‘Nice shoes!’ was my greeting from the welcome mat as I stepped into the foyer of the hotel that would become one of my favourites ever. I had just walked into the CitizenM Hotel at Schipol International Airport in Amsterdam. The decor I had entered into was a design fan’s dream and I couldn’t concentrate on my self-serve check-in for I was too taken in by the trendy vibe that emanated from the hotel lobby. How cool was this place?!
The folks at CitizenM are a clever bunch. As they promote through their website, you should ‘always stay in a hotel as nice as your home (unless you live in a tent)’. You’ll have guessed, the design at CitizenM is flawless, an aspect of the hotel they’ve got down to a science. From the lounge music to the centrally located bar-dining area, the moody lighting to the red white & black color palette, the CitizenM hotel transpires eurochic minimalism, while showing a host of small details when taking a closer look. No clutter, no bareness, just a perfect balance.
We arrived in Amsterdam on a short stopover, and had chosen the CitizenM for its convenient location right outside Schipol International Airport. We had easy access to the center of town by taking the train from Schipol station, just a few minutes walk from the hotel.
On that chilly night, I only wish I could have stayed indoors, lounging in one of the many downstairs living areas’ cozy armchairs (oh hello, Eames chairs), browsing through the art books, or just taking in the small trinkets on display, cleverly organized by color. I felt at home, or rather, in a cooler-hipper version of home, the type you want to invite your friends over to.
At the center of these living areas is the bar, a cozy place where you can grab a Heineken or a meal. Displayed cafeteria-style in huge refrigerators is a nice variety of fresh, delicious food, from snacks to sushi, or you can opt for the warm meal of the day. You can grab something to go or eat in, sitting at the huge counters, chatting to the other citizens. Everything is perfectly thought out, from cutlery to condiments; you won’t have to worry about a thing, which is a huge plus when arriving jet-lagged in the middle of the night in a new city. Believe me on that.The staff is welcoming, attentive & relaxed: they seem trained to make guests feel special, while also making them feel right at home.
The rooms are relatively small, but I honestly found them to be a very reasonable size. Then again, I’m used to all sorts of tiny when it comes to accomodation on the road. Stepping into our room, we instantly were transported to the near future: pod-looking, the room is airy, sleek, modern and very luminous. Light wood flooring, touches of chrome over white fixtures and neat details abound. It’s not just for show: the room is practical and very, very comfortable. The toilet and shower are in the middle of the room, enclosed by revolving glass doors for privacy. Plus the view from the window is pretty spectacular, giving us a good peek at the airport runway, with its multitude of multicolored airplane fins! Don’t worry: you’ll never hear a plane take off or land as the room is tightly sound-proofed.
Now moving on to the best part, the bed.
Taking up about one third of the room, it’s huge and set up so as to allow sleeping in any position, across or length-wise. Propped into the bed was a cute bunny shaped ragdoll to keep us company, and the window was overlooking the airport’s runway, which made for really cool views. Don’t worry, the hotel is perfectly sound-proof! It was a pure pleasure to sleep in such comfort and made me regret only having one night to enjoy the room. The linen comes directly from heaven: the sheets and couette are soft and plushy, and I swear if it had been on sale at the lobby store I’d have seriously considered buying it. Other items can be bought in the store, from shower gels to the bunny doll, all CitizenM-branded. After check-out, your hotel card becomes a luggage tag… They really must have gotten an A+ at the branding University, because the whole CitizenM concept is ingenious and so much fun.
If you ever have an overnight layover in Amsterdam, I can only praise and warmly recommend the CitizenM hotel as it is chic, classy, comfortable and welcoming. It is great value for the money, has top class amenities and is conveniently located for transiting to downtown Amsterdam. Major hat tip to the CitizenM brand who have mastered offering affordable luxury to the people, which is one of their mottos. Thanks to the CitizenM, combined with the beauty of historic Amsterdam, it was easily the best layover ever!
The CitizenM brand is developing and now include branches in Paris-Charles de Gaulle, New York’s Times Square and other European cities like Rotterdam and downtown Amsterdam. I make it a personal goal to try them all, but hopefully for a longer stay. If fact, if I could move there, I just might.
Room rate from 89 euros per night.
Reservations through the website only; you can select a room facing the airport runway (so cool) or the road.
Wifi is free throughout the hotel, or iMacs are available in the lobby.
The CanteenM is open 24hrs, with reasonable prices. They even have microwaveable meals.
2 minutes walk from Schipol’s Airport Plaza, where the shops are and where the train station is located.