News in brief:
Iberia Express to launch Edinburgh to Madrid
Iberia Express has added flights from Edinburgh to Madrid for next Summer.
They are not exactly pushing the boat out. There will be a solitary two flights per week (Thursday and Sunday) between 18th June and 14th September.
You can, of course, redeem Avios for Iberia Express flights. An Economy return is 16,500 Avios + £54.75. Business Class is available for cash but I couldn’t see it for redemption – my pre-pandemic review of Iberia Express Business Class is here.
You can also choose to use fewer Avios in return for more cash, which is actually a better deal. 4,100 Avios + £124.75 is the sweet spot, although a cash ticket may be cheaper still if you’re not bothered about flexibility.
Singapore Airlines tweaks Manchester flights
Singapore Airlines has an interesting route which goes from Singapore to Manchester and then onwards to Houston.
Whilst many passengers fly the whole route, it is also possible to book either leg as a stand-alone flight, either for cash or for miles in any Star Alliance programme.
From the start of the Summer timetable in late March, two of the five weekly flights will terminate in Manchester and not continue to the US. This should open up extra capacity for good cash deal or redemptions to Singapore from the UK.
In other news, Singapore Airlines will drop the A380 from the Singapore – Frankfurt – New York JFK route, replacing it with a Boeing 777. This means that you will no longer have the chance to fly the iconic new First Class Suite to the US from Europe.
You can check prices and dates on the Singapore Airlines website here.
Hat-tip @SPD_travels on Twitter.
Hilton’s Motto brand arrives in Europe
Back in 2018, we wrote about Motto.
Motto was a new hotel brand announced by Hilton. It “is a micro-hotel with an urban vibe in prime global locations”.
In plain English, Hilton believed that extended family groups or large groups of friends looking for rock-bottom rates are happy to share rooms. However, they don’t want to stay in a traditional hostel. This is a market which the Generator chain dominates, creating hostels with private rooms and funky shared spaces.
The mock-up Motto room pictured above explains it better. The average room will be a super-small 14 square metres and may have bunk beds or beds which flip down from the walls. The majority of rooms will connect so you can build the exact space you need for your group.
London was due to be the launchpad for Motto. A 100-room hotel was planned for Marylebone, and the demolition of the existing building was already underway when the project was announced in 2018.
As is very common with new hotel projects, however, it didn’t happen. Unsurprisingly, the developer realised that putting a budget hotel in one of the most expensive parts of London was a bit silly. I believe that a luxury boutique hotel is now being developed on the site.
Four years from the launch announcement, the first Motto hotel has opened in Europe.
Motto Rotterdam Blaak – website here – has opened in the Blaak neighbourhood (near the cube houses, if you know the city) in a conversion of a former bank. It offers 108 rooms, with ‘flexible sleeping setups’ including bunks and pull-down beds. Only 14 rooms connect, according to the press release, which seems odd as I though the whole point was to allow multiple connection options.
If you look at the website you get a better feel for how it works. Bookable room types include:
- King Bunk Bed Room With Lofted Single Bed
- Two Linked Rooms
- Three Linked Rooms
- Two Linked Rooms – King – King W/ Lofted Bunk
- Two Linked Rooms – King – King Flex
- King Room With Sofa Bed
….. as well as a standard King Room.
Motto is genuinely offering something new to the branded hotel scene so it will be interesting to see how it goes. We’ll see if we can take a look.