CitizenM Hotel Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Opening (3): Final Observations

I have uploaded my photos of the opening to Happy Hotelier’s Flickr Account. Some final observations:

The name
Correctly spelled the name is CitizenM and not Citizen M. I cannot change this in my prior posts because of the archiving system I am using here.

The Launch Party
After the Press conference there was the official opening. Rattan Chadha (Chairman) and Micheal Levy (CEO) held a speech and then everybody attending got a piccolo of champagne with the request to have the cork popping out at the same moment after a count down. The photos show a Happier Boss than at the press conference.

Rattan Gandha Opening the CitizenM
Rattan Chaddha Opening the CitizenM

He emphasized that the whole operation is a matter of teamwork, but as an onlooker I would say this is his baby and the team should do as he says. Not bad though, because the result is really innovative. See the glowing review of a frequent traveler as a comment to one of my prior posts.

Philips was represented by Andrea Ragnetti
Philips was represented by Andrea Ragnetti

I believe they made a giant step forward with Philips in applying domotica in hotel design with the Mood Pad.
Extensive coverage by the Press
There was a huge attendance of TV, writing press and Bloggers.

Extensive TV Coverage
Extensive TV Coverage

When returning home my wife told me Dutch TV had covered the opening with 4 whole minutes which is a lot of free publicity!
The “cameraman” here is not a cameraman, but my Italian friend and fellow Blogger Stefano Pugliese, who rather would be called “Director” and who organized the attendance of several Bloggers at the opening, among which: Hotel Chatter, Howard Greenstein and two of the grayest, err sorry Karen – I’m not a Grey Travel Blogger, Happy Hotelier! (lol) , Independently Minded Travel Bloggers :

Two of the grayest Travel Bloggers
Karen Bryan (R) of Europe A La Carte and Wandalust
and
Happy Hotelier (L)

Here is a good TV impression of the whole on: Bright TV and here is another link on Tech Digest and here is the Youtube Version of the Tech Digest Video:

Of course the WiWiH crew was there as well:

The WiWiH crew
The WiWiH crew

The Lobby
The lobby gives a feeling of your own living room and is filled with retro design furniture due to a collaboration with Vitra. Here is a picture of the check in screens.

CitizenM Check In Screens

Very cleverly your room number is not shown on the screen at checking in, because everyone could look over your shoulder, you get your room number and password for the WiFi printed on a decent paper slip. Don’t forget to take it with you from the printer though otherwise you might find someone else in your room, or worse, someone else taking advantage of things you have paid for.

You are requested to take the electronic key card and use it with your next check in. You can use it as luggage tag and in case you lose your luggage which is not uncommon with the present status of service from the airlines, and if, for security reasons you don’t want to label your luggage with your home address because you are afraid of unwelcome visitors during you stay abroad, you have a chance of reclaiming it through CitizenM. They know how to reach you…..

Last update July 3, 2008

CitizenM Hotel Amsterdam Airport Schiphol Opening (2): The Room (Dutch Design 27)

The CitizenM Room has various neat design features:

Its 2 m long and 2 m wide Bed under the window with, on the west side of the hotel, nice views on one of the landing strips of Schiphol Airport:

Under the bed, like in yachts, there is a huge trunk size drawer where you can stash your luggage away. Next to the entrance there are 5 coat and dress hangers over a small locker that can hold a small laptop without loading facility for its batteries.

Citizen-M-Hotel-Amsterdam-Airport-Schiphol-Room-4

How do they manage to care for those beds? Very simple: They developed a system whereby the whole mattress can be pulled up to the front of the bed vertically. The used sheets fall of and the clean sheets can be hung up on the two upper corners in stead of crawling around the bed which would be impossible. They applied for a patent for the system.

The view gets nicer when the sun sets:

Citizen-M-Hotel-Amsterdam-Schiphol-Airport Window with Setting Sun

The shower and the Throne have each their own cylindric glass separation. The throne’s glass is etched. Between the shower and the bed there is a room wide curtain to separate the bath”room” part from the Sleeping part of the room. In the Throne’s cylinder an extra air suction facility prevents odors.

Citizen-M-Hotel-Amsterdam-Airport-Schiphol-Room-1

Here you see the two cylinders closed. Left is The Hotel Throne. Even I with my considerable belly can easily pass between the two cylinders. In the middle you see the sink. Under the sink is a small cupboard that holds the waste basket. No tiles behind the sink. The floor of the room is quite slippery when wet.

Citizen-M-Hotel-Amsterdam-Airport-Schiphol-Room-3

In this photo of Citizen M taken from the bed, you can see the mood lighting and, on the left,the separation curtain (they took care of the Yotel guest reviews that were complaining about the visibility of the Yotel Throne) and the rain shower. There are two tables in front of the bed and there is one chair available: The Vitra re issued C1 chair designed by Verner Panton.

Between the sink and the throne there is a turnable frame with on the one side a man high mirror and on the other side some small shelfs to store stuff and a shaving mirror and some international shaving wall sockets.

Citizen-M-Hotel-Amsterdam-Airport-Schiphol-Room-7-Shower-in-Mirror-Next-to-Toilet

This photo I took in the big mirror.

Citizen-M-Hotel-Amsterdam-Airport-Schiphol-Room-8-The-Other-Mirror-With-Shaving-Outlets

This photo I took in the shaving mirror.

Citizen-M-Hotel-Amsterdam-Airport-Schiphol-Room-6-Sink-with-Soap

Detail of the sink with huge soap block

Citizen-M-Hotel-Amsterdam-Airport-Schiphol-Room-5-Amenities

Two types of shampoo and a water bottle which is the only drink available in the room. Other drinks you have to fetch in the lobby cum canteen M…however I noticed they closed the lot during the night at around 2 AM while Rattan claimed during his introduction that it would be open all night!

Citizen-M-Hotel-Amsterdam-Airport-Schiphol-DOLL

I don’t know what to think of this feature: The Citizen M Doll. If you think it is a gift you are wrong: They charge a hefty Euro 20 for it!

Conclusions

Room rates vary according to demand and start with Euro 69 per night up to Euro 139 per night.

The bed sleeps fine.

All in all I am really impressed by the care for detail in this concept. Especially the lack of outside noise is amazing with all the planes flying around at Schiphol Airport.

Good value for money if you are looking for a bed to crash in.

Amsterdam CitizenM Opening (1) (Dutch Dutch Design 26)

an Chadha

He looks a bit tired, but here is Rattan Chadha, the founder of CitizenM and former owner of the Mexx fashion company who opened the press conference.

Some quotes as a starter:

  • They started 4 years ago.
  • Rattan traveled more in his prior life than many in the audience of the well attended press conference will ever do in their and their children’s lifetime.
  • It is very important that the whole operation is set up by a team.
  • One of the first team members is his cricket mate for over 20 years, Jan Wulf van Alkemade, who makes his living in hotel amenities.
  • A good hotel room is about a good bed, a good shower and a good TV.
  • TV films and Wifi are free.
  • Savvy travelers want short check in and short check out times. Rattan claims being a tech nitwit and managed a check in time of 40 seconds. My own not so nitwit experience is rather 5 minutes, but even that is fine.
  • In 2020 market expectations are 1,5 billion people traveling abroad, India alone 50 mio (India in 2002 had only 5 mio people traveling from India abroad)
  • If I have worked hard and late, I want to be able to get sushi at 3.00 AM rather than frozen spaghetti warmed up by the night manager or some soggy hamburger. On the other hand we don’t want the staff around until somebody orders food at 3.00 Am. Therefore we have developed our own food concept.
  • If you arrive at a hotel, you want to be welcomed by a real person. Therefor Citizen M has ambassadors who are not trained in the hospitality industry.

Michael Eman, the F and B manager who developed the F and B concept from the beginning adds: “We have two very important moments here: The coffee moment and the cocktail moment: All our ambassadors are first class barristas and cocktail makers”

Update
As usual I have been wrestling with both my old heavy laptop and the Wifi system in the Citizen M hotel room. The Blue Tooth connection of the

Citizen M Remote do it all control, developed by Philips
Citizen M Remote “do it all” Control, developed by Philips,

interfered with the remote control’s other functions and was not stable at all. After wrestling for an hour and a half I gave it up.

Rattan Chadha: Citizen M Says I'm Cold

Rattan Chadha may not like this photo, but I caught him with one of the Citizen M signs above the cold section of the self service food and beverage wall: “Citizen M Says: I’m Cold”. Well I felt left a bit in the cold with the non functioning of the remote control/Wifi combination. BTW here at home I rechecked and the old and heavy laptop does function perfectly with my own Wifi.
As a final observation I wonder why they didn’t let it read “Citizen M Says: I’m Cool

Street Art (4): The Berlin Billboard Single Room Pod Hotel Visited

When I wrote about this now closed Berlin object of art/experimental one room billboard hotel in December 2007, I didn’t imagine that people would actually sleep in it. I visited it in March when I was in Berlin for ITB Berlin. Henri Roelings, who is one of the guys behind WiWiH (Who Is Who In Hospitality) had booked it during ITB Berlin and had actually slept in it a during ITB Berlin.

The Berlin Billboard Single Room Pod Hotel Visited By Happy Hotelier

On the corner of Kommandantenstrasse and Neue Gruenstrasse one finds this billboard that hides the hotel room behind it. The room has no windows, so it is definitely a room without a view.

The Berlin Billboard Single Room Pod Hotel Visited By Happy Hotelier 02

Henri commented that when he stayed in the room, he had slept very comfy,but he was a little bit afraid that people could easily fire him up by making a fire under the room. Luckily the giant steel watchdog opposite of the hotel room has been watching over his safety.

Berlin Billboard Single Room Pod Hotel Visited By Happy Hotelier 02

Henri had the ladder to enter the room so that he could advertise WiWiH.

Berlin Billboard Single Room Pod Hotel Visited By Happy Hotelier 03

Once entering the hotel room I was surprised to find a real bathroom. There was water for the wash bin and the shower via a reservoir. There was a chemical toilet and there was electricity.

Berlin Billboard Single Room Pod Hotel Visited By Happy Hotelier 04

Here you can see that you could hang your clothes, had a TV set and a drawer chest and an easy chair. All very doable.

Berlin Billboard Single Room Pod Hotel Visited By Happy Hotelier 05

The Guest Book

Not only the hotel room is artsy. According to the Guest Book its guests are artsy a well and they liked it!

Berlin Billboard Single Room Pod Hotel Visited By Happy Hotelier 06

This Swiss comment reads: “First sushi, then Victoria, thereafter Paul and finally here: Reason: Birthday!”

How long do we have to wait till Travelodge's Movable Pod Hotel will be launched?

Travelodge TravelPod 1
The “New” TravelPod
The "New" TravelPod Interior
The “New” TravelPod Interior

The Travelpod is Travelodge’s answer to a tent and can become a movable Pod Hotel.

From its July 28th, 2006 Press Release:

Travelodge has produced the ultimate accessory for lovers of outdoor entertainment. Forget waterlogged tents – now you can have for the first time, a mobile bedroom or ‘Travelpod’ to make even the fussiest festival-goer feel at home.

The room comes complete with a luxury double bed, bedside tables, lights, duvet, pillows, fully carpeted floor, dressing table with light, mirror, chair and even its own WC.

The palatial pod is sealed in a 6 metres (Length) by 2.4 metres (Width) x 2.6 metres
(Height) clear polycarbonate glass box but inside has features that you will find in any Travelodge hotel across the country…

Wayne Munnelly, Travelodge’s Director of Sleep said:…”This summer we are running a few private trials which will allow me to work on the levels of light, noise and privacy allowed by the Travelpod. We will be opening up the test to customers next summer, targeting festivals and other major outdoor events.”,

From its August 20th, 2007 Press Release:

Today Travelodge unveiled its second generation Travelpod – the world’s first mobile hotel room. This latest version has been designed with new features in response to findings from the initial Travelpod trials in 2006.

The modified Travelpod is 40% bigger than the initial prototype. It has been styled in the hotel company’s contemporary room design, incorporating a red, white and blue colour scheme… and has – Air conditioning – Heater – Flat screen TV – DVD player with a collection of DVDs – Ambient lighting which includes bedside lights and a illuminated headboard – Tea / coffee making facilities – Washroom with biodegradable toilet and washbasin with running water facilities.

In addition, the furnishings are made from recyclable timber and lighting has been designed to use low wattage bulbs. The room comes complete with a luxury double bed, bedside lights, duvet, pillows, fully carpeted floor, window blinds, dressing table with light, mirror and chair.

The palatial pod is sealed in a 6 metre (length) by 2.4 metre (width) x 2.6 metre (height) clear polycarbonate glass box, but inside, the features replicate the conventional Travelodge hotel room just recently re-designed.

Leigh McCarron, Travelodge’s Director of Sleep said: “The Travelpod is a ground breaker in outdoor accommodation. We ran some tests on the original Travelpod concept last year and those findings have been used to develop this second generation model for customer trials.”

The new Travelpod will be tested over the next couple of months and the general public will have the opportunity to participate in trials by entering a prize draw at www.travelodge.co.uk.

My musings:

  1. It seems a great concept, a trailable hotel room, or is it just a publicity stunt and aren’t they planing to do anything with it?
  2. Do I miss something? The dimensions are exactly the same. Then where does the 40% more come from?
  3. I wonder who will be the present Director of Sleep..and whatever that may be “A Director of Sleep”?
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