A Night At: citizenM, Tower Bridge
Finding a reasonably priced Hotel in a big city is never easy. Finding a reasonably price luxury Hotel is even more difficult. Many are the hours I've spent on travel websites looking for something that is both stylish and affordable with little or no joy. Anything that looks like it could be Instaworthy (yes, this is an actual caveat of my Hotel choices) is often super expensive and therefore always unobtainable. But no more. This week, I stayed in a citizenM - they've managed to bridge that gap and produce a product that is both cool and within a budget.
Who are citizenM? So the brand started in 2008 with an idea to shake up the traditional Hotel industry and create a Hotel environment that was luxurious yet affordable. They wanted to create city based properties that were exactly what travellers wanted - bedroom spaces tailored to the essentials, living spaces, social areas where you could meet other people and be inspired by them. They called themselves citizenM because they targeted mobile citizens (citizen mobile) - a demographic who lived the mobile lifestyle, who (as they say on their website) would take the train to their location and then order champagne, who would mix their Gucci with Zara without a second thought. They created thoughtful spaces aimed towards travellers who wanted to have it all but not pay over the odds for the privilege.
So what did I think? Did it live up to the promises? And more importantly, was it Instaworthy? Oh yes. That one is a given.
I was due to be in Dulwich early the following day, so the Tower Bridge property was perfectly situated. They've got two more in London - Bankside and Shoreditch - and many more in cities across the world. It's located literally next to Tower Hill Tube station with great links to all over London. It's approximately seven minutes to the Tower Of London - in fact, my room overlooked the walls - and is ideal whether you are in London for business or for pleasure.
There's a self check in desk which is super easy to use, although there was someone on hand to welcome and show me what to do. It took no time at all to log my details and number my card key and I was in my room within five minutes of arrival. You need your card in order to bill to your room and also to use the elevator to all the floors, a fact I liked from a security point of view. Checking out was just as easy - you simply swiped your card, it showed you the bill on a screen and you paid with your card. Super simple. Oh, and the wifi is everywhere and free - you don't even need a passcode.
There's 370 rooms in the Hotel. My room was compact but had everything I needed. An in room sink with fridge, shower room pod with rain shower and a desk area. Everything was operated by a tablet - lights, air conditioning, television - which was really easy to navigate. Huge bottles of shampoo in the shower and thick white towels gave the room a luxury edge. The bed was HUGE. It filled the wall to wall window and was super comfy, with huge white cotton duvet and pillows. I can honestly say it was the best night sleep I have ever had in a Hotel room. The TV had all the normal channels plus more and was positioned above the bed on a slim shelf. Perfect. They also give you a popcorn holder for watching movies which you can get refilled in the living space free of charge. Honestly, they have thought of everything.
The Hotel doesn't have a reception as such. It has what they call a living space - loads of chairs and sofas positioned around tables, surrounded by bookshelves and fabulous art. It's very, very cool, filled with iconic furniture and is intended to be a place to relax, work or socialise. There's a long work station where you can sit with your laptop. And if you forget your laptop? They'll lend you an iMac. The whole space is meant to be multi tasking - perfect for drinking coffee, having a glass of wine, meeting a colleague or even watching the television. It really does have the feel of being in someone's house.
This is situated in the centre of the living space and is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During the day, you can pick up light snacks and drinks; in the evening, there's hot food. Breakfast was a full buffet, including hot food but also a continental choice comprising of cold meats and cheeses. You can grab a coffee and Danish pastry at any time of the day so there's never any call to feel hungry, even at 2.00 am in the morning.
cloudM is situated on the seventh floor and is a really cool space, with fabulous views of the city. Like the rest of the Hotel, it's decorated in a really cool, contemporary way with lots of art works and huge high shelves filled with books. It's only open to guests and their friends, which makes it very exclusive. Aside from the main bar which is super buzzy, there's a casual seating space with tables above, perfect for either working or meeting a friend. Alongside these are the societyM meeting rooms which can be booked. It would have been rude to visit without having a large glass of Sauvignon Blanc. Which I did.
citizenM have cornered the market in cool luxury within a budget and I really enjoyed my stay here. Everything was so simple, from check in, to ordering a glass of wine, to having a quick but delicious breakfast. Completely stress free, it felt like a whole new Hotel experience and an experience I will definitely be repeating. And the Instaworthiness? Definitely a well ticked box.