Cheeky, Comfortable, Crisp and Fresh – the citizenM Tower of London Hotel

Taking a page out of cheeky branding and consumer strategies first developed by Richard Branson, citizenM is tweaking and probably reinventing the hotel business. Eschewing oversized rooms in favor of expanded common areas, citizenM taps into the ‘third place’ concept first leveraged by Starbucks and now many others.

We spent several glorious days in citizenM’s Tower of London Hotel.

The eye-catching lobby has an open floorplan, with myriad sitting areas decorated with chairs, sofas, Alvar Aalto stools and eclectic bookshelves. The bar and restaurant area is likewise open and inviting. There is no traditional check-in desk, rather it is akin to an airline kiosk. That affords a “one minute check in” as touted by the hotelier.

Given that the target market is far more familiar with mobile phone utility, it is not surprising the hotel we visited has no car park. Undoubtedly the majority of visitors arrive by Uber, the nearby Tube stop or by traditional black taxi.

The food was excellent, served buffet style. We started each morning with a hearty English breakfast which included vegetarian sausages (in a nod to the target cohort), eggs, beans and roasted tomatoes.

Although the rooms are small, they are well appointed and highly functional. Our room overlooked the Tower of London, which was impressive looking in the morning and imposing when lit at night. The single largest item in the room with the bed, which was comfortable and roomy.

The utilitarian bathroom had a shower with two heads; I always prefer the ceiling version. We soaped up with choice of AM and PM showergel, specially developed for citizenM by famous Amsterdam perfumer ‘the Nose’ (who was also responsible for creations by Comme des Garçons, Viktor & Rolf and Helmut Lang).

All in, it is obvious citizenM has taken the best elements of traditional British hospitality and folded them into a modern remix.

photos by Richard Powers

Brad Auerbach has been a journalist and editor covering the media, entertainment, travel and technology scene for many years. He has written for Forbes, Time Out London, SPIN, Village Voice, LA Weekly and early in his career won a New York State College Journalism Award.