We know you like your hotels to have style and your cities to be fabulous, and both just so happen to meet at the just opened CitizenM Hotel in London. Maybe you’re familiar with the other acclaimed CitizenM hotels in Glasgow and Amsterdam—or maybe not—either way, with its designer Vitra furniture, award winning contemporary art (Mario Testino’s work is there) and something called a moodpad, their London property that opened earlier this month, is someplace you definitely should definitely have on your map.
We chatted with Robin Chadha, one of the hotel’s founders.
NNN: What took so long for Citizen M to open in London? You’ve got one in Glasgow…
Several factors, but for one we wanted to open in Glasgow first before heading to one of the most competitive hotel markets in the world. We had to make sure our product and experience were completely fine tuned for the London market. Now we are preparing for 3 more London hotels and 2 in New York—a location near Times Square first, then on Bowery, and Paris—plans are in the works for something near the Charles de Gaulle Airport.
NNN: Why did you select Bankside in London? What are the coolest things about this neighborhood? Where will the other planned properties be located?
Bankside is one of London’s most exciting new business and cultural districts, minutes from the Tate Modern Museum, the Globe Theatre and the Millennium Bridge. Our upcoming London hotels will also be at St. Paul’s, Tower Brige and Shoreditch.
NNN: What will guests be most surprised about when they stay in the new hotel?
I think the impressive lobby design and architecture. I think the space blends architecture, interior design and art perfectly! Also the new tablet moodpad is super cool! It Controls the entire room including the mood and ambient experience.
NNN: What new tricks or amenities does the London property have that the others don’t? Is there anything that makes the Lonon Citizen M stand out from the others aside from the location?
New to CitzenM in London are commissioned artworks inside the hotel. We’ve really put a serious focus on contemporary art. There’s also A MENDO book store, which has books on fashion, photography, architecture, travel and design. SocietyM creative meeting room and of course the tablet mood pads.
NNN: How did you decide to work with the artists you did? What were you looking for in terms of the art?
We looked at artists that inspire our guests and we were looking for contemporary artists who spark your imagination.
NNN: Why did you decide to focus on art with the London property?
Art is an important element at every citizenM hotel, but in London we have certainly stepped up our game. After all, we are just South of The Tate Modern.
NNN: Can you explain a bit about the Warhol-looking piece? Who is that by?
That piece is by London based artist Gavin Turk. It’s a self portrait based on the iconic silkscreen by Andy Warhol.
NNN: Can guests buy the artwork?
No, unfortunately not, but we have brought an outpost of Amsterdam’s cult MENDO bookshop into our lobby where guest can pick up the latest photography, architecture, fashion, and travel books.
NNN: What are the best underground art galleries in London right now?
White Cube Bermondsey, KK Outlet, Parasol Unit
NNN: Was there anything created specifically for this hotel or did you use art that already existed?
Some of the pieces are from citizenM’s collection, but the artwork on the façade was made specifically for us by Mark Titchner and the mural on the back wall of the lobby was also commissioned by us – its by an artist collective called Assume Vivid Astro Focus.
NNN: Your motto is “affordable luxury for the people”—How do you guys provide a luxurious experience for such a low cost?
This is our secret, but it boils down to efficient construction, staffing, distribution and state of the art technology.
NNN: What luxuries found in expensive hotels are we being over charged for, like almost always?
This depends on how you describe luxury, but some things include wi-fi, movies, expensive telephone calls, overpriced mini-bars and room service menus. The list goes on and on…
NNN: Are some things we used to consider as luxurious slowly becoming common? If so, what things?
Luxury has been re-defined with the new generation of travelers. Traditional luxury has almost become obsolete for the new generation (paino men, marble fountains in lobbies). The new traveller finds luxury in high speed wi-fi, perfect barista made coffee, power rain showers and big fluffy pillows. We have them all.
NNN: How did you get the idea to start Citizen M hotels? Was there one moment when you were like…this is it?
I would say it was always in the back of our minds. All the partners involved in citizenM are truly mobile citizens, having travelled the globe we simply saw a gap in the market and an industry that never truly re-invented itself. At one point we decided to take on the challenge and get to work on achieving this, and voila citizenM was born.
NNN: Are there any other cities or countries Citizen M is looking at?
Yes, we are looking at Istanbul, and Hong Kong.
NNN: What are five things every hotel room across the board – from budget to luxe – should have in it in 2012?
A comfortable bed with amazing bed linen, pillows and towels—A power rain shower with nice smelling amenities—Free wi-fi—Free movies on demand—High quality materials used in the design.
NNN: Which of the awesome features that Citizen M hotels offer its guests to they appreciate or comment positively upon the most?
We have the most comments on our ambassadors, they are the ones who really make you feel at home in citizenM, and are on hand 24-7 to assist our guests, besides them we have a lot of positive comments on our design, beds, showers and technology.
NNN: The Olympics – over it or love it?
NNN: The biggest complaint Londoners have about American tourists is….
NNN: The biggest compliment Londoners have about American tourists is….
NNN: Say we were guests at the hotel and wanted a recommendation, could you tell us where Citizen M London would send us to…
- go for a cheap and quiet drink – our cocktail bar in CanteenM.
- eat delicious food – la bodega negra (great Mexican food)
- eat cheap delicious food – Pizza East or Tramshed in shoreditch
- feel like a queen – Bvlgari Hotel SPA