Thanks to the tulips festival, the hotel costs in Amsterdam were at its peak. With an efficient public transport system and the Tulip gardens closer from the airport, we decided to stay at an airport hotel. A completely unknown brand citizenM looked enticing because the picture of the room on their website showed the room with a view of the apron of Amsterdam Airport.
Cut to day of arrival – Ample signage guides us to citizenM from the airport. From the chilly weather outside we entered the warmth of the hotel to be greeted by efficient staff, called “ambassadors”, at the self-service kiosk. There is no check-in desk, instead you tap one of the six screens to enter your name and PNR. The system prompts for pre-booking breakfast and other services (It is cheaper to pre-book) followed by the choice of room – High or Low Floor and Airport view or Office view.
Two cylindrical pods – a toilet and a shower along with the view of the apron is what you see when you enter. On the left are the hangers and a locker. An iPad for all the controls – lights, mood lighting, TV, temperature, music and blinds sits on the small round table. There is another table which has a lampshade along with a writing pad and pen. Before you realize the room is over. A large bed occupied the remainder of it till the ceiling to floor window.
The dustbin is concealed in the storage area underneath the washbasin, the mirror turns 360 degrees to reveal storage and charging points while the bed has a big drawer for bags. There is only one chair, so if its two of you, one person has to sit on the bed.
Room service is passé. There is only one restaurant cum all day dining area which is called canteenM. Juices and Sandwiches are available 24×7. The same place converts itself into a buffet breakfast and buffet dining area. Tables are scattered around with a couple of long tables allowing you to mingle with fellow travelers and a few high tables. If that is not enough, numerous bar stools dot the bar counters where you can get a beer or a coffee.
We had pre-booked the breakfast and it had scrambled eggs, bacon, cold cuts, yogurt, breads, croissant, jams, fruits, savory pastries along with tea and coffee. The breakfast was exactly same on all days that we stayed there. What impressed us the most was one of the meals which we took here. A casual glance at the meal counter before walking towards the airport terminal for meals prompted us to dine here. It was one of the best Thai curries we had along with sticky rice. Kudos!
The communication with the guest is witty, from the “Do Not Disturb” signs to the branding, everything comes with pun.
A casual walk in the lobby is enticing. It’s a fine blend of old and new. Designer chairs and sofas to mingle and read one of the many books around or shop from the trendy stuff on offer of surf the internet on one of the many workstations or simply soak in the memorabilia around like an old telephone or a transistor. The lobby level also houses meeting rooms, what are known as societyM. No two of them are the same. We were mesmerized by the design, colors and comfort of the rooms. Only if each working day got us here.
The hotel has definitely enforced the concept of “Low cost doesn’t mean low value” very well. The chain has upped the ante of pod hotel concept to make it, probably, a box hotel. The rooms are small but the quirkiness, view and technology more than compensates for the size.
To the millennial traveler, citizenM offers a unique experience, to the frugal backpacker or a passenger in transit, it provides a bed for the night at an affordable cost and for an avgeek, it provides a dream room overlooking the apron and the taxiway.
The hotel claims that “M” in citizenM stands for Mobile citizen, I feel it’s for Miniscule. I am yet to get the thin line between intimate and cramped. Probably, we will need another stay in another city at citizenM to answer this.