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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.

Comments (74)

  • Josh says:

    Some of my friends and I are long time Hilton diamond. With the roll out of the inadequate FB benefit instead of breakfast we have all switched to Marriott and Hyatt . I think Hilton will finally get the message after they’ve lost many of their longtime elites.

    • lcylocal says:

      Yes I hope that Hilton think very carefully before dropping the breakfast benefit. As a Diamond who is currently fairly confined to U.K. and continental European properties, the breakfast is the benefit that swings most of my stays to Hilton. A credit that probably won’t cover the cost of breakfast is a faff and means I will likely discount it entirely. I’ve booked rates inclusive of credit before, but don’t bother now as getting the correct bill at checkout is invariably a pain. The only other benefit that’s reliable is the points, upgrades, lounges and everything else that exists on paper is far too unreliable to take into account. For example within the last year I’ve had to argue that I shouldn’t have to pay £30 for a 90 min late checkout at a UK Doubletree.

    • Tariq says:

      Agreed, as well as HH Diamond, I have Marriott Titanium and IHG Diamond (via the match/Amb trick). I have enough stays/nights to qualify in two programmes so would very quickly switch away from Hilton if they degrade free breakfast in Europe. The only risk is that this contagion spreads to their competitors.

  • Michael C says:

    This concept seems right up our street (family of three, me often working 0400-0800h while we’re away), but I’d also emphasise the we’re-with-Hilton-because-of-the-breakfast point of the other posters!

  • Roberto says:

    Best wishes for everyone for 2023

    On FT: https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/hilton-hilton-honors/2105550-motto-hilton-rotterdam-blaak-nld-master-thread.html

    There was a special promo offer posted:
    Receive 20% off the Best Flexible Rate when you stay before the 31st of March
    2023. Book now via email on rtmbl.reservations@hilton.com,
    or call +31(0)10 2004 697 and quote ‘SPAARBANK’

    No idea if this counts as elite qualifying rate / night / points though

    Cheerio!

  • AirMax says:

    MEININGER Hotels also do this kind of thing, rather upmarket compared to Generator

  • AirMax says:

    29,000 points. Their recent promotion rewards a mere 1,000 for trying a brand. Free breakfast no longer. It’s not great is it Hilton

  • SammyJ says:

    I’d have expected to be in one of their target market groups having stayed in Meininger and Generator on group trips with friends (where half a dozen girls all want a bed each), and a regular traveller with husband and 2 teens, so always on the lookout for rooms with enough beds rather than pull-out sofas.

    This offers none of those. It seems to just be very small double rooms, with the occasional sofa bed or pull down. I can get that in a Holiday Inn Express (with a genuinely free breakfast). Slotting multiple rooms together defeats the object somewhat, as I can just book connecting rooms in any other hotel, and have rooms with far more space than these.

    Am I missing the point, or are Motto completely missing a chunk of their target market by not putting enough real beds into their rooms?!

    • Sussex bantam says:

      Exactly my thoughts – I’d have been all over this if it had been multiple beds in the same room. All it seems to be is a double bed with a sofa bed a la pretty much every other brand in the market. Shame.

    • JDB says:

      With an average 14m2 room, there’s not a lot of scope for multiple beds.

      • Rhys says:

        …and the whole point is that, if you need more beds, you book connecting rooms.

        To be fair, the murphy bed definitely seems to be a ‘proper’ bed – it just folds away as well.

        • Sussex bantam says:

          Which I can do in any hotel…

        • SammyJ says:

          I can book multiple rooms, or rooms with sofabeds anywhere, and have decent sized rooms. In Meininger Amsterdam for example, we got a room that had 6 proper (very comfortable!) single beds and a proper toilet room, and shower room. We didn’t need to book 3 rooms!

    • Nick says:

      Indeed, times must be tough that H4P needs to get such hotel stays comped – a franker review would be useful here. Annoying when the hotel try and pass off bigger rooms with a huge open space as normal to reviewers!

      • Rob says:

        Can’t have it both ways. If we’d just booked in then you’d have seen a picture of a standard King Room and nothing else, since we wouldn’t have seen the rest.

        There are 2 sorts of review we can do – the comped ones where we get a tour and see all the different rooms etc (eg Andaz Prague) or the ones we pay ourselves where you see the room we book and nothing else. Each has some merit and some downsides.

        • RussellH says:

          Comped rooms with a tour of the whole hotel were bloody hard work in my day – I came to dread them.

          • Rob says:

            That’s why I didn’t do one for 3.5 years until December!

          • Rhys says:

            The hotel I stayed at in Helsinki decided it wanted to show us all of its meeting rooms. All of them. There were about 30…

  • Mike says:

    Are those glass doors on the shower and loo? If you were sharing a room with a friend rather than a partner is there any bathroom privacy?

  • r* says:

    No one should stay at this hotel due to them only offering credit rather than breakfast.

    Its clearly the thin end of the wedge. Hilton lied about it credit only being a temporary thing in US hotels and now they’re trying to get it in to EU hotels by starting off with another stupid new brand.

    If you support this crap, pretty soon youll be getting no breakfasts at any hiltons. Tho at which point, is there even any reason to have hilton status at all unless you stay exclusively at hotels that have lounges?

    • Save East Coast Rewards says:

      It would be odd if Hilton gets rid of free breakfast after IHG introduces them after many years of not even giving breakfast to those at any status level

      • Rob says:

        Not even remotely similar. Diamond Elite needs 60 nights for free IHG breakfast. Hilton Gold is given away free with Amex Plat, is given to you free for 90 days if you register for the status challenge and in any event only needs 40 nights or 20 stays (so 20 x one-night would do it).

        • Save East Coast Rewards says:

          It is similar when you’re top tier though! For a little while I was top tier in IHG, a mix of business and leisure travel had me in many cities where IC hotels were based and I was Royal Ambassador for a few years. I got amazing upgrades, free minibar but at the time lounge access and breakfast were not guaranteed benefits but some hotels gave you them. When changing circumstances meant I was often in cities without an IC I drifted to Hilton mainly because of free breakfast and guaranteed lounge access for diamonds.

          Although I would rather the free breakfast benefit remains for gold and above it wouldn’t affect me if they scrapped it for gold and kept it for diamond. That would be preferable to getting rid of it altogether.

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      I’d go further (cos i can tend towards extremism) and book rooms then cancel and email the hotel saying “I have cancelled as since booking it has come to my attention the elite breakfast benefit is not provided.” They need to get the message that there is aversion to this. I’ve already discounted Hilton in the US as a search option.

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