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No-frills hotel for central London

By Nick Easen for CNN

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Windows in London's easyHotel are extras only available in three rooms.

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Stelios Haji-Ioannou
Hotels and accommodation

LONDON, England (CNN) -- EasyJet, easyCruise, and now easyHotel. The entrepreneur known for his no-frills ethos, Stelios Haji-Ioannou, is opening his latest venture.

In keeping with the "easy" philosophy, frills are again being ditched in favor of value for money. EasyHotel is charging $35 (£20) a night for double rooms at its first hotel in central London.

Following in the footsteps of Japan's capsule hotel concept, these rooms are being heralded as Europe's smallest.

Rooms come in three sizes -- small, really small and tiny. At 80, 70 and 60 square feet (7.2, 6.3 or 5.4 square meters), there is little room to swing anything more than a carry-on bag.

"I believe there is a gap left by the branded chains that have moved upmarket. The Holiday Inn started as budget hotels but they are now charging £80 ($140) a night," says Haji-Ioannou, who slept at the hotel on its opening night.

"There is a gap above the bed and breakfasts, since they can be unpredictable and unreliable. They do not have sophisticated booking systems either."

Each room comes with a bathroom, but windows are optional extras, as is the television, which you can rent for £5 ($9) a day.

Costs are kept to a minimum with just one person manning reception 24 hours a day, and there are no services, food, entertainment or public areas.

Similar to easyJet, room bookings are all done on the Internet. Those people who book early get the best prices for rooms, which are unlikely to top £50 ($90).

However, media reports suggest that easyHotel may not be the cheapest option in the area. Local bed and breakfast hotels offer rooms for about £38 ($67), which include satellite television, breakfast and windows.

"We must be the cheapest branded group and the cheapest room, which you can actually have some confidence about what you are getting -- I think people will go for consistency," Haji-Ioannou said.

The first easyHotel has 34 double bedrooms and is situated in a west London terraced property that used to house a 20-room bed and breakfast-style hotel.

Stelios hopes to expand the model across Europe through a franchise network. The next one is planned for Basel, Switzerland.

Stelios started low-cost airline easyJet in 1995 and owns 41 percent of the carrier along with his family. He then expanded the no-frills concept into other sectors including car rental, Mediterranean cruises and mobile phones.

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