22 September 2009
On Sunday, we were lucky enough to get mogul Tony Fernandes on the phone to discuss a few things surrounding the arrival of his Air Asia X airline on US soil. He also happens to be the man behind the Kuala Lumpur-based chain of budget Tune Hotels.
While we were discussing the likelihood of the US seeing cheap flights to Southeast Asia on Air Asia X, we didn't forget to slip in a few questions regarding if Tune Hotels would come along for the ride.
And here's what Tony said...
Tune Hotels are "very definitely" coming to the United States in the near future (we're talking like two years here). Tune being just "as big a brand as Air Asia," it's also a brand "that could travel anywhere in the world."
Catering to the budget-minded Holiday Inn-type customer, Tune is even more no-frills, but then you save quite a bit of money by choosing Tune. Nightly rates average $20, but like a low-cost airline, you'll incur extra charges for add-ons (internet, towel rental, air conditioning). One of our HotelChatter reporters took the Tune Hotel challenge at the Kuala Lumpur flagship back in March, and spent only $104 for three nights in a double room with those extras.
As it stands right now, the seven Tune hotels are only to be found in Malaysia and Indonesia, and even those Indonesia ones (in Bali, of course) are brand-spanking new. Still, Tony Fernandes has his eyes set on the prize, and that is worldwide proliferation of the Tune Hotel and Air Asia brands, in the maverick spirit of his former boss Richard Branson.