A city centre hotel where guests can sleep in windowless pods has been bought by a Birmingham entrepreneur after spending 18 months in administration.
More than 20 jobs have been secured after budget hotel NiteNite, on Holliday Street, was taken over by investor Harj Mattu – who is set to invest £1 million in a refurbishment.
The deal means a new dawn for the unusual hotel, which opened in 2006 and replicated pod or capsule hotels which first became successful in Japan in the late 1970s and 1980s.
Mr Mattu said as well as saving jobs, he planned to take more people on in the short-term as he plots a new future for the hotel, which collapsed into administration in August 2011.
Mr Mattu said despite the first holding company collapsing, he was confident there was space in the market for a pod-style hotel in the city.
He said: “I am delighted to be adding the NiteNite Hotel to my portfolio of hotels and taking on the NiteNite brand, which has a strong customer base and unique position in the marketplace.
“Although it has been in administration, the hotel has continued to trade successfully over the last 18 months.
“Working in the hotel industry for a number of years, I have seen a real shift in the market from full service hotels to limited service hotels and more pod-style rooms. NiteNite was ahead of its time, being one of the first ‘micro boutique’ style hotels in Europe when it first opened in 2006, offering affordable luxury with all the hotel room amenities required within a compact space.”
Previous owner NiteNite (Birmingham), and sister company NiteNite Holdings, called in administrators from Zolfo Cooper in 2011 after running up debts of more than £3.2 million.
At the time, administrators said that adverts, including one placed in the Birmingham Post, resulted in more than 50 enquiries from interested parties.
NiteNite hotel on Holliday Street has 104 bedrooms and when it opened in 2006, the hotel boasted that each windowless room would have a 45-inch plasma screen so guests can watch films or opt instead for “window mode” which would screen images of the world outside.
It was meant to be the first of 30 similar projects, totalling 4,000 bedrooms, in city centre locations throughout the UK. While that has thus far proven ambitious, Mr Mattu believes there is a strong future for the hotel in Birmingham. He said investment in Birmingham city centre, particularly the £600 million regeneration of New Street Station, provides an opportunity for the hotel which is within walking distance.
The city has also been boosted by plans to invest £50 million expanding the Mailbox shopping centre.
Mr Mattu said he planned to invest more than £1 million refurbishing the hotel facilities, including a complete transformation of the hotel reception and lobby area to enhance the guest experience and add value to the brand.
He said: “When I saw that NiteNite was on the market I knew it was a great opportunity to grow the NiteNite brand and concept and expand into similar cosmopolitan cities across the UK and Europe.
"Being from Birmingham, I am passionate about the city and what it has to offer and am excited to be taking a brand that was born in the city out to an international market.”
He added: “NiteNite is ideally situated for the corporate and weekend leisure market, with all local amenities within a short walking distance. Weekend guests have told us it’s cheaper to stay at the hotel then get a taxi home after a night out.”