London attracts 15 million visitors a year from overseas and 12 million from other parts of Britain, and these figures are set to increase. With half a million people expected in London for the Olympics and the ensuing increase in visitors, a study commissioned by Mayor Ken Livingstone suggests 36,000 rooms will be needed during the period from 2001 to 2016, the equivalent of 2,400 new rooms a year.
Away from Home will explore how the hotel industry is responding to this increase in demand. While the big chains control 43 per cent of the market, boutique hotels such as The Zetter and Malmaison in Clerkenwell and the Moran in Chiswick provide interesting alternatives, and London is leading the way in its provision of budget hotels. So, who will win the brand war? Will budget beat boutique? Or will chain combat luxury?
Peter Murray, director of New London Architecture, says: "Even without the Olympics, London needs to provide new hotel spaces to meet increasing demand. We need to ensure that London is providing the quality of environment that matches our aspirations as a world city. Designers and operators have a key role to play in London's tourist offer, whether at the luxury or economy ends of the market."
Through the exhibition and talks series, Away from Home will investigate the impact of this period of sustained growth in the capital; considering the effect new planning laws will have on development and where all these new hotels will be located.
Nearly three-quarters are in the central boroughs, but a number of development hotspots have been highlighted from Paddington to the Greenwich Peninsula.
NLA has invited leading players in the hotel industry, architects and designers to debate what the new hotels will be like, what the hotel room of the future will look like and how the current stock is being updated.
Away from Home runs until 27 October at New London Architecture, The Building Centre, 26 Store Street, WC1. Opening times: Monday to Friday, 9am to 6pm; and Saturday, 10am to 5pm. Admission: free.