Super hotel!

An NY Times article about urban hotels incorporating green construction technologies mentioned the first in what could be a chain of ALT Hotels, now under construction in Brossard, as part of a lifestyle center on Montréal’s South Shore. Several features — the building’s straightforwardly boxy look and uniform, $129-per-room pricing — raised my suspicions, confirmed by this:

In order to offer a quality hotel at the lowest possible prices, Groupe Germain and its Quebec partners have developed a totally new construction concept: the prefabricated room. Prefabricated rooms are currently being built at Rénova in Plessisville, one of the Group’s long-standing partners.

Finally! A modular hotel! A “Super Hotel” saved me late one night in Matsumoto: a tidy and super-efficient (bunk beds!) room for $67. All rooms were exactly identical, and the hotel appeared to have been built, Lego-like, from modular blocks; only the ground floor differed, and it housed a walk-through lobby, a continental-breakfast bar with lunchroom style seats, a business center, a little onsen and locker room, and the ubiquitous vending machines. The bathrooms, in particular, were definitely prefab, but still incorporated the latest in Japanese integrated bidet technology.

Super Hotel modular bath

Not only the prefab construction cut costs, but the relative lack of unnecessary frills: the front desk staff doles out towels and toiletries upon check-in; a keycode printed on your receipt replaces actual keys; and everyone’s forced out of the hotel for cleaning during midday. (This being Japan, robots were undoubtedly involved.) I’ve always been an undemanding but cheap traveler, and this no-frills approach matches that pretty well.