune Hotels with 11 in Malaysia, five in Britain, four in the Philippines, four in Thailand and three in Indonesia. 

And now the budget urban accommodation provider is heading for Australia.The first Tune Hotel will be a 235-room property in Swanston Street, Melbourne, currently under construction and scheduled to open in August. Look out for some cheap-as-chips opening offers. 

For details see  

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