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Monthly Archives: June 2008

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

The Dutch and 2008 EK Football (Soccer) (3): The Basel Ad

With Spain we have a worthy European Football Champion now that it defeated Germany with 1-0.

The Dutch and 2008 EK Football (Soccer) (3): The Basel

In Basel the Dutch team lost from the Russians under a Dutch coach.

Yesterday The Swiss City of Basel thanked the Dutch Football fans in an ad of a whole page in a Dutch Newspaper for the good time they had in Basel and asks to send photos and stories to their Basel 2008 Football site under the Tag: “Basel, more than 90 minutes”. Those who do can win a stay in Basel in a 5 star hotel.

Now this is an exemplary way of marketing a city!

Update July 2, 2008:
And here is a link to a promotional video of the city of Basel which shows many weeping woman who would like to see the football fans back under the tag: “We would like to see you back! Discover the Swiss + (Plus)”. Alluding to the cross in the Swiss flag.

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

Blogging Hotel Insiders

Waiter Rant

Hotel Front Desk Blog’s post Hotel Bloggers Linky (Not Kinky) Love inspired me to this post. [had to eliminate the links as the blog has become defunct since]

He lists a couple of Hotel Insider Blogs, because:

Unlike most other industries, there is not a lot of hotel related blogs penned by employees & insiders actually working in the hospitality industry – most seem to be just another marketing or promotional avenue written by hotels themselves as a management/public relations tool. While this is great, and I’m glad that a lot of hotels are catching onto the trend (yay, technology=good!), it leaves a lot to be said. While reading about the latest and greatest in room types and package promotions is always a good thing – more often than not, I’d much rather be reading about what really goes on behind the scenes, from the perspective of the staff that works there.

Although Front Desk Boy doesn’t see it that way:

Happy Hotelier: More focused on industry headlines than anything else, but a few viewpoints along the way from the author. Personally I think I’d like to read some stories from the author, as I like his style.

I strongly believe I am a hotel insider. I am running a small luxury all suites hotel. As the in house jack of all trades one of my functions is that of the Front Desk Manager. He would love to see more personal stories. Well I can’t do that. Insider stories might all too easy include and identify my guests, as the operation is so small that each guest story can be easily connected to a specific guest. Moreover I don’t like to remain incognito as FDB and some other insiders have to for the same obvious reason: keep in house what should be kept in house. Thanks for the nudge anyway FDB.

As Don Meador puts it: FDB’s list is a great beginning of a list. He misses a few. Therefore I have made my own list of hotel insiders.

Hotel insiders usually should have (had) some working experience in a hotel. I don’t mind them working in sales or marketing. I even don’t mind if they don’t work in a hotel anymore, but have some great insights to offer about hotels. And since Food and Beverage are great ingredients for many hotels, I also don’t mind it they are working in Food and Beverage, even without letting rooms.

  1. A Luxury Travel Blog. A Hotel insider? Yes, with a family background in self catering in the British Lake District, UK. and started his own self catering in 2009.
  2. Albert Barra, who set up the brilliant El Blog de un Hotel, a blog describing the development of a huge Eurostar Development in Madrid next to one of the main football stadiums. The blog has been discontinued after the opening which is a shame!
  3. Blog Mr and Mrs Smith by Tamara, Mrs Smith her good self.
  4. Blog for guests By Josiah [added March 2010].
  5. Budget Travel Tips from Eurocheapo. Well, because they asked nicely.
  6. Cool Travel Guide by Lara Dunston in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. A perpetual globetrotter and travel writer who has authored and contributed to over 30 travel guidebooks.
  7. Crazy hotel Workers a community.
  8. Daniel Edward Craig, the former author of the Opus Hotel Blog until he left his position at the Vancouver Opus Hotel to become a full time Hotel Crime Thriller writer. Unfortunately, since he left, the Opus Hotel Blog isn’t anymore what it used to be under the new author Katrina Caroll-Foster. Come on Katrina a soft nudge to continue Daniel’s work, or do as Bill Marriott: Dictate the blog!
  9. Feather or Foam? by a House Keeping Queen of Clean.
  10. Future Blog From Design Hotels [added March 2010].
  11. Gadling A Hotel review site.
  12. Get a Room by Don Meador, director of sales of The Landmark Hotel Group in Virginia Beach, VA, USA.
  13. Gletcher Blog. A hotelier in the Stubaier Alps in Austria
  14. Hotel Check-In by Barbara Delollis, hotel blog by USA Today for the business traveler gradually evolving into aiming all hotel guests.
  15. Hotel Blogs. Guillaume Thevenot is a Frenchman located in London.
  16. Hotel Chatter. A hotel review blog
  17. Hotel Design Photo Blog By Josiah [Added March 2010].
  18. Hotel Hallways Mister Arthur who is in advertising shows us the dour hotel hallways.
  19. Hotel Girl Three witty Journalists who maintain a seven star Hotelblog in the TW stable.
  20. Hotel i Tour. Claude Benard’s second main blog, since he gave up writing for Les Explorers. Claude is probably the only Frenchman in France writing a travel blog in English as Guillaume lives in the UK.
  21. Hotel Manager Talk. Kevin Levine produces his own Hotelier podcast covering topics around N. America.
  22. Hotel Marketing Strategies By Josiah. To the point Simple and Good [Added March 2010]
  23. Hotel Musings by Adam Kirby [Added June 2010]
  24. Hotels of the Rich and Famous.
  25. Hraba Hospitality Consulting Blog
  26. Jaunted. Hotel review blog for the young ones
  27. Les Explorers by Claude Benard,
  28. Living with Legends. A diary about Hotel Chelsea in NYC.
  29. Marriott on the Move. The Bill Marriott, who, in my opinion, does a good job with his blog. Even if it is mainly about Marriott, he doesn’t avoid critical sounds in his comments.
  30. My Marrakesh by Maryam who is has finished building a Moroccan Guest-house.
  31. Passion of a Zealot by Andrew Calvo from New Jersey who is fascinated by hotel development. He is also a contributing editor on HotelChatter. He started blogging as a means of getting a job with Starwood Capital working for Barry Sternlicht. A real example of blogging for passion and with a purpose!
  32. Restaurant Gal by a waitress.
  33. So you wanna be a Banquet Manager…. A Banquet Manager.
  34. The Barmaid Blog A Barmaid.
  35. The Informed Traveler: Off course Five Star Alliance focused.
  36. Travel Rants, more a consumer (or prosumer?) blog than a Hotel insider Blog, but Darren is a bit of insider as he used to operate his own self catering website that he started for the family run business which he has closed now as per his comment.
  37. Red Room Chronicles. Long before Marriott entered the blog sphere, Rob Safuto was blogging about Marriott hotels around the world.
  38. Tourism and Hospitality Diaries [ Added February 25, 2010. Good stuff, but not so many posts since December, 2009].
  39. Urban Diner. Andrew Morrison is a local food critic who blogs about the Vancouver culinary scene, and he never misses a beat on local hotel happenings.
  40. Vacant Ready by a Canadian hotel professional presently based in Egypt Dubai, Chris Clarke, who set up Bed Jump, Hotel Beds, Hotel Splash and Hotel Throne, Hotel Bathrooms exposed successfully and then sold the concept to Hotels By City.
  41. Views from A Corner Suite Added Feb 2010
  42. Waiter Rant. Musings of a? Yes, you guessed right: Waiter. His book Waiter Rant is due soon out and he had to give up his anonimity and I took the liberty of using the nice cover photo to enhance this post.
  43. Well done Fillet: The musings of an Irish restaurant waiter, [originally on Blogspot, but now selfhosted.]

Updates
I have changed the list occasionally in the meantime:

  • Chocolate on the Pillow never took off
  • Hotel Warrior was discontinued.
  • Les explorers got a new writer since Claude gave up.
  • Kitty Bean Yancy stopped writing for Hotel Hotsheet of USA today, while Barbara Delollis replaced her with Hotel Check-In of USA today.
  • Vibeagent became Hotelicopter.
  • Another Hotelier Blogspot is hardly being updated
  • Unfortunatley Hotel Front Desk Blog by FrontDeskBoi (sic). Musings of a Front Desk Manager has been discontinued.
  • Alex Bainbridge simply stoped blogging and erased all his posts and teamed up at Tnooz
  • Drop into the Wyland Waikiki [added August 1, 2008] became a private blog.

Last edited by GJE on March 13, 2012 at 12:04 pm