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15 Mar 2019

Do Premier Inn's new micro hotel rooms offer good value?

With Zip hotel bedrooms measuring just 8.5 square metres, we crunch the numbers to see if they're worth the squeeze

Budget hotel chain Premier Inn has slashed its room size in half to launch a new brand Zip, promising small rooms at small prices.

Bedrooms at the first 'Zip by Premier Inn' hotel in Cardiff measure just 8.5sq metres and cost between £19 and £42.

Guests can opt for a twin or a double (if two mattresses are pushed together) plus an en-suite. But they have to fork out extra for breakfast, cleaning and fast wi-fi and outside views aren't a given, with some rooms featuring a light box instead of a window.

While the UK chain taps into the trend for micro hotel rooms, a recent Which? Travel investigation found that some brand's 'pod' rooms are pokier than a jail cell and prices rarely offer good value.

Avoid nasty surprises on your next short break. See the full results of our best and worst hotel chain survey.

Are micro hotel rooms good value?

When we checked prices for a night in 'Zip by Premier Inn' at the end of March, we found rooms at £34.50 per night (or £42 for a 'flexible' rate). At 8.5sq metres that works out as just £4.06 per square metre for the non-flexible rate which is good value when compared with London hotel pricing.

The downside of this low price point is the hotel's location, three miles away from Cardiff's Central train station.

In contrast, we found in ourmicro hotel rooms investigation last year, that some 'affordable' brands are charging more for each inch of your room than one of the country's most opulent hotels.

One of these, Z Hotel (pictured above), which prides itself on 'affordable compact luxury', was charging £190 for its cheapest available room in London's Soho, making it more expensive per square metre than a suite at the Ritz. It measured just 8sq metres, meaning guests were paying £23.75 per square metre.

When we checked the Ritz for the same night, its smallest suite cost £723. But at 46sq metres that's only £15.70 per square metre - £8 cheaper for the same volume. That's despite a Which? Travel reviewer likening a room at the Z hotel to a 'prison cell'.

Which? Travel's undercover reviewers stay at hundreds of hotels each year to find the best and worst stays. Unlike our competitors we never accept any freebies, so you can trust that our reviews are unbiased. Find out more about Which? Travel.

What does the law say?

There's no minimum size requirement for a hotel room in the UK, aside from in Northern Ireland where double rooms must be at least 13sq metres.

However, under the 1985 Housing Act, domestic bedrooms must not fall below 6.52sq metres for a single occupant or 10.23sq metres for two.

Video: Is this London's smallest hotel room?