How can someone who works outside the hotel industry create such a successful hotel concept? That is it exactly the secret. When I spoke to Robin Chadha a while ago (at the time of the opening of Citizen M’s first New York hotel), he said: “If you travel regularly, at some point you’ll know best how to improve a hotel experience.”
Citizen M is the brainchild of both Robin Chadha and his father Rattan Chadha (best known as the founder of fashion retail label MEXX, which he sold in 2001 to Liz Claiborne). It began -as most great ideas- out of frustration about the quality of the hotel industry. Why should a room have the size of an apartment if you only stay for one night? And why should checking in and out always take ages? The needs of the modern traveler requested a different approach, so they started with a customer-oriented mindset. That’s also where the successful hotel concept takes its name from: Citizen M stands for the ‘temporary, mobile citizen’.
When the idea for Citizen M sprouted, the concept of ‘design hotels’ was booming. Though staying at one of these beautifully designed hotels was not suitable for everyone because of the hefty price tag. It was also a challenge for the Chadha’s. It had to be democratic. There had to be one room type, but with a comfortable kingsize bed, a rain shower and a rad (free) entertainment system that you can easily operate with an iPad. Architect agency Concrete -commissioned for the design of the Citizen M hotels- literally took a photo of a room in a five-star hotel and removed the superfluous. It resulted in compact rooms, where everything you actually need is within reach.
For the furnishing of the hotels they took on a partnership with Vitra. The coffee table books are provided by MENDO, and the mix of artwork is supplied by local artists and therefore fit the location.
No matter which Citizen M hotel you enter, the interior is colorful, warm and inviting. You’ll immediately recognize the luxurious feel of a design hotel, but it remains accessible. Part of the accessibility is the easy check-in process. You do it all by yourself, in a few steps via a computer screen. It saves on the costs for extra staff. However, there is always someone available to assist you. The staff itself -named Ambassadors- multitasks from bartender to bellboy. Another expense that Citizen M was able to save on is catering.. The Canteen is actually a 24/7 buffet/grocery store where you can serve yourself something to eat or drink. A hotel bar is always present, but considered an extension of the lobby. The lobby is -especially at the Citizen M hotels in the city centres- the beating heart of the hotel: a meeting place where you do not only mingle with the guests, but also socialize with locals.
A familiar hotel concept might not always please the adventurous traveler, sometimes it’s just nice to know that what you see is what you get. And Citizen M is always a safe bet.
You can find the Dutch version of this article on NextDestination.nl.