Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

Performing to the Tune: how to conceptualise a hotel

by Fiona Ferbrache

Tune Hotel, Kuala Lumpur

The ‘no frills’ airline sector has diversified recently as Tony Fernandes, who runs low-cost airline Air Asia, has brought his Tune hotel chain to the UK.  The first Tune hotel opened near Westminster this summer and charges as little as £9 a night.  The strategy behind the cost is that any extras are paid for separately: a towel and hotel soap will cost you £1.50, while £3 will buy you television access.  We might talk about this hotel in terms of travel or mobility geographies, or as part of urban geography, but a recent paper by Rose et al. (2010) inspires something different.

The paper takes buildings as its subject and argues for conceptualizing them as performances.  Behind this thesis is the lack of attention paid to the constructive role that human emotions play in (re)producing buildings.  Thus, Rose et al. set an agenda for geographers to consider human feelings of buildings, feelings in buildings and feelings about buildings.  So how does the Tune hotel perform?

Firstly, reports commend the high quality beds that people feel are extremely comfortable – top marks for a good night sleep.  Secondly, the hotel performs less well on space as customers report a sense of claustrophobia in the small rooms.  In terms of feelings about this hotel – I shall leave you to make your own mind up by logging onto

Gordon, B. (2010) Inside the Tune hotel, ‘Westminster’, London Telegraph 27 August 2010

Rose, G., Degen, M. & Basdas, B. (2010) More on ‘big things’: building events and feelings. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers. Vol.35, 3. pp.334-349

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