WE have seen a proliferation of hotels across the UK. Some belong to large chains whilst others are owned and operated by smaller operations. Catering for all tastes from city breaks to rural retreats, there is something to suit all budgets.
Into the sector a new competitor has entered, hoping to win a slice of the profitable hospitality pie.
Taking a nautical inspiration, the company behind the initiative, HMG, have launched their first floating hotel – or, as they like to call it, a floatel.
Portland in Dorset has been chosen as the best location to see just how successful this concept can be. Wild, natural and ruggedly beautiful. This tied island marks the southernmost point on the Jurassic Coast and is joined to the mainland by Chesil Beach. Its isolated location, quaint villages and rocky coastal scenery give the island its unique atmosphere, perfect for exploring.
What better place to moor this fantastic and all-inclusive offering?
Given its name, guests staying at the Bibby Stockholm might expect the floatel to reflect Scandinavian design and influences. Simplicity, minimalism, functionality, muted tones and sleek wooden design, however, are not very much in evidence. The floatel’s style is unmistakably a nod to the brutalist architectural movement.
What visitors will have are some spectacular views from their well-appointed en-suite cabins. On offer through the large picture windows are either glorious panoramic seascapes, or for those preferring a more land-based outlook, a vista overlooking the quaint quayside. Some might quibble that there are no balconies with sun loungers, but overall, the cabins are more than comfortable for two people sharing, with flat-screen TVs standard in all rooms.
Facilities are well thought-through and will give rivals food for thought on how best to cater for large numbers of guests. However, it is undoubtedly in the area of ‘all-inclusive’ where Bibby Stockholm scores highest, taking this popular concept to new levels.
On-site medical services, free wi-fi, a faith room, laundry services, TV and games rooms will ensure that even on rainy days visitors will have plenty to keep them occupied – all included.
Food lovers can enjoy an all-day restaurant serving good-quality breakfasts, lunches and dinners with an emphasis on Middle Eastern and African cuisine – all included.
And what better way to burn off a few of those guilty extra calories than by visiting the on-site gymnasium? Again, all included.
An hourly free shuttle bus service allows visitors to explore the vibrant locality with ease. This and 24-hour security mark the Bibby Stockholm as a real breath of fresh air in the hospitality sector.
HMG are rightly proud of their new floatel, and a spokesperson has said that if this venture proves as successful as they hope, Britain can look forward to many more such establishments appearing around the coastline in a very short space of time.
Verdict: An intriguing entrant to the crowded and burgeoning ‘all inclusive’ sector. For cost-conscious vacationers, the Bibby Stockholm represents outstanding value for money and will almost certainly find a niche in the marketplace. HMG are well known for their financial muscle and it is highly likely they will invest heavily in making this a success.