The Student Hotel, with branches in Amsterdam, The Hague and Rotterdam, and shortly also in Eindhoven and Groningen, has a special formula: students receive furnished accommodation for long or short periods with full service: 24-hour surveillance, fitness, library, housekeeping, launderette and even their own bicycles.
Even though the project in Maastricht still has to pass the permit phase – The Student Hotel expects to welcome the first students in September 2017 – , there has been criticism among politicians and Maastricht hotels for weeks.
Mid-August, the Maastrichtse Volkspartij wrote to Gerdo van Grootheest, the alderman involved: “Is the Executive aware that the branches of TSH in Amsterdam-West and Amsterdam-Centre, Rotterdam, The Hague and Liege in fact hardly have any students staying there and when students apply, they are told that there are no places available, upon which the rooms are rented per night?” The CDA (Christian Democrats) also has its doubts about the concept – they want to know whether it fits in with the so-called Hotel Memorandum. Maastricht has a Hotel Memorandum because there is an excess of hotel rooms in the city. Only new hotels that ‘add something different’ are admitted.
According to the city executive, The Student Hotel most definitely fits in with this policy. “This is a special concept for Maastricht, which meets the requirements. It features a combination of various functions and facilities (with a limited role for short-term hotel accommodation of up to four weeks).” There will be a maximum of 98 rooms on average to be rented annually. In practice, this means probably that during the academic year, most guests are likely to be students, while during the summer, the rooms will be vacant and can be rented out to tourists.
The political parties CDA and the Maastrichtse Volkspartij find the answers given by the city executive “inaccurate and suggestive”. They believe that The Student Hotel does in fact focus specifically on hotel guests. “This is a 100 per cent commercial enterprise and certainly not or hardly at all geared towards students and even less towards long-term student residency.”
Before the former Sphinx factory, a national monument, undergoes a transformation, the shell will be renovated. A new roof, new staircases, lift, electrics, sewerage, et cetera, says Erwin Gerardu, communication advisor for Belvédère Maastricht. The renovation costs of approximately 20 million euro will be paid for by the city (Belvédère Wijkontwikkelingsmaatschappij BV). The Student Hotel will pay for the transformation, estimated to be 17 to 18 million. In addition, the city intends to sign a 75-year ground lease agreement with The Student Hotel.
Student accommodation will cover sixty per cent of the Eiffel building, with rooms ranging from more than 16 square meters for various target groups. Permanent accommodation is not possible. Students may stay for a maximum of 12 months, for one or two semesters (ten months) or shorter, for example five weeks. The Student Hotel has not yet specified any rates for its Maastricht location.