Our one night stay at CitizenM was very much a last minute decision, as we were seeing a show to celebrate our twenty-fifth wedding anniversary and decided to not to rush home afterwards. I knew nothing of the CitizenM ‘concept’ beforehand and had simply glanced at the website and the fact that TripAdvisor comments had been very positive. The website photographs looked enticing and we had stayed in similar ‘boutique’ hotels in Barcelona and Malaga previously.
We didn’t get off to the best of starts as we couldn’t find the bus stop in Waterloo Road, so decided to walk. Not a problem, as we know London well, and it didn’t take long to navigate our way to the hotel on foot. The lobby was as impressive as imagined and the DIY check-in was simple. So far so good…
First impressions on finding our room however were, I have to be honest, of disappointment. To some extent, this was our fault not that of the hotel. The ‘M’ in CitizenM stands for ‘mobile’ and the idea is that every room is simply a place to sleep, and is quite ‘pod-like’: I had just expected ‘luxury double room’ to mean something different. It transpires that the majority of the rooms are identical: the ‘luxury’ refers to the bed, and yes, it is large and very nice. Of more concern however, was the fact that the bed linen did not look as if it had been changed, and that the pillows and duvet were simply piled in a heap on the bed. By chance a couple of the housekeeping staff were still in the corridor outside and I asked one of them to come and have a look, asking whether it was fresh linen or not. Unfortunately, her English was very poor but she began changing the linen.
I left my wife in the room and went back down to the lobby, to check if were in the correct room. I spoke to Klara, who explained the concept of the hotel but informed me that there were also rooms for disabled visitors, if I wanted to look at one of those. These are a little bigger and with a wet-room rather than small shower/toilet – the linen was also clean and arranged in a neat pile (not a heap) on the bed (this is so guests can decide which way ‘round they wish to sleep). I explained that it was a special occasion and told her about the linen in the other room, which she appeared genuinely concerned about. We agreed to change rooms.
Things got a lot better thereafter…
A few minutes later, Klara rang and offered us complimentary breakfast the following day and then, when we arrived back from the theatre, there were some chocolates in the room and an invitation to have a complimentary drink in the bar downstairs. It was a small gesture, but made all the difference.
By the end of our brief stay, I had become used to the concept of CitizenM although would still have liked tea and coffee making facilities in the room, and the availability of fried or boiled eggs at breakfast. Those used to a hearty cooked breakfast will be disappointed as the cooked food on offer is nothing special, but the ‘continental’ options are fine. If you want a ‘full English’ there are small cafes in the surrounding side streets.
The hotel certainly scores highly on décor, and if you are looking for something ‘hip and funky’, resembling the pages of a certain Scandinavian furnishing company catalogue (CitizenM is Dutch by the way) you won’t be disappointed. It’s certainly aimed at a younger, ‘arty’ crowd: there were a lot of Macbooks in evidence, and free WiFi and iMacs are provided for guests (no sign of a PC anywhere). If you prefer chintz, then stay away! All the room controls are operated by a ‘tablet’, with different lighting moods available, and room was very quiet. There is a great range of free movies if you want to watch one, and also a number of different wake-up call options. We went for the ‘gentle’ option, which it was ☺
Location-wise, CitizenM is situated roughly equidistant between Waterloo and London Bridge. There is a bus stop virtually outside with services to Waterloo (station and South Bank) and Covent Garden; and Southwark underground (Jubilee Line) is less then 10 minutes walk, so getting into central London is easy. Tate Modern, The Globe and St. Pauls are within easy walking distance.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Located in the heart of London’s buzzing Bankside district—just minutes from the Tate Modern and Millennium Bridge, within walking distance from Southwark tube station (Jubilee Line) and London Bridge (Jubilee & Northern Line)—192 luxury non-smoking rooms await with free Wi-Fi, free movies, and a tablet MoodPad to control every hi-tech detail. Work or play in the oversized Vitra living room lobby with floor-to-ceiling stunning art, a prolific MENDO bookstore to peruse or purchase for your travels, and of course, canteenM’s 24/7 scrumptious eatery and bar to cure your hunger and thirst. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
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- Also Known As:
- CitizenM London Bankside England