Motto by Hilton, a new hostel-inspired concept that was announced by the hotel company on Tuesday, is the latest micro-hotel brand hoping to court budget-minded global travelers with small but affordable accommodations, connected design concepts, and prime city real estate.

The first 100-bed Motto by Hilton will open in the centrally located Marylebone district of London in 2020, and additional properties are slated for development in global urban destinations that include Lima, Peru; Dublin, Ireland; Savannah, Georgia; San Diego; Boston; and Washington, D.C. The goal is to ultimately have properties throughout Europe, the Americas, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific.

The Motto guest rooms will be 163 square feet each on average, with the option to connect the rooms in several different configurations, including setups designed for families (such as two connected rooms), larger groups traveling together (multiple rooms connected), and working groups with one room between them designated as a work space or a larger suite-style room.

A bedroom with a Murphy bed tucked into the wall.

A bedroom with a Murphy bed pulled down.
In developing Motto, Hilton found through its own research that while there is an emerging lifestyle hostel trend globally, when it comes to the shared room experience, travelers who stay in hostels “in fact, do not like rooming with strangers.” Thus, Motto’s flexible room configurations are designed to allow budget travelers to either room solo or be connected with friends and family, while still maintaining some privacy.

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To help maximize the small space, layouts will include features such as Murphy beds, lofted beds, and furniture that can be tucked away when not in use. Guests will also be given a sleep kit that might include eye masks, essential oils and vitamin bars, a white noise app, and blackout window shades to encourage quality Zzzs.

The tech-savvy set might also appreciate the fact that they will be able to control features such as the temperature, lighting, TV, and window coverings in their rooms from the Hilton Honors app on their mobile devices—part of Hilton's new Connected Room program. There will also be mobile check-in.

A rendering of the vanity area in a mock-up Motto guest room
The company didn’t state what the exact room prices for its Motto hotels will be, but did say that the hotels will offer “competitive rates” that will vary within each market.

Beyond the guestrooms, the Motto hotels will also have a “commons” area—a café, bar, and workspace featuring all-day grab-and-go eats (we spotted a croissant-wich, coffee, and bottled water in the Motto promo video) where the hope is that locals and visitors will intermingle. There will also be local hosts available to give guests pointers on where to go and what to do.

Motto is the latest attempt to bring more design- and community-oriented, hostel-style accommodations to urban destinations. The emphasis is on courting more budget-oriented travelers who are willing to give up some but not all the conveniences of staying in a luxury hotel. Examples of some of its predecessors include Native Hostel in Austin, with its bunk beds and high-style interiors, and Generator Hostels, which has been working to overhaul the upscale hostel market with its collection of chic design hostels in Europe and the United States.  

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Staying with a brand launched by a mega-hotel chain such as Hilton may not feel as boutique-y and local as staying with a smaller hostel brand, but there is the added advantage that Motto by Hilton will participate in the Hilton Honors guest loyalty program that allows members to book a stay with a combination of points and cash; it also includes member discounts and free standard Wi-Fi. That alone could sway some savvy urban nomads.

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