Just before Christmas, Ed and I got the chance to stay at the shiny new Citizen M in Tower Hill. You might be familiar with the brand, or the big red M in the logo perhaps, as there are a few scattered across the globe now, from New York to Paris and Rotterdam, but they grew considerably in London last year, going from just Bankside to now Tower Hill and Shoreditch too. The philosophy behind Citizen M is pretty similar to The Hoxton's (where I work as PR manager), in that it's a great value hotel for a guest who wants more than just a room. They want fast, efficient check in; they want a buzzy bar; a cool lobby to kick back and work in or meet a friend in; they want to be located amongst the action... 'Course, I love staying at hotels (who doesn't?) but working in the hospitality industry, I find it particularly interesting to see who and how other people are doing what.
I really like the communal areas at Citizen M hotels. They're inviting, relaxing, nicely decorated, and worthy of an Instagram with the bookshelves, quirky ornaments, Union Jack flags…
The rooms are more simple and functional. I do like them, all white and tech-savvy (an iPad operates EVERYTHING from the blinds, to the TV, the AC, and the technicolour lights of the bathroom), but I do find them a little clinical, with less character than other boutique hotels' rooms. Can’t deny the XL bed is mega mega comfy though – it’s a Citizen M trademark to have the big bed slotted right in against the window; you do feel all nice and snug in there. I know some people love the iPad does it all setup, but I can't help find it a little bit frustrating!
Easily the best feature of Citizen M Tower Hill is the top-floor bar, which gives an incredible view of Tower of London and over to the Shard. Pretty impressive, and you could definitely knock back a few drinks soaking up the view! Though, I was shocked at how expensive the drinks were up there!? £12 for a cocktail in a 'value' hotel bar is PUNCHY, even if it is London!
We wandered out for dinner and ended up at Homeslice in Shoreditch — can't go wrong with 20 inch pizza! Though there is a new Citizen M in Shoreditch itself, the Tower Hill one is definitely in walking distance and gives out-of-towners the benefit of being in spitting distance of the key tourist sights too.
After a perfect night's sleep (the XL bed is perfect for wriggly sleepers!), Ed shot off to work mega early whilst I made the most of a rare lie in (hello, automatic black out blind). Then...breakfast! Now its just your standard buffet set up but it gets extra gold stars from me 'cos they have veggie sausages! No hotel ever has veggie sausages!
Check out is at 11am and it's a techy affair. There isn't a check-in desk but instead, self-checkouts, like at the supermarket, for you to check in and out. It's efficient and practical too (great for business travellers), but again, I kinda like good old human interaction!
I think Citizen M hotels are really great for tourists and business travellers; they're good value, excellently located, clean and cosmopolitan...there's a whole lot of good! But for travellers who want that bit more, or plan to spend a bit more time in their room, I think they're just missing a little summin summin...
Rates from £104/night, Citizen M