Micro-Hotels Offer Big Advantages For Food Enthusiasts

April 2, 2020

If your hotel offered to buy you breakfast lunch and dinner, from unique eateries around the city, in exchange for taking a smaller room; would you take them up on it?

At a ADR of almost 30% less than the cost of the 4 other standard hotels I usually book in Philly - booking rooms for my team at a micro hotel like #Pod (Philadelphia’s first micro-hotel) means booking a room that’s about 50-100sqft smaller. Which might not sound all that attractive but when it results in a typical cost savings equal to or greater than the cost of buying everyone breakfast, lunch and dinner…you’ve got a pretty compelling offer to consider.

It didn’t take long for curiosity and fiscal responsibility to get the better of me. I recently booked 3 rooms for 3 nights at Pod Philadelphia and saved an average of $50 per room ...or approx $150 per night.

Here’s a look at some of what that savings (more than) afforded us in between our working sessions:

DAY 1: $61.00

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Spicy Porker from Porco’s ($12)

Herbed porchetta, pork crackling and jus served with fennel slaw and roasted long hot pepper relish on a fresh house made ciabatta

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Pepperoni Pizza from Pizzeria Bedia ($26)

Tomato, whole milk mozzarella, galen’s good old gouda (from Amsterdam) and pepperoni

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Sea Bass Tacos from El Vez ($19)

Sweet potato purée, grilled scallion, fried jalapeños

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Mahi Mahi Tacos from El Vez ($14)

Red cabbage, avocado, chipotle pepper remoulade

DAY 2: $45.00

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Suadero Chilango Tacos from Condesa ($14)

Brisket and Tongue Tacos served on the best tortillas we’ve ever had...so good in fact (with the perfect amount of chew and elasticity to hold up to braised meats) that we couldn’t decide which we liked more, the tortillas for the filling

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Pescado Frito Tacos from Condesa ($18)

Hake fried in a light masa tempura and served with a chipotle crema in those amazing house-limed stone ground tortillas

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Two Philly Classics ($13)

Cheesesteak from Jim’s : Wiz With ($9)

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Giant Slice of Plain from Lorenzo’s ($4.00

DAY 3: $57.95

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The Best Salad We’ve Ever Eaten at Vernick Coffee Bar ($14)

Grilled Romaine Hearts, Aged Cheddar, and Figs barely dressed in a sweet Buttermilk Vinaigrette

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Short Rib Pastrami Sandwich at Vernick Coffee Bar ($23)

Short Rib Pastrami, Sugar Snaps & Pickled Mustard Seeds

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Dry Pot Style Chicken at Han Dynasty ($15.95)

A sizzling mini wok with Chicken cooked in a spicy hot pot sauce with black mushrooms, bamboo shoots, bell peppers, and Sichuan peppercorns served over rice.

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Cannoli from Termini Bros. : Ricotta Cheese ($5)

Now that I’m more aware of the option to choose “a taste of the city on the house” over loyalty / reward points that I can eventually cash in for free stays - I can’t say that I’m always going to opt for the points now...especially when I’m traveling for business and booking multiple rooms.

As these lifestyle-conscious models grow, so will the abundance of opportunities the create not only for independent restaurateurs like you and Cybill- but for those of us who will also benefit from the increased practicality of restaurant recommendation software and concierge utility apps like COURSE (thecourseapp.com).

Pod Philadelphia has all the makings for an enjoyable and immersive lodging experience. We found the common areas met our need to work in a quiet space with minimal distractions and we were able to spread out comfortably.

After only four months of being in operation, it looks as though they're poised for success.

In the interim, I’m looking forward to the practical common areas, intelligently designed rooms, lux baths and bedding “that feels like a cloud” at our next micro-hotel stop: The Revolution Hotel in Boston.

Given our experience, I can’t see micro-hotels as a fad or a trend. This model feels a lot like a gateway to increased travel, luxury bookings and, because they cater to the younger more mobile and more entrepreneurial segment of the market who are often forced to cut back on their dining expense; we’re likely to see more and more of these price-friendly modern models popping up in destination cities across the country…where “dining/meals” is the last expense you want to reel in.

As a restaurant operator, I think it could be a pretty symbiotic arrangement and would encourage other operators to start thinking about how they can position their outlet(s) to be more appealing to this growing market segment. It might not be a bad idea to introduce: smaller and/or sharing plates, “add a piece” options for those smaller / plates, free delivery, communal tables, outdoor seating, an abundance of strategically placed electrical outlets, co-branding alliances and/or unique offers for nearby micro-hotel guests if they aren’t already.

Course icons by Icons8.com, sensa.co, Canva.com & Hawser.org
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