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Airport hotels with their deserted lobbies, lifeless guest rooms and sad and stranded travelers, can be depressing places, but the CitizenM Paris at Charles De Gaulle airport shattered every airport hotel stereotype from the moment we walked inside.
Natural light streamed in from all sides of the whimsically decorated lobby, which held bright red chairs and sofas, ceiling-height black bookshelves crammed with books and tchotchkes, and subtle nods to airplanes. More refreshingly, there were actual people hanging out in the lobby-- watching TV, working at one of the many tables, having drinks at the bar or reading a book/tablet in a quiet nook.
Given that the rooms upstairs are tiny, it makes sense that guests would choose to socialize downstairs but if you want to hunker down in your guestroom, you'll have a giant king bed, a Samsung tablet next to you that controls everything in the room from the blinds to the TV and mood-lighting, free movies, free WiFi, a narrow desk to work at or to place all your gadgets on for charging, a wide shower berth, and just enough space on the floor to do some squats and sit-ups.
Best of all, the hotel windows are triple-glazed, meaning you won't hear the rumble of the airplane engines unless you step outside.
In short, the world's airport needs more of CitizenM Hotels, which are genuinely fun (and not some forced corporate idea of fun) and make that random layover actually enjoyable.
Here's a quick breakdown of our stay at the CitizenM Paris at Charles de Gaulle:
Private pool at Rumah Surga
Sometimes being a hotel fan feels like it’s all about what’s new and pricey, where has the best pillow menu or tanning butler. But as I realized this past couple of weeks, sometimes a cheaper experience can be a much more real experience.
I was in Bali and had 10 days scheduled in Ubud. Initially I had fantasies of trying out all these kinds of fancy new places. Then I remembered I couldn’t afford even one night in most of those hotels. So I booked a villa instead: Villa Rumah Surga. It was $58 a night instead of the $250+ most of the decent hotels were, and I wasn’t expecting great shakes. But great shakes is what I got.
HotelChatter Reviews / Buenos Aires Hotels / Budget Hotels / Affordable Hotels / Argentina Hotels / Room Mate Hotels / → All Tags
Yesterday we introduced you to the Htl 9 de Julio, your former Room Mate in Buenos Aires that’s now in soft opening as an independent hotel. It offers your standard funky Room Mate design, a decent location… and impossibly low rates – just $38 is all we paid for both our stays this month. But what do you get for your $38?
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When is a Room Mate not a Room Mate? When it’s your Argentinian Room Mate.
This is the lobby of the Htl 9 de Julio (a proper millennial name, if ever there was one) in Buenos Aires. At least, that’s what the sign on the door says. But inside the building, it’s a different story. The signs in the elevators? Room Mate hotels. The floorplans? Room Mate. The emergency exit and bathroom signs? Room Mate.
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Good news for the cost-conscious business traveller to London: a few weeks from now, there will be a fifth Tune Hotel to choose from, this time among Canary Wharf’s corporate high-rises. Four and a half years after we first tested its Westminster location, this 130-room hotel will bring some new interior design to go with the same low, low, low rates the group is known for.
Above a double room with window, of which there are 85. Another 22 doubles do without the exterior aspect, while for the 20 twin rooms the only choice is the windowed kind. Three accessible rooms (also with window) take it to the total of 130 rooms, walking distance from Canary Wharf tube station (the Jubilee line will take you to the heart of the West End in less than half an hour) and West India Quay for the DLR overground.
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A “globe-trotting, design-loving clientele”. A fashion theme. Lots of communal spaces. Uh oh - this can only mean one thing. A hotel tailored to millennials.
Where is the latest city to suffer the indignity? Why, it’s poor, beautiful Florence. The Hotel Garibaldi Blu, which opened last week on Piazza Santa Maria Novella is themed around jeans – yes, jeans – which, actually, originated in Genoa. What that means, basically, is that the palette is blue.
There are more airport locations in the pipeline (Milan’s hotel is at Malpensa airport), and rumors about Moxy in New Orleans have already made their way to us, but we also know that London will get not one, not two, but three Moxy’s (Moxii?) over the next few years.
The first London – and UK – hotel will be at Heathrow Airport, on Bath Road. As much as that street name may seem of little significance, it puts Moxy not just next to the airfield, but also close to cousin Renaissance and competition like the Sheraton Skyline, on a strip of hotels that you may have seen out the window while waiting in the endless queue for take-off at LHR. Moxy Heathrow Airport will have 422 rooms.
Over the summer, we first looked at Motel One London Tower Hill, a budget-chic concept from Germany making its way into the British capital with a 258-room hotel on Minories. True to its word, it achieved its planned opening of late 2014, with reservations up and running from this week.
Room rates start just under £100 (about $150) a night, with rates for tonight, December 1, at £113 ($177), going up to £132 ($206) a night if you want breakfast. That’s £9.50 ($15) for breakfast per person, rather than the £7.50 ($12) we were promised back in July. WiFi is free no matter what.
We can see three room types, all of which share the above image, so we assume that is indeed the final design: Queen & Double rooms that cost the same, and “City View” rooms that go for £20 ($31) a night more – perhaps these are in the taller part of the structure that reaches 18 stories high.
One of the more aloof members of Atlanta staff
Yesterday we introduced you to the Atlanta Hotel in Bangkok and its militant anti-sex tourist policy. The Atlanta is a budget hotel – rooms start from 800THB ($24) and go up to 1950THB ($59). But despite its low prices, it’s run with a rod of iron – it opened in the 1950s and checking in today is like stepping back in time a few decades. And its attention to detail is certainly better than plenty of five star places we’ve stayed in. Why? These 10 reasons why, for starters:
Another day, another hotel welcome drink. A pineapple milkshake, since you ask – so far, so blah.
But wait, what’s that on the coaster? Ah yes:
ZERO TOLERANCE & SLEAZE FREE ZONE
NO SEX TOURISTS, JUNKIES, LOUTS & OTHER DEGENERATES
Of course, this isn’t the first time the Atlanta has warned you of its guest policy. “SEX TOURISTS NOT WELCOME,” shouts the homepage. “Visitors who object to any of The Atlanta's policies or who intend to spend their time in Thailand whoring, behaving badly, indulging in alcohol abuse and illicit drugs should stay elsewhere,” says the long caveat page. The message is repeated on the email confirming your reservation. And if you hadn’t got it by then, this is what greets you beside the front door:
Call us snobs, but London goes better with Paris and Rome than with Hamburg and Copenhagen. We’re not the only ones who think so, either – Generator Hostels are opening properties in the City of Light/Eternal City next year.
Generator Paris (above) will be the largest Generator to date, with 950 beds in the 10th arrondissement (AKA the Canal St Martin nabe). It’ll be designed by Toronto-based Anwar Mekhayech, who’s also worked for Soho House and Momofuku, and will include a café-lounge and an intimate bar”. Prices will start from €25 for a dorm and €98 for a private ensuite room (for two people). Pretty decent, for Paris.
A Mastic Sour with the Monastery of St John on the hill, top right
We blame the Grande Bretagne in Athens. After we tasted the Tears of Chios cocktail at its rooftop Selfie Spot bar, we got a little obsessed with mastiha, a liquor flavored with mastic (a gum-resin thing that’s produced on the island of Chios). Mastiha cocktails, neat mastiha after dinner – it’s all we wanted to drink in Greece.
So when we were on the island of Patmos, we went in search of mastiha-infused cocktails. Patmos is a notoriously un-party island (it’s home to a huge monastery, various convents and the Cave of the Apocalypse) so this was always going to be a tall order.
We started at Patmos Aktis, one of the poshest hotels on the island, which had looked lush from afar. But then we left immediately because the server in the (deserted) restaurant threw a tantrum about us only wanting drinks.
We ended up in port town Skala at Chris Hotel, not nearly as rarefied a place as Patmos Aktis (right by the port, for starters – and then there’s the name), but not nearly as snooty. The terrace bar, which had been buzzing every time we drove by, was full – and not just with tourists, but mainly with locals. This, apparently, is where the young of Patmos go to party.