Hybrid hotel takes top award

The Jonas Hotel is nominated for Innovation at the Sheffield Business awards, in addition to its CUBO award win earlier this year

Earlier this year, the University of Sheffield beat higher education institutions from across the country to take the top award, Best Student Housing 2018 in the higher education sector’s CUBO awards. The Jonas Hotel was recognised at an awards night staged at Manchester Metropolitan University.

The unique 79-bedroom hybrid hotel, the first of its kind in the UK, opened in July 2017 and was born from an imaginative £2m revamp of The University of Sheffield’s student residence, Jonas Court.

CUBO judges heard the venue operates as a vibrant hub for communal living and offers affordable and flexible stays. City tourists, visiting business people, academics and students alike can stay from one night to six months and are encouraged to share communal spaces including kitchens, gaming/cinema room, lounges, meeting rooms and study areas. It offers a flexible alternative for students who do not require a longer-term contract as offered by the rest of the university’s accommodation portfolio, which houses approximately 6,500 students across the city in beautiful rural and convenient locations. Quirky design features include upcycled furniture, a graffiti wall and artwork showcasing the city’s history and humour.

“We are so proud to win this prestigious national award. It is recognition for the hard work and energy our teams put in, and champions the fact that we had the courage to create something new,” said Ian Jones, the university’s Head of Accommodation Services.

“Our award puts Sheffield on the map once again. We believe this exciting concept signals a new era in university accommodation that will appear elsewhere in the UK before long.

It is truly flexible, multi-functional and, by serving not only the entire university’s needs but also the Sheffield community, it fosters a vibrant mix of visitors.”

Community at heart

The communal essence of the hotel encourages guests who may be working in Sheffield for long periods, academics from other universities, international students, UK and international leisure tourists and people who just fancy a weekend away in one of the UK’s most friendly and welcoming cities.

The Jonas Hotel was inspired by the revolutionary Student Hotel in Amsterdam and is run by UNICUS, the subsidiary that operates all the university’s commercial businesses. This also includes Halifax Hall Hotel, Inox (contemporary conference, dining and event venue) and The Edge, the university’s bespoke convention facility. In addition to over 20 retail venues, the university facilitates larger conferences at both The Diamond Building and Octagon Centre, each of which can host 1,250 delegates.

Andy Flowers, General Manager of both The Jonas Hotel and Halifax Hall Hotel, commented: “This award is the icing on the cake. Since opening, we’ve welcomed a real mix of guests from as far away as Colombia and Australia. Our concept has drawn students, employees and visitors of our university and Sheffield Hallam University, plus companies such as Siemens and the Neurology Academy, universities in China and Spain and visitors to Sheffield Doc/Fest this year and next.”

From strength to strength

Building on the hotel’s successes, it has now been nominated in the Innovation category at the ‘Sheffield Business Awards’. Steve Timmins, Business Development Manager at The University of Sheffield, commented: “Sixteen months after opening, The Jonas Hotel goes from strength to strength; our guests are loving the ambiance of the hotel, the relaxed environment and the facilities available for studying, relaxation and recreation. We are presently working extensively with Sheffield City Council within the ‘Outdoor City’ project to encourage UK and international leisure tourists to visit Sheffield for cycling, walking and general outdoor activity holidays as the Peak District is right on our doorstep.”

The University of Sheffield has held a number of positions on the ASRA Management Committee and will be attending ASRA 2019, which takes place Sunday 7 to Wednesday 10 April 2019, at the Macdonald Aviemore Resort.

For more information, please visit asra.ac.uk