citizenM: Getting the Essentials Right
Travelling long-term means we’ve had a chance to stay in some really nice hotels, but also some complete dumps. Oftentimes, there hasn’t been much of a price difference between the two, and it's up to the traveler to do his/her own due diligence to find the right place.
Lately, hotels are providing guests with more basic, but high-quality rooms. This means putting a greater focus on getting the essentials right, giving guests a great experience through design and comfort while still cutting costs by eliminating the non-essentials (i.e. bathrobe, mini bar, etc). A great example of a hotel that nailed this is the citizenM hotel in Rotterdam. We recently stayed here and found their carefully-designed minimalist hotel room was exactly what we needed and wanted. Full disclosure, we were given a free night but this is our honest feedback.
What they got right:
The hotel is right in the heart of Rotterdam, next to the famous (and very photogenic) food hall, Martkthal, and the Cube Houses. There is also an abundance of great restaurants and bars in the area, with new spots opening all the time. It's also located next to Europe's first skyscraper, which can be seen from the rooms with a harbor view.
As soon as you enter the lobby, you feel at home and also wish it was your home. With a beautifully designed bar/café area, contemporary local and international art pieces, and lots of comfortable lounging space for guests. With beautifully designed common areas throughout the hotel, it's really a perfect place for digital nomads or even for meeting new people.
At citizenM, every room is the exact same - no penthouses or penthouse envy. Included are all the amenities you’d want in an expensive hotel room: a very comfortable queen bed, lots of movies and TV channels, good strong wifi, safe, phone, rain shower, and an iPad to seamlessly control everything. Our room was small, however, being barely wider than the length of the queen bed inside. But the design was very clever, making the size barely noticeable. We were able to fit all our bags, and still have plenty of space thanks to the room's space-saving design. Rarely-used extras like an in-room iron or slippers and a housecoat were not included in every room, but were available at the lobby if needed.
citizenM has managed to pull off the well-executed essentials better than many other hotels. With the rise of hotel alternatives like AirBnB, hotels like citizenM that have responded in this way - providing great location, design and rooms at low cost - will stay competitive well into the future. Our verdict: we will definitely be staying at citizenM again.