New hotel business model launching in Sheffield

New hotel business model launching in Sheffield

06 July 2017

A groundbreaking new model for the 21st Century hotel is about to be unveiled by the University of Sheffield.

Its student residence Jonas Court in the Endcliffe Village is being transformed into a unique accommodation and affordable hybrid aiming to encourage visitors of all ages and backgrounds to share conversation as they share a roof.

Described as a vibrant new hub for communal living, 79-room Jonas opens in August after two years in the planning.

Inspired by the Student Hotel in Amsterdam, a revolutionary concept pioneered by the Dutch capital’s private sector, city tourists, visiting business people, academics and students alike can stay from one night to six months and will be encouraged to step out of their rooms to share communal spaces.

“Jonas aims to give truly flexible hotel accommodation choices while fostering shared life experiences between a vibrant mix of visitors,” said Ian Jones, the university’s head of accommodation services.

“Encouraging that coming together of cultures, backgrounds, age and experience reflects entirely the ethos of University Of Sheffield. We believe no other UK university is utilising its accommodation in this way. It signals a new era.”

The model has been proven in Europe, he added. “Its introduction to the UK was long overdue and we are proud to be the pioneers.”

The £2million refurbishment of the jaded 1990s building named after Joseph Jonas, the German steel baron who became a benefactor of the University of Sheffield in Victorian times, is being led by Sheffield architects Hadfield Cawkwell Davidson.

A key feature of Jonas is its ground floor, devoted entirely to communal social space. Designed to foster connectivity between people of differing backgrounds, it features a cafe-bar, a gaming/cinema room, games room, three lounges and two quiet areas for study.

Accommodation over the three upper floors features 57 en-suite bedrooms with shared kitchens. Classed as long-stay, they are for students or visitors staying from a week up to six months. A further 22 en-suite hotel rooms can be rented for seven days or less. Andy Flowers, who combines managing Jonas with Halifax Hall, the flagship hotel run by UNICUS, the subsidiary which operates the university’s commercial arm, commented: “Jonas will offer a unique experience and the flexibility and quality all visitors to Sheffield need, whether they are here to study, work, visit relatives or explore the city.

“It fuses a fresh, characterful environment for students with the comfort guests expect of a good hotel and is specifically designed to bring people together in a co-living environment. We invite people to live the Jonas way and foster understanding, entrepreneurialism and friendships.”

Rooms will cost from £25 per night for long stay guests and from £55 for short stay and the quirky interior design features locally-made and upcycled furniture, a graffiti wall and artwork showcasing the city’s personality, history and humour.