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It’s summer, and wherever you live, that means a trip to Europe. New to the continent? Keen to try something other than your major chains, but nervous about going independent? Here are six of the best European chains. NB: These are all also suitable for anti-chain snobs.
When we had our first drink at Gŏng at Shangri-La at the Shard a few weeks ago, we spied a number of cranes across the river working on neighboring hotel projects 10 Trinity Square and citizenM Tower Hill, and made a mental note to have a closer look on the ground.
So we did this past weekend, with above the imposing façade of the former Port of London Authority, due to become mixed-use complex 10 Trinity Square, with 120-room hotel, restaurant, club, spa, and 41 residences. The glass building you see poking out on the left is the car-melting Walkie-Talkie tower on Fenchurch Street.
There are no room types, of course, but cushy furniture and fittings, multicultural plugs and sockets, and a Samsung tablet to control everything in the room all get a thumbs up. Triple glazing means you get to enjoy watching the planes without hearing them, and Vitra furniture (and floating zeppelins in the lobby) means you get to sit around in style. It’s walking distance from Terminal 3, or 20 minutes from T2.
Prices this week look pretty decent – ranging from €67.15 ($90) to €109.65 ($150), with the rest of the month looking steady at the €75 mark and the entire month of August at €67. Note that these are “citizens only” rates – sign up to their mailing list and you automatically get 15% off and free cancellation until 6pm day of arrival. Très handy.
What are those? Very much like they did in Rotterdam before, they’re offering you a free night stay if you’re willing try out the hotel before it’s officially open. The details you can find here, and last we checked only next week Tuesday (June 3) still had availability, so hurry up if you’re interested.
The good news is that shortly after the hotel will be welcoming normal guests as well, with a room the first weekend of June going for a fairly reasonable €79 ($108) a night, which can go down to €67.15 ($91) a night if you’re a registered citizen with the group. You’ll pretty much find all the usual citizenM aspects in the hotel, from the compact rooms with super king-size beds to Vitra furniture-filled public spaces.
Now if only citizenM could delight us and bring those rates to the heart of Paris as well?
Here's a snapshot CitizenM posted on Facebook last week. Um, yeah. Not much to look at except the funny tag lines ("New York luxury, New Jersey prices") but the good news is, the hotel is in very much works and should open in 2016. And then after that, CitizenM is hoping for four more hotels in NYC. We say, let's focus on the Bowery first.
We had a look around yesterday and were shown the room in the top photo. It is neat, clean, bright and, with features like a big bed and a large underbed storage drawer, makes good use of its limited space, but, yeah, pretty small.
Last week, CitizenM Hotels dissed Holiday Inn on the internet by "selling" an old front desk on Craigslist as part of an April Fool's Day joke. Today, they've done it again--by parking a stretch-limo out in front of the Trump International Hotel near Central Park with a sign on the side of the car that says,
"Luxury is free WiFi and XL beds, not a stupidly long car."
The limo also drove by a few other NYC hotels like the Grand Hyatt and The Plaza as CitizenM said to "to make our point and also annoy the doormen."
We kinda love CitizenM for calling out these hotels are their WiFi policies and for annoying the doormen with a ridiculous limo but hello, Citizen M! Rates at your Times Square property aren't exactly affordable either, with one reader telling us rates were over $300 a night after your grand "reopening." For teeny rooms. At least at the Trump, we get some more space.
So keep on fighting the good fight but also maybe consider lowering those room rates a touch.
UPDATE: The Trump Hotel actually has free WiFi so this kind of didn't work out right.
[Photo: CitizenM Times Square/Facebook]
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It looks like CitizenM Hotels were getting ahead of themselves when they opened up bookings for their Times Square property. When we stopped by earlier today to take a peek, we were told that, while a few guests are staying tonight (the projected opening date) opening date has now been pushed back to April 12. Given that this is the rather unwelcoming scene we were greeted with at the front door, we'd say that's a wise decision.
While the opening rates of citizenM New York bum us out a bit ($199 in March?), the news in London doesn’t do much to cheer us up. The good bit is that citizenM is bringing a third addition in the hipster paradise of Shoreditch in 2015, but that’s overshadowed by the fact that both Holborn and Tower Hill also won’t arrive before next year. In some ways it's not a surprise given how dormant Holborn looked a few weeks ago.
If citizenM does pull off opening all three of them next year, it means they’ll add close to 900 hotel rooms to their portfolio, and all in one city. Holborn should have just under 250 rooms, Tower Hill will be the flagship with 370, and Shoreditch will be a bit smaller at 185.
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We've been eagerly anticipating the stateside debut of the CitizenM hotels so we're extremely pumped to see the hotel is accepting reservations for March 25th.
We found a room for $199 a night on opening night which, to be honest, is a little bit of a buzzkill. It's March and still pretty cold in NYC. We sort of hoped this would be the starting rate in warmer times like May-ish, especially given how small these rooms are.
But no matter, that rate includes free wifi andmovies in all rooms, XL kingsize beds, a power rain shower, Skype phone rates, wall to wall windows and an "ambient room experience with touch screen control for colour, temperature, blinds, television and more."
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UPDATE 3.17.14: The CitizenM Times Square will now open on March 25.
The long-awaited CitizenM Times Square keeps on keeping us guessing about its opening date, but after taking a walk past the site yesterday, we're feeling pretty confident that things are going to be happening very soon.
Like many of us, NYC's first outpost of the cool Dutch brand has been shedding its winter layers over the past couple of weeks, and, in the Citizen's case, this has allowed us a peek as what looks like some very funky interiors.
We spotted bright murals, chrome, steel lampshades, what appears to be a bookstore to the right hand side and, to the left of the front door, cool wall-mounted shelves filled with objets d'art including red horses' heads and little men.
Although we still await a firm date, CitizenM's website says that "bookings starting from March," which is, like, now so...
We’re on a roll when it comes to scoping out the latest on citizenM at the moment: the exterior of citizenM at Paris Charles de Gaulle seems pretty much finished, New York Times Square is getting ever so close to being done, and the Holborn location in London looks like this. When we walked by the latter, we wondered what the third London opening at Tower Hill would look like et voilà: here are the renderings.
This citizenM is interesting beyond the fact that it will bring more high-style, affordable hotel rooms to London: it will be the group’s flagship, and at 370 rooms, its largest hotel. It is being built over the exit hall of Tower Hill tube station, which will get an upgrade as part of the work. Opening is scheduled for the fall.