Budget hotel group Travelodge has announced a £223m investment in the brand, following the group's financial restructuring last year.
Plans include the 14 new hotels, 420 jobs, a customer-focused new room concept and a £57m refurbishment programme across the 528-strong Travelodge portfolio.
In August 2012, the company entered a Compulsory Voluntary Arrangement (CVA) in a bid to put the company, which was struggling with debts of £635m, onto a more stable financial footing.
Travelodge's chief executive, Grant Hearn said that the new investment will help the company grow and strengthen with the aim of making it the best value hotel chain in the UK.
The two Spanish hotel openings - in Barcelona and Madrid - will boost the Travelodge presence in the country to six.
Hearn said that with a strong demand for value from customers, there is a great opportunity in the UK to expand the budget hotel sector. "The UK at less than 20% remains a growing market for branded budget accommodation, as it is still well behind matured markets such as the USA and France," he explained. "In response to this growing opportunity, our growth strategy remains in the forefront of our new business plan."
The 14 new hotels will create 371 of the 420 new jobs, with 30 new opportunities being created by the company's management apprenticeship programme (JuMP) and 19 at head office.
Travelodge's new room concept is described by Hearn as offering "more comfort, quality and style" with a "luxurious bed that is normally found in high end hotels" as its hero. Overseen by the company's in-house interior designer, Frances Whitley, the room is the result of feedback from customers who have asked for "an inviting, functional, warm, relaxing environment, with the main focus of the room being an extremely comfortable bed".
The new Travelodge bed - with an 800 pocket sprung mattress - is made by Sleepeeze. Two space-saving truckle beds in the base are intended to replace the traditional sofa bed and provide an enhanced service for families.
All new hotels being opened this year will incorporate the new room design, with 80% of Travelodge's estate incorporating the design by autumn 2014.
Travelodge is now working with its customers to redesign its restaurants and public areas.
The £223m investment is split between the new hotels (£141.5m), refurbishment programme (£57m), marketing (£12m), new revenue management system and website (£2.5m) and maintenance (£10m).
By Janet Harmer
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