Motel One is on the march. The brown and turquoise-themed budget beauty, which was born in Munich back in 2000, now boasts 55 hotels across the UK and Europe, and has another 26 planned, bringing the total to 81 in ten countries by 2020. This year new hotels are opening in Zurich, Paris and Barcelona.

And it has to be said, with their usual efficiency, the Germans have nailed it. This is the grand hotel at a budget price. I’ve stayed in three now – in London, in Amsterdam, and most recently in Newcastle – and I don’t really have a bad word to say about them. The rooms have been criticised for being a bit on the small size – and they are compact – but where this stylish budget hotel chain really scores is with the décor in the public areas – the bar, One Lounge, the chill-out zones. Quite simply, Motel One is very cool. There is always something to catch the eye – quirky lighting, weighty coffee table tomes, a funky rocking chair or two, furniture you would really like to take home with you.

Newcastle’s version opened last December and, like the others that are springing up across the UK and the continent, it takes its design influences from the city’s local history and culture. Industrial charm is blended with stylish modernism, the carefully conserved old brick walls contrasting beautifully with sparkling chandeliers. In a nod to Newcastle United Football Club, reception is decked out black and white stripes.

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The décor in the One Lounge breakfast area has been inspired by the iconic seven bridges over the Tyne, and there are murals of them with a potted history included. In the bar the decor is influenced by Robert Stephenson’s invention, the steam train Rocket, while signposts similar to those found within Newcastle city centre are found in the lounge, creating a link between the city and the hotel.

Comfy Italian leather furniture provides the perfect place to relax with a special selection of single malt or gin and tonic after a busy day in the city, and the hotel bar is a popular stop-off with locals, too. It couldn’t be more central – down a side alley just off the city’s stunning Grey Street and only 170m from Newcastle Theatre Royal. Sage Gateshead, the central station, St James’ Park and Quayside are all within easy walking distance.

Rooms located in the carefully preserved and renovated historical part of the building showcase a modern style blended with velvet curtains and beautifully detailed wallpaper. Rooms in the newly-built section of the hotel are designed in the contemporary Motel One style, and all are decked out in the Motel One team colours, brown and turquoise.

The chain offers guests an average of 16sqm of room, without a closet, telephone, mini-bar and room service. But while being quite small, they are almost perfectly formed. There is hanging space, Artemide Tolomeo lighting and a LOEWE flat-screen TV. The bathrooms are all elegantly fitted with granite and glass Dornbracht washbasin fittings, as well as a monsoon rain shower. Everything is pared down to the essentials, and I only had a couple of quibbles. The first is very English: the only waste basket was in the bathroom and there was nowhere else to put the used teabags. A little tray would have been good. And there was no table on my side of the bed so the mug of tea had to go on the floor. But it was a good-sized mug, and the teabags were Ringtons, so that was good.

Breakfast (£9.50) was excellent and taken in One Lounge, which also functions as a general meeting place. This was a continental affair with meats and cheeses – how very German – but it wasn’t the usual bland affair. The breads were freshly baked, and the jams and chutneys were hand-made in Newcastle by the aptly-named Yummy Things. Creamy natural yoghurt was accompanied by fresh fruit and the most delicious fruit purees – peach, strawberry, blackberry and mango. So much more delicious than a greasy fry-up and the perfect start to a fantastic day cycling along the river out to Tynemouth.

You probably would begin to feel the squeeze if you were staying longer in Motel One more than a few days, but for business travellers and city breaks, I don’t think you could do much better. IN Newcastle, as elsewhere, Motel One has once again proved that stylish accommodation doesn’t have to come at a price

  • Single Rooms start from £59 per night. For more information on Motel One and bookings please visit
  • Motel One Edinburgh-Royal has won City Budget Hotel of the Year at the Scottish Hospitality Awards 2017. Rooms from just £69 a night.