Look inside: Belfast's new £40-a-night 'pod' hotel
A serviced apartments company is launching a £1.7m project bringing 19 accommodation 'pods' to Belfast city centre.
Dream Apartments is putting the finishing touches to its Dream Pods at 38-42 Bank Square, close to Kelly's Cellars pub and the Mourne Seafood Bar.
A one-night stay in a pod, which Dream Apartments managing director Tom Smyth said could sleep two or more, will cost just £40 when it opens on July 1.
They are like scaled-down bedrooms with what the company called "quirky design features" such as bunk beds and clever storage.
Instead of a hotel dining room, guests can make their own basic brekkie in a communal kitchen.
However, they will get the perks of serviced apartments including a concierge and housekeeping.
Dream Apartments said that it will be targeting the corporate, tourism and leisure markets for short and long-term stays. A boutique hotel with 17 rooms was originally planned for the site.
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Mr Smyth said: "In recent years there has been a significant increase in the demand for high-quality, affordable accommodation in Belfast and we are responding to that need in a unique way.
"Belfast has always been a global city, and as such it attracts many business and short break leisure travellers keen to enjoy all that is on offer.
"So, we are now providing excellent accommodation at an accessible price within a minute's walk of the main shopping, tourism and commerce area of the city."
He said it was bringing much-needed investment to a neglected part of the city centre. "It is great to think of tourists being able to have food in Mourne Seafood Bar (and) a pint of beer in Kelly's Cellars before spending the night in our Dream Pods."
While he said the photographs provided displayed one of the site's bigger rooms, others were still "quite generous" for a pod.
"Our furniture has been made bespoke by Balmoral Furniture for that pod-type feel. Our wardrobe is just a metal bar with gold wire hangers, for example.
"And in any room you can have your workstation, with the en suite built into the room.
"We think this is a really good, generous size and will serve tourists well, and the corporate market looking for a cheaper price point.
"We can cater for people at £40, and there are some companies who just can't afford to pay £90-£120 a night for accommodation for their staff." Janice Gault, chief executive of the NI Hotels Federation, said serviced tourist accommodation of the kind offered by Dream Apartments was a relatively new phenomenon in Belfast.
"They offer a different product to hotels... and are certified as either self-catering or guest accommodation.
"The structure of the premises is down to the developer and will be driven by market demands, customer needs and the actual site involved.
"Choice in the sector has grown and hotels are aware of an increased choice for the visitor.
"However, hotels remain the preferred accommodation options for those seeking serviced accommodation, and in reality, as long as the premises are legal and compliant, they are simply another option for guests to consider.
"Hotels themselves have undergone a metamorphosis in recent years and the sector remains a very dynamic one."
At the recent World Travel Awards 2019 Dream Apartments Belfast was awarded the title of Northern Ireland's leading serviced apartments for the third consecutive year.
Meanwhile, there are also plans for a 14-storey aparthotel around the corner from Bank Square.
Oaklands Holdings has submitted plans to demolish the Lyndon Court building at the junction of Queen Street and College Street and develop 184 self-catering units.