This is our review of the new Motto Rotterdam Blaak hotel, part of Hilton Honors.
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.
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.
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:
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:
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:
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.
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:
Here is a king room with a ‘lofted single bed’:
And here is a King Room with a separate sofa bed:
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:
All the rooms are the same when it comes to showers and bathrooms. You have two separate frosted-glass cubicles:
Water pressure in the shower was phenomenal. Toiletries are from The Spa Collection:
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:
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.
This was the view from my window:
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.
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’:
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.
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.