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Review: we visit Motto Rotterdam Blaak, Hilton’s new hostel-hotel concept

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This is our review of the new Motto Rotterdam Blaak hotel, part of Hilton Honors.

Motto is something genuinely new, unlike the recent onslaught of new brands such as Handwritten and Spark. It “is a micro-hotel with an urban vibe in prime global locations”.

In plain English, Hilton believes that extended family groups or large groups of friends 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.

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

The average Motto room is a super-small 15.2 square metres and may have bunk beds or beds which flip down from the walls. The majority of rooms connect so you can build the exact space you need for your group. 

Currently, there are just six Mottos open globally. We thought it was worth checking out and headed to the first Motto in Europe – in Rotterdam. Hilton provided our room and arranged for me to have a tour of the different room types.

The hotel website is here.

Where is Motto Rotterdam?

The full name of the hotel is Motto by Hilton Rotterdam Blaak, which gives you a good sense of where the new hotel is located.

It is close to the water and adjacent to the Maritime district, and is where you’ll find at least two iconic Rotterdam landmarks – the Cube Houses and the Market Hall.

It is also close to the large Blaak train station whilst Rotterdam Centraal, the main station, is approximately 15 minutes walk away. Although bigger than Antwerp, Rotterdam is not a particularly large city so it is very walkable.

Inside Motto by Hilton Rotterdam Blaak

The Motto is a conversion of an old banking building, which gives it some character versus Rotterdam’s many other new build hotels:

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

Entry is via the steps – there is another accessible way in, according to the hotel website, although it is not immediately obvious.

Inside you’re greeted with a bar that divides the internal courtyard in two:

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

On the left is Pesca, a seafood restaurant that doesn’t belong to the hotel, whilst a WeWork-style hot desking area and lobby is to the right:

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

Check-in was quick and easy, and as a Hilton Diamond member I was given credit vouchers which I could spend at the bar or for breakfast, instead of an included breakfast.

You may have read that Hilton has stopped giving free breakfast at hotels in the United States, and is now giving a food and drink cash credit instead. Hilton has decided that the same rule will apply to all Motto hotels, even those outside the US. It won’t be surprising if we see the free breakfast benefit scrapped in all other countries in the next 12-18 months.

The breakfast credit for Gold or Diamond members at Motto is €10 per person. This is a bit measly given the cheapest meal on the breakfast menu is €9.75. Even €15 wouldn’t cover much, unless all you want is a coffee and pastry.

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

Rooms at Motto by Hilton Rotterdam

There are just 108 rooms in the hotel, so it is relatively small. I was given a room on the ‘ground’ floor, although you’re about a metre above street level.

The Motto by Hilton Rotterdam offers four different room types:

  • King room
  • King room (fold-out bed)
  • King room with additional sofa bed
  • King room with additional bunk bed

I was in a standard king room, although I did manage to see all the room types. Here is a king room with a murphy bed that turns into a sofa:

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

Here is a king room with a ‘lofted single bed’:

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

And here is a King Room with a separate sofa bed:

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

You can mix and match rooms, to the extent that the hotel has that combination connecting, to create your own custom layout. For example, you could, if you wanted, create a junior suite by connecting a normal king room with a sofa/murphy bed king, with that one set up as a living room.

However, because of the heritage of the building, not all the rooms are identical. As I later found out, I had one of the larger king rooms, with a huge open floor area:

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

All the rooms are the same when it comes to showers and bathrooms. You have two separate frosted-glass cubicles:

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

Water pressure in the shower was phenomenal. Toiletries are from The Spa Collection:

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

Opposite the shower and toilet you have a small open wardrobe, luggage rack and sink:

There is a safe and an empty mini fridge underneath.

You may have noticed there are no bedside tables. There is, however, a ledge above the headboard where you can put phones, books etc. There are plug sockets on both sides:

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

In fact, there are plug sockets virtually everywhere in the room, so power is never an issue. Opposite the bed is a TV and a teeny tiny desk that folds out – although I wouldn’t want to use the stool for long. I used the lobby workspace instead.

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

This was the view from my window:

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

The rooms are plain but not austere. The terrazzo floor and light wood add a bit of texture and the whole effect is very inoffensive. Nothing about it feels try-hard or boring.

Breakfast at Pesca

As mentioned above, anyone with Hilton Gold status or above gets a €10 voucher. An a la carte breakfast is served at Pesca, the lobby restaurant managed by a third party, or you can pick up a basic coffee and pastry to go.

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

Of the five main breakfast ‘meals’, only one of them is less than €10, at €9.75 for some granola, yoghurt and fruit. If you want something cooked it is €12.50 – €13.50, so the €10 really doesn’t go far.

I ordered ‘The Panroast’ which is described as ‘Sunny side up, duroc bacon, old cheese, salsa rosso, grilled sourdough’:

Motto Rotterdam hotel review

Basically, it is egg and bacon on toast. A croissant is €2.50 whilst a coffee is around the €3.Basically, however, you are likely to be paying an additional 50% (or more) of your breakfast in cash – not exactly a great ‘free breakfast’ benefit.

The service was also remarkably disjointed, although this seems to be a trend across restaurants in Rotterdam. There was no-one in the bar to guide us to a table so we just sat down and waited for someone to appear. When they did, they faffed around in the bar for a while before saying hello and eventually bringing the menus. It’s all a bit aloof.

Conclusion

As a new concept – and as someone who went on a fair amount of hostelling holidays with my family when I was younger – I have to admit that Motto does seem to have something going for it.

The rooms and facilities at Motto Rotterdam are pitched at a similar level to a Moxy or citizenM but with the added benefit that you can connect multiple rooms – up to nine or ten, I believe. For big family holidays this is not a bad idea.

The location is very good, and the lobby lounge is funkier than the rooms which makes it a fun place to work from. All in all, I think it’s a good concept and something very different – not something you’d necessarily expect from one of the major hotel chains.

Room rates at Motto Rotterdam start at around €101, or 29,000 Hilton Honors points per night. You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.

Thank you to Hilton for arranging my room and showing me around.


How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (February 2023)

There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

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The Platinum Card from American Express

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Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.

You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

Comments (75)

  • The real Swiss Tony says:

    As noted – and speaking as a Dad of 3 who has done family trips with up to 7 – I think this misses the point to an extent. You find a way to make it work, so this is trying to fill a gap that doesn’t really exist. It’ll never be a bargain as a hostel will always be cheaper and if the place is busy, you’ll trade down from an HGI to here anyway. I appreciate they’re trying to innovate but this isn’t going to turn the dial, maybe other than in places with consistently super-high room prices and demand – like Manhattan, London or Disneyworld

  • Michael says:

    I’ve stayed in the hotel as a Diamond and I did not like it. My room was the large one with Sofa bed but had no desk despite lots of empty space. Not cool for business travel. The bathroom was up steep and strange stairs. The breakfast vouchers feel like getting cheated out of Diamond status benefits. I was told the cheapest breakfast is 15.25 or 15.50 Euro. So 10 Euro made no sense. And you have to pay 0.25 cents extra by cash or card with understaffing, and that charge cannot be charged to the room bill since the restaurant is not set up for it. This is annoying if you pool 3 vouchers to get at least one free breakfast on a two night stay. And the staff is not really up to speed with things like changing invoice addresses. On a positive note, you can use the vouchers for dinner (or at least the drinks portion of it) and the fish place is cool, but pricey. I would not mind the concept and small but nice rooms, even the smaller ones shown on pictures, if the rest where done differently. Give me a free proper breakfast, a desk in my room and a welcome drink and I’ll accept some staffing issues at the right price level.

  • Christopher says:

    The f&b credit for Gold members is only €5. Rather measly, though the breakfast was lovely.

  • cinereus says:

    As someone who stays in hostels about 70-100 nights a year, this is an insane concept and deserves to lose a ton of money.

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