A new company called CityHub, which launched in Amsterdam’s Oud West district at the end of October, may be the next big thing in budget accommodation.
While the shared accommodation sector still leaves some people wary about staying in someone else’s home (or sharing it with them), CityHub boasts similar prices as Airbnb but gives you the privacy of a hotel and the social impact of a hostel. And, while it has similarities to hostel stays (social hangout areas and shared bathrooms), it has the amenities and cleanliness you would expect from a hotel.
When you first arrive at the warehouse space, you check in on computers with a wristband that acts as a card for purchases during your stay and serves as your room key. Checking-in also logs you in to the CityHub app (more on that later). The Amsterdam space consists of 50 soundproof, climate-controlled, pre-fab «hubs» outfitted with a double bed, bench, closet rod, robe, free Wi-Fi, and mood lighting and music that can be controlled by the app. While the bathroom is shared, it comes with free amenities like soap, shampoo, and hair dryers—and it looks like an Equinox gym bathroom. Prices depend on demand but average around $65 to $75 a night.
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Now, onto the app. While the app’s current features just let you control the music and lights in your hub and set an alarm, the social aspect of the concept will be available soon. This will connect you to a Whatsapp-type group with all of the guests currently staying in the hotel including «hosts» who will chime in with recommendations and answer any questions you might have. There’s also a map full of recommendations to really make your experience more genuine.
The app isn’t the only cool digital factor, either. Remember those swanky wristbands I mentioned? Well, they let you serve yourself at the «Hangout» bar and pay with just a tap. They also let you virtually check in and out 24/7 and reduce the need for human staff. To us, this digital experience is what furthermore sets CityHub apart from similar concepts like NYC’s The Pod Hotel and Japan’s capsule hotels.
CityHub is looking to expand to other major European cities, too. With all of the hubs pre-fabricated, they can be assembled almost anywhere with minimal construction time. In an interview with Skift, co-founder Sem Schuurkes said CityHub has gotten franchise inquiries from San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Australia.
Would you stay in one of these «hubs»? Tell us in the comment section below!