Staying in ultra budget F1 Hotel: What is it like?
When you are looking just for a good nights sleep, when you have transportation to catch early in the morning, and you’re not interested in nightlife or sunset-watching, where do you prefer to stay? We had an early flight from Toulouse just recently, and instead of staying in the beautiful town (which I would otherwise recommend), we chose to stay close to Blagnac Airport to maximise sleeping time, and stayed in ultra budget F1 Hotel.
Blagnac is also a large production site for Airbus Industries – it is here that the final aircraft are assembled. With it comes a huge production facility, hangars, offices and a large business park. And if that isn’t enough, ATR aircraft (manufacturer of medium-sized turboprop aircraft) also has its headquarters in Blagnac. With this comes a demand for decent business hotels, and there are indeed around 20 hotels in the airport area, mostly international chains.
So why so cheap? Why F1?
Had I overspent in the parapharmacie? Lost all my money? Gone skint before the next paycheck arrived? To be honest, I was curious. Having come very close to staying in a Formule1 hotel in Nancy ten years back, my penny-pinching friend and I looked around the eerily empty lobby and automated check-in then decided to spend a few EURO more at the newly refurbished Etap Hotel across the Parking lot, it looked so bare and institutional. Now AccorHotels which owns from luxury properties like Raffles and BanyanTree to super low budget like F1 and Ibis Budget, has rebranded its budget end hotels and is slowly refurbishing them. Formule1 is now called F1 in France, but you will still find plenty Formule1 Hotels in Belgium, the UK and India, while the rest of the super budget end of Accor has been turned into Ibis Budget hotels.
F1 is the super super cheap end and when I really just need to sleep, I don’t care if the hotel is atmospheric, has good breakfast or beautiful views, because I won’t be able to appreciate these beautiful extras. As our trip was already busting the budget with nice lunches, lots of cafe stops and a number of shopping trips to paraphamacies and independent perfumers and vineyards, we thought “Lets save aton of money on that last night before our early flight” and booked us a room at the F1 Hotel Toulouse.
Accor group hotels of different price categories often tend to be clustered together, especially in out-of-town service areas or airports. This is very practical, because it often makes them easier to find, and there is usually at least one restaurant on site. At Touliuse Airport, the F1 hotel was crammed between a dual carriageway, an Ibis Budget and a Pullman hotel. Due to the proximity to the airport, most noise came from aircraft. It’s probably 500m walk from the nearest tram stop, Nadol or Daurat.
The hotel was refurbished in 2018 and everything looked new and fresh. The building is an ugly prefab building with no lift.
The shared facilities looked really clean and practical. Yes, I had a peek, because I am curious, and also because I was looking for a toilet roll because whoever made up our room had been stingy with toilet paper – but in the end, I got one from an unlocked linen cupboard.
We had booked a “cabrio” room which is quite high up the F1 food chain and has en-suite facilities.
A lot of the surfaces are covered in “travel poster” wallpaper which gives the corridor a somewhat psychedelic feel. Thankfully, only one wall was covered in it in our room, the rest was… still slightly unusual but calmer.
Our “Cabrio Room” was tiny, enough for a small double bed and a tiny bit of room to squeeze past it. If we were in any way large or challenged in our mobility, we’d have had trouble. Don’t come her if you expect hospital corners either, but the bed linen was fresh and clean. Don’t really care if the bed was made up a bit bumpily. Mattresses were relatively new, firm and comfortable. Our window looked pout into a featureless grassy courtyard with bunnies in it – not the worst view for an airport hotel, but not a prime plane spotting location. We wedged the door shut with out ancient Samsonite Oyster at night – not because we felt unsafe, but because there was nothere else to put it.
Last not least… let’s stick a few pics of our minuscule bathroom here, because there wouldn’t be anything else to put here otherwise. Our room had a tiny unit en-suite. The shower, despite a a few loose bit here and there,w as fine, and not the smallest I’d been in (this would be in Malaysian trains or Greek budget hotels). The sink was tiny, and apart from a soap dispenser, there was nothing else in the bathroom. Pared down minimalism at its best, perhaps one for spartan zero waste lovers. Another thing you would need to bring is a towel or hire one for 3EURO in reception. For me, minimalism gone too far, but from a waste-reducing point of view, pure genius.
You expect a special treat for a 33EURO a night room in Western Europe? Well. Maybe you should stick to Southeast Asia or hunt out some other super cheap gems. I should say here that for the small price, everything was super super clean, which should be a given, but it often isn’t. Not even in our cleanliness-obsessed Europe. The hotel and its facilities are extremely reduced to the bare essentials – clean, good sleep WiFi, coffee. If you expect no more, you can happily stay here.
I should mention that we had an unexpectedly nice dinner ten minutes walk away at “Mon Bistro”. Not keen to order pizza (which you can order to the hotel and eat in the small dining area in the lobby) or try the delicacies of the Courtepaille Chain Restaurant nearby, we walked through the industrial estate to find this neat little place, which had the highest ratings in a 1km-radius.
It’s basically business lunch served all day, but we somehow couldn’t bother to ride the tram/metro back into Toulouse.
What’s not so good?
For starters, finding it can be a bit of a hassle. Its best to look it up on a map before, because it squeezed behind the Pullman and the Ibis Budget and not visible from the road, and a sign or two wouldn’t have gone amiss.
There is no lift. It’s only two storeys of prefab matter, but when you’re looking a case of wine in an ancient suitcase with you, every step upwards is a step too much.
Oh! And did I mention the lack of towels? To be fair, the website advised you to hire a towel for 3 EURO.
We stayed at the ultra budget F1 hotel Toulouse Airport.
Address: Avenue Didier Daurat, 31700 Blagnac, France
I paid 38 EURO in July 2019 for an ensuite double room on Booking.com.
Nearest Airport: Toulouse-Blagnac (TLS). To get to the hotel, take the tram Stops “Nadot” or “Daurat” on the T2 Tramway. Ypu should be able to get there with a singfle ticket (1.70EURO, from vending machines in tram and metro stations) as you are not going to the airport directly. From the hotel, the airport is approximately 600-700m walk away on flat terrain. We walked it with some heavy luggage in 20 minutes – there isn’t an airport shuttle from the F1 hotel.
Features: 24hour reception, rooms with shared facilities, en suite rooms, TV in room, good WiFi, coffee, vending machines, small communal area
Doesn’t have: Pretty much anything else
If you want to spend a little more or the F1 is full, I recommend the Aerel Hotel. It is an independent hotel super close to the airport, maybe 300-400 metres to the entrance. It is a moderately sized hotel with sparse, modern elegant interiors. They have a decent on-site restaurant and despite situated in a bleak business estate, manage to have a pretty courtyard garden. Disclosure: We did not stay here but ate at the restaurant of the hotel and had a look around.
Disclosure: This trip was entirely self funded. I will only review and recommend places that I have stayed in myself, unless otherwise stated. You can trust me for the whole, unbiased truth. I have received no monetary or non-monetary rewards for linking aside from some affiliate links. In this case, this post contains some affiliate links to Booking.com. This means that I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you book through the affiliate links. More details on my affiliate link policy are here.