Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

We’ve tracked down where Marriott’s London ‘Four Points Express’ budget hotel will be

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

Like many hotel groups, Marriott Bonvoy appears to have an addiction to launching new brands. Is it time for a weekly ‘hotel brands anonymous’ group? I think we’re now at 34.

Accor staff will laugh when they read this just …. “Just 34? Beginners, we’re well over 40 …..”

Last October, it announced a sub-sub-brand which is good going. It is called Four Points Express by Sheraton.

Four Points Express logo

Four Points was originally positioned as a budget brand which played off the Sheraton reputation, but with a limited service offering. Clearly the new brand is even more basic “Express”.

Marriott is calling it “affordable midscale”, in the lower 3-star range. IHG’s Holiday Inn Express is seen as ‘upper midscale’ so technically it sits below that in terms of quality, although it’s probably much of a muchness.

Marriott’s developer website cuts through much of the marketing speak:

“Developed specifically for the Europe & Middle East market, Marriott International’s new Four Points Express franchise brand offers a light operational and design model, enabling owners to capitalize on growing consumer demand in the midscale segment, while taking advantage of Marriott International’s powerful operational engines and proven expertise.

Whether for work or leisure, our guests are busy and on the move. They need a comfortable and affordable place to rest and recharge. They expect an easy, uncomplicated stay and don’t want to spend extra on services they don’t need. Clean, comfortable, and in a convenient location, Four Points Express delivers a seamless experience, all for the right price.”

The website goes on to outline the brand requirements which include (and I quote):

  • Food & beverage: Breakfast required, lunch and dinner optional. Retail optional.
  • Guestrooms: 14-22sqm. Quality essentials: good shower, bed, and connectivity
  • Fitness: Allowed if existing
  • Public space: Design signatures
  • Meeting Rooms: Boardroom optional

Looking at the renders, it appears that one of the cost savings will be removing carpets from bedrooms, which I imagine require more maintenance than laminate flooring:

Four Points Express bathroom

Four Points Express seems an odd brand to launch in Europe, where the Four Points brand has very little penetration. There are less than 20 Four Points hotels across Europe in total (including one in the UK) so it’s not as if the existing Four Points brand is over-utilised.

Four Points Express is a conversion brand

Marriott isn’t the only hotel group to push into the midscale hotel segement; IHG also recently announced its own brand, Garner. According to Satya Anand, President, Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA),

“Midscale is a resilient industry segment that currently represents almost 1.2 million rooms in EMEA, and 68% of those rooms are unbranded.”

Like Garner, Four Points Express is a conversion brand, meaning there are very few fixed brand standards. This allows hotels to quickly (and cheaply) join the brand without having to make expensive renovations or buy brand-specific furniture such as a prescribed model of bed. Marriott also talks about “competitive terms” in terms of franchise fees.

The UK will be the second country to get a Four Points Express

The brand will make its global debut in Turkey, but the second country to get one will be the UK. Four Points Express by Sheraton London Euston will open this summer with 201 guest rooms.

Marriott had been very cagey about the hotel which is being converted, which seemed odd. You may now realise why!

The Four Points Express will be the renovated County Hotel on Upper Woburn Place. It is a stones throw from Euston station and only two minutes walk from the British Library, St Pancras and Kings Cross.

The County Hotel appears to have been one of the worst large hotels in London. Here are extracts from a sample review:

“Avoid! The worst hotel I’ve been to in my life …. The [shared] bathrooms and showers are disgusting, very dirty, have no amentities in them. The room is tiny and dirty. Bed is not comfortable, walls are thin, you can hear everything even with ear plugs.”

To be fair, a different reviewer, ‘William T’, gave his stay ‘6 out of 10’ and it’s listed as a ‘4-night romance trip’. Let’s hope the relationship survived.

It certainly wasn’t expensive. I saw a review from 2022 where the guest had paid just £35 per night – although they still weren’t happy: “I don’t think the place has been decorated since the 70s and outside our room stunk of urine”.

Here are some photos from Hotels.com, where it still has a page (click to read). This is well worth looking at for entertainment value. These are the marketing photographs still being used by the hotel in 2022.

No expense had been, erm, expensed on room decoration:

and

The bar doesn’t seem to have a lot going for it:

…. and neither does the restaurant:

Here’s the good news!

As you can see here:

Four Points Express London Euston hotel

…. renovation is now underway to turn the hotel into the Four Points Express by Sheraton London Euston. We can only hope that it’s a full renovation.

The signs are positive. The owners, Splendid Hospitality Group, also own Hilton London Bankside, which is great (here’s our recent Hilton London Bankside review) and The Grand in York (a very smart five star) so they know how to run good hotels.

But there’s bad news for Bonvoy members ….

There is one snag. Marriott has announced that Four Points Express hotels will have reduced points earning AND reduced elite night earning in Marriott Bonvoy.

You will only earn 5 points per $1 spent (usually 10 points). Perhaps worse, you will only earn one elite night towards status for every two nights you stay. A one night stay will earn NO elite night credits.

These seems odd, especially in London. Moxy EXCEL is around £75 per night much of the time. I doubt Four Points Express will be cheaper than that, but the Moxy gives full elite night credits and full Bonvoy points.

Anyway …. we will check out Four Points Express when it opens in a few months.


How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (June 2024)

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

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

HUGE 60,000 POINTS BONUS UNTIL 3rd JULY and 15 elite night credits each year Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card from American Express

40,000 bonus points and a huge range of valuable benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy 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 (65)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Phillip says:

    This also made me think about the Imperial Hotel further down that road right past the Kimpton – it seems to have been closed and under some form of renovation for quite some time. I wondered if any of the chains might end up having a hand or two in it.

    • lumma says:

      That hotel and the President hotel round the corner were the hotels used by a north east travel agent for their train and hotel London packages. Loads of family and friends have stayed there over the years.

      I think thats the trade they wanted as I remember it being very expensive when I looked up the room only prices

  • BJ says:

    The proliferation of brands across the major chains has become farcical, annoying and unhelpful. ‘Budget’ has also become a misnomer of grand proportion, while rates are always complex, in the past we could always count on some like Premier Inn, Ibis and HIX being generally less expensive most of the time. Now, post-pandemic, Premier Inn and Ibis have lost the ‘budget’ plot most places most of the time, while in London HIX Nine Elms s frequently at the top end of IHG rates and redemption. Clearly people and businesses are paying these rates or they wouldn’t be sustainable. However, I lament the passing if budget hotel rates as we used to know them just 3 or 4 years ago, I know they suited some like me more that others but I think most would agree that there were times and places a simple but clean room at a budget rate fitted the bill perfectly.

    • Alan says:

      You make some very good points.

      I think a brand should be able to stand more on its own. I mean things like Hampton By Hilton, is it a Hilton or not?

      Then how do you differentiate between one hotel and another? In years gone by you knew a budget hotel was basically a 2 or 3 star hotel. You were likely just hoping to get a reasonable bed and shower. You likely were not intending on spending much, if any, time there outside of getting breakfast. So likely exploring the area. But now you go on a comparison site and you don’t see differences by star rating but guest experience rating. But trouble here is if you pay say £70-80 a night your expectations are low so you’d be far more likely to rate it 5 out of 5 when you get the decent bed and shower you were hoping for.

      • BJ says:

        For the mist part I use hotels to sleep and eat. I’d syay most of my stays arevorilt about 2:1 4* and budget. Even then mist of 4* are simply determined by lication convenience and value above all else. I rarely stay at luxury hotels, I see no point and I’m never imoressed with them as I see hotels as only a place to wash and sleep. I could never get why many want to visit some fascinating place and then spend modt of time relaxing in a high end hotel, just doesn’t work for me.

      • TGLoyalty says:

        I think a brand should be able to stand more on its own. I mean things like Hampton By Hilton, is it a Hilton or not?

        It’s owned by the Hilton group and it definitely is not a Hilton hotel. Two completely different things.

        • Bagoly says:

          It’s actually very unlikely to be owned by the Hilton group. 🙂
          Not very likely to be even managed by them, let alone staffed by employees of Hilton!

          I suggest that as market-empowering legislation (like requiring prices to be actually payable amounts), hotels should be required to prominently state on all booking sites, and advertising, who the operator of the hotel is.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            The BRAND Hampton is owned by the Hilton group

            The brands and the group are two completely different yet connected things.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      But that contradicts itself – you’re saying Premier Inn et al have found success in moving up the price point – so there’s no case for them simply underpricing themselves and the only answer is a new player – or brand – to be that budget offering that sits beneath them

      • BJ says:

        Not what I was saying, or at least trying to say. Despite the fact that the lijes of Ibis and Premier Inn have raised and can get higher prices than they used to they still remain budget hotels. Only now the difference in rates between them and brands that might have been perceived as a step higher such as Novotel, Doubletree and Courtyard has oftentimes evaporated. Where does that leave us with budget hotel options, do we no longer have such a thing? Lre-pandemic I would stay at a number of Prrmier Inn and Ibis hotels on road trips around Scotlabd and the North if England where the rates never exceeded £60/night, those same hotels are now typically 2x, 3x and even 4x the pricevthey were. Are they still budget hoyels? The competition rates have increased too but not by so much with the result that there has been some convergence between budget and midmarket brands.

        • Gordon says:

          Agree, regarding Premier inn, I have two booking at the premier inn on Bath road T2 & T3, booking made the end of October 2023, for mid august £80 pn, and also End of November two rooms £52 pn, each, £15 pn parking, booking made the end of January 2024. Can be cancelled 28 days prior to stay.

          Booking the same hotel and dates today, the August price is the same (£80) the November price is £6 dearer (£58).

          • BJ says:

            I’ve never got the point of the 28 day rate tbh. The locations I’ve found rates increase dramatically are Oban, Fort William, Inverness and Aviemore.

          • Gordon says:

            Tbh, rates have gone up at everyone, rarely will you see the old £29 rate!
            Pre pandemic the cancellation terms were great, but post pandemic it was very tight on cancellations.

            Now as you know, there is flex, semi flex & standard, so there is an option now depending on your circumstances.
            I still rate them on price point, and you know what your getting, as they are standard across the board.

        • Paul Terry says:

          This post is spot on. Pre pandemic (and during pandemic too – I still travelled to London in 2020/2021 to meet clients who supply the medical sector) Prem Inn/Ibis/Point A prices in central London were mainly £90-£100 a night. Now… I see hub Premier Inns, Point A rooms with no window rooms regularly at £200+ a night midweek. Absolutely crazy. Has encouraged me to start booking Hampton/Moxy/Doubletree at places like Canary Wharf/Greenwich as the prices are often a big chunk less and facilities far better. Now I’ve got an Amex to get points the reason to have/use a business Premier Inn card has basically evaporated when I can start accumulating loyalty points for leisure trips with these hotel groups.

  • Panda Mick says:

    I honestly thought I was looking at photos from 25 years ago!

    Woburn Place seems to have an abundance of these “lost in the mists of time” hotels

    • Bagoly says:

      There is also the huge Royal National.
      Plenty of “romance” there – guests often forgot to close the curtains and didn’t realise there are flat directly opposite.

      • Gordon says:

        That’s why back in the day, the pendant rose light fitting was directly in front of the window, so not to cast any shadows of such behaviour, or someone undressing!

  • Toby says:

    OMG! Those televisions. Where did they even get them from?

  • S says:

    Rob, I’d love to read a general article on brand proliferation and how chains justify it to themselves

    • ChrisBCN says:

      The brands primarily exist to attract the hotel owners, not customers.

      • Bagoly says:

        And in particular to get around exclusivity areas they have given to other hotel owners.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      It’s pretty clear Marriott have nothing in this space.

      They do actually have differentiation the Sheraton and the Marriotts of the world are very similar because they came together via a merger but others like W, Edition, Renaissance, luxury collection etc have different types of properties and target audiences. Actually why Marriott and SPG works better than is IHG and Hilton came together.

  • May Lim says:

    I have stayed here when I needed cheap nights in London at the County Hotel. But they had a basic & filling breakfast included in the room rate. No wonder I wasn’t able to find County Hotel availability or listing for this summer. Seriously though, good location for London Euston & maybe a reasonable walk to London St Pancreas & Kings Cross.

  • Colin_Thames says:

    Would also love an article on decent budget options in London amongst the big brands (and sub sub brands!). The £75 a night at Moxy Excel is ideal for a weekend visit. I’ve never even thought to look at Marriot. And when HIX southbank is going for 300 quid a night it makes the Intercontinental O2 look a bargain.

    • Gordon says:

      We used to use the St Giles hotel on Bedford avenue, 5 min walk from Tottenham court tube and next door to the dominion Theatre, easy walk to many theatres in the west end. Std rooms were regularly £100 pn, cooked breakfast included, but sadly the rates have dramatically increased now like most places.

    • Chris W says:

      “Best London hotels under £100 per night” would be a great guide!

      • TGLoyalty says:

        £100 in hospitality was t the !100 it was 4/5 years ago. Under £150 there are plenty of options just have to book early enough.

        • Rob says:

          That’s not how it works though. Last summer the HIX in Wandsworth broke £500 at times and is well over a mile from a tube. All supply and demand these days due to good revenue management software.

          • TGLoyalty says:

            Ofcourse. Supply and demand has always and was always in play and booking early still helps that’s undeniable, there is such a thing as too early aswell.

            My point was that £100 doesn’t get you as far as it did 5 years ago. It will get you a lower and lower class of property over time both for amenities but also level of recent investment.

      • Paul Terry says:

        Would be a very short list these days. To get on that list the hotel would have to be pretty shabby/a small B&B/ be 15 miles out of London somewhere like Romford or Southgate/be only at that price for Sunday nights/Monday Nights/for stays in early January when demand is low

        • Rob says:

          hotelmattressrun.com is good for a quick overview. For May for Marriott, Moxy Heathrow is £107ish on some Mondays in May (£99 Sun/Fri). Moxy Excel and Courtyard City Airport next two cheapest. For Hilton (no IHG info), DoubleTree Excel generally cheapest, then DoubleTree Ealing, DoubleTree Greenwich, Hampton Excel – under £120 on some Mon-Thu nights.

  • BBbetter says:

    How do these hotels survive so long if they are charging so low and most people avoid them?
    What’s stopping them selling to chain hotels or groups and get them renovated?

    • Alan says:

      An awful lot of the chain hotels are not owned by the chains themselves but in effect are franchises.

      • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

        Indeed.

        Very few chain hotels are owned by the chains that bear the names.

        IHG has 6,000+ hotels under its name but directly manages just under1,000 itself and owns less that 20.

    • Ken says:

      I’d imagine Britannia Inns are one of the most profitable hotels groups in the UK (as a percentage of turnover).

      • Rob says:

        If you have an expiring lease in 20 years, one option is to decide you won’t renew, stop all capex and become very cash profitable.

        • Alan says:

          Indeed, it’s why many of the franchise operators do the absolute minimum they have to during their franchise period as they know to then renew they will have to ‘upgrade’ to the chains then current standard/rules.

        • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

          Most of the Britannia hotels are owned by the company not leased.

          But owning still doesn’t mean a willingness to spend money on improvements or on customer service.

          • Ken says:

            I thought they owned them as well.

            Standards so high that the Adelphi in Liverpool has seen 2 deaths (a drowning in 2006 and an incident where a woman was crushed to death by a wardrobe in 2022).

            Fines of £250k for hygiene failings are shrugged off to the extent that even only few years after being hauled up in court the hygiene rating has hit the dizzy heights of 1

      • Gordon says:

        Talking about Britannia! There was a documentary on these pontins sites, they were dire, and staff were told to carry out any urgent maintenance themselves!
        There was definitely no investment in these, that’s for sure!

        https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12925511/Is-end-road-Pontins-Holiday-firm-closes-holiday-park-good-three-remain-workers-say-sacked-text.html

        • lumma says:

          Always reminds me of doing some work for Serco (NHS) during the pandemic in Liverpool. We got put up in the Mercure hotel. The Army had to make do with Pontins Southport. I’m not sure what our armed forces did to deserve it.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.