All in One: Okko Hotel Is A Futuristic Prototype
Hotel checkout can be a tallying-up of minibar sins. Sugary sodas? Salty chips? It can also be time-consuming. Not so at the Okko Hotel Nantes Château in northwestern France. The 80-room property is the prototype for a chain to be built on a revolutionary concept: A centrally located urban four-star hotel, geared to the business traveler, can be both convenient and affordable. Check-in and checkout are conducted via smartphone. Wi-Fi is free, as are unlimited snacks—there are zero additional charges.
Okko is the brainchild of Patrick Norguet, whose Studio Norguet Design handled the Nantes interior and provided most of the furniture, and Olivier Devys, formerly a CEO at Accor, Europe’s largest hotel group. The duo, who met while collaborating on one of Accor’s Sofitel properties, created the Okko concept from scratch, starting with the name. “The sound is easy to pronounce in all languages,” Norguet says.
At the Okko in Nantes, new arrivals discover a 24-hour living room, of sorts, that has replaced the traditional lobby. With the exception of a small service desk—“with one employee, not 10,” Norguet notes—the space is devoted to lounging, eating, and conducting business. Guests can settle, solo, into an upholstered armchair, or perch on a stool at the communal table, which encourages interaction over breakfast or aperitifs. (All included.) Since sustainability and wellness are also emphasized, the food is made from mostly organic regional ingredients, and a gym offers weights, cardio-training machines, and a sauna.
Guest rooms, despite being a tidy 200 square feet, pack in plenty of amenities. Safes are tucked into the bases of the sofas, and nifty desks hang on the walls. Next to the desks, small cabinets with doors wrapped in polyester conceal espresso machines and coffee capsules. The color of polyester changes depending on the floor, and colors will also vary at future Okkos. Two more are slated to open this year, in Lyon and Grenoble.