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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:
We've griped before about hotel housekeeping barging in on us when we fail to hang the Privacy or Do Not Disturb sign on the door, but CitizenM Hotels sums up our exact intentions for keeping housekeeping out of rooms--"Don't come in, there's someone naked In here."
We spied this door hanger at the year-old CitizenM at Charles De Gaulle, along with a bunch of other clever amenities and offerings that have made what could have been a dull airport hotel stay quite fun. But CitizenM has been touting this truth on a Do Not Disturb sign since 2010. Some things never change, especially when you don't have pants on.
We'll have more from inside this CitizenM at CDG this week but in short, the world's airports need more CitizenM Hotels (but especially JFK Airport in NYC.)
Not even a week after we said that citizenM needed to step it up in London to deliver its three additional hotels this year, did we find out that it would be at least 2016 for all of them. Six months on, we have some promising signs from Tower Hill, and none whatsoever over in Holborn.
Above a picture of citizenM Tower Hill, from the exact same spot we were at back in January and from which we saw the rendering well over a year ago. Covered up as it may be, things are clearly moving ahead for the 370-room group flagship – compare the below from early in the year, where all we had was the concrete lift shaft.
ZOKU Hotels / CitizenM Hotels / Hans Meyer / Amsterdam Hotels / New Hotel Brands / Hotel News / → All Tags
In a time when the behemoth hotel operators are launching new brands to target millennials, (see Moxy, Hyatt Centric, Canopy, Radisson Red, Vib, Venu etc.) one hotelier is thinking outside the box in an effort to disrupt the home-office concept.
ZOKU, a new hotel brand created by ex-CitizenM founder Hans Meyer and co-founder Marc Jongerius, is ready to shake up the hotel industry yet again with a revolutionary new concept which shifts the focus from the bed to the living and work space.
The ZOKU loft hotel room revolves around a central feature which will be a four-person table that can be used to work, dine and entertain, or just hang out. The interiors will be customizable in addition to a retractable staircase, a lounge area, a kitchen and a funky yet functional storage area. While the concept caters more to long-stay guests, visitors can stay anywhere from one night to three months.
All ZOKUs will have an open-plan communal living and co-working spaces to highlight and encourage interaction and networking. Additional features include free and fast WiFi (Thank God!) and a 32-inch LED TV with BYOC (Bring Your Own Content!) The concept replaces the traditional hotel staff with Sidekicks, employees who are globally centered yet rooted in the local scene. They connect guests to any and all services, which range from housekeeping, bike rentals, laundry, and meeting room services.
Hotel Design / Hotel Renovations / Hotel Scents / citizenM Hotels / Glasgow Hotels / UK Hotels / Scottish Hotels / → All Tags
CitizenM hotels are all about the social life of a hotel, and the citizenM Glasgow fits that bill perfectly. Reno’ed in September 2014 the property has a plethora of public lounging areas that take the place of large private rooms.
With seven floors in total, two of them are made up of the well-designed public spaces where you can eat, drink, computer (yes, we think that should be a verb, much like “hoteling” should be), chat, read, or watch TV – pretty much anything you choose to do has a spot for it.
The spaces are beautifully designed with Vitra furniture and distinctive artwork, and blend seamlessly as you stroll through the hotel. Although each area has its own feel it all fits together as a package.
It never fails. We compile a Master List of Hotel Openings and despite our "clear eyes full hearts can't lose" game day approach to the year ahead, we know there will inevitably some tough breaks. Like this one regarding CitizenM Hotels trio of London hotels--Shoreditch, Tower Hill and Holborn (pictured, under very minimal construction.)
We already knew a 2015 opening for any of the three hotels would be tough. But now a tipster has received word from a Citizen at CitizenM that the hotels won't open before 2016. Gutted. Oh well, strike this one from the list and carry it over to 2016's draft.
[Photo: JasonD for HotelChatter]
citizenM Hotels / Hotel Construction / Hotel News / London Hotels / Affordable Hotels / Budget-chic Hotels / → All Tags
We may have accepted that citizenM’s expansion in London wouldn’t happen in 2014 when we heard they would be giving us a third affordable-chic hotel in Shoreditch, but that was based on the understanding that 2015 openings were a definite yes.
The year is young, we know, but what we are seeing at Tower Hill (the group’s flagship) and Holborn isn’t very promising. Starting at Tower Hill (above), the main difference between today and July last year is the concrete lift shaft that has risen to eight stories – you can see the photo from before here. Just as then, we’ll allow for the possible spurt in development given that this is a modular hotel, with all rooms built offsite and then craned into place.
Must-Stay Hotels / London Hotels / Corbin and King Hotels / Maybourne Hotel Group / Four Seasons Hotels / citizenM Hotels / → All Tags
Introducing our handy hotel guides--HotelChatter's Must Stay Hotels--where we pick four hotels for four different types of travelers in a particular neighborhood of one major city. From London's Soho last week, we continue with Mayfair and the West End today. Got a question about where to stay and when? Email us.
Looking for a hotel in London? You can troll online review sites, crowdsource on Facebook and comb through endless “Best Hotels” lists but why do all that when we’ve done all the work for you already?
Here are four different hotels to try in and around Mayfair and the West End. So whether you’re going for pleasure or work and whether you’ve got cash to throw around or have pennies to count, these hotels will fulfill your needs. One common thread running through these hotel picks? They have all free WiFi. So during your stay, you can write us a thank you email for the recommendation.
Hotel News Briefs / Hotel News / Taipei Hotels / Jakarta Hotels / Mumbai Hotels / citizenM Hotels / Grand Hyatt Hotels / Hyatt Hotels / St. Regis Hotels / Starwood Hotels / Sofitel So Hotels / → All Tags
As ever, there is more hotel news out there than we could possibly cover. Here are a few short updates to keep you up to speed with what’s happening in Asia.
citizenM Taipei: the first Asian citizenM, the Dutch group will open in Taiwan’s capital in the last quarter of 2016 with 260 rooms in the Ximending neighborhood. Future Asian cities on the radar are Shanghai, Beijing, Hong Kong, Singapore, Jakarta and Bangkok. Yes, please.
Europe Hotels / Lists / Hotel Chains / Malmaison Hotels / Movenpick Hotels / House Hotels / Room Mate Hotels / CitizenM Hotels / Starhotels / → All Tags
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.