IT’S A first for Southampton and a first for the world, claim the owners of a new concept in hotels.

The world’s first “hometel” – room2 – opened in a former office block in Queens Terrace this week.

Room2 founder and managing director Robert Godwin said: “We’re looking to fill a huge gap in the market where people – whether they’re working or on holiday – want a much more flexible approach to staying away, allowing them to maintain the routine they enjoy at home.”

Mayor of Southampton Councillor Stephen Barnes-Andrews officially opened room2 at a launch party attended by more than 70 of the city’s business leaders.

Guests can check-in online and access their room from their smart phone with no keys needed.

Long-term locker spaces means guests working away from home for long spells can leave items over the weekend and return on Monday.

Mr Goodwin explained: “room2 bridges the gap between an Airbnb and a hotel. Guests have their own living room, a work desk complete with USB chargers and free Wi Fi together with kitchen space but they also have the peace of mind of hotel-level security and cleanliness.”

Other facilities include a continental breakfast and coffee bar, a pantry-style shop selling ingredients and food that guests can cook in their rooms, a bar, laundry and dry cleaning service, and a communal space for working and socialising known as the Living Room.

As an opening offer, room2 is giving a 50 per cent discount on its 70 rooms throughout June when booked directly and in advance.