citizenM Hotel, you beautifully designed thing

As I work in design, I can be both inspired by great examples of design but also frustrated by bad legacy design. We have a lot of conversations in work or out where we chat about these examples and how to make those experiences even better.

Its not often we truly stumble across great examples of design but a couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure of staying at a CitizenM hotel in London. So I naturally started to take photos of everything to document my experience!

  1. As you walk in, instead of being greeted by a long queue as is pretty standard, you are instead greeted by a nice chap asking if you’ve been here before and if you’d like any help checking in. Checking in involves a touchscreen. Its simple and you get your room key on completion of checking in. If you’d been before then you wouldn’t even need to interact with any human if you didn’t feel like doing so. It’s seamless.
  2. On my way up to the room, you can see how there has been thoughtful consideration of the reception style area. There is a book store with (physical) books but also an iPad allowing you to browse through a cool online store. Brilliant if you’re waiting for someone… (we’re sometimes waiting for our Strategic Partner in hotels, he’s always writing just one more email!)
  3. On entering my room, I saw some really nice design touches immediately.
Do not disturb sign & soap

Instead of a standard soap, the packaging states “Designed to turn even the longest-haul traveller into a sparklingly clean and nice-smelling human being again.” This is instantly welcoming and fun. Also instead of the do not disturb door sign saying something dull, instead its replaced with “Don’t come in, there’s someone naked in here”. Alongside the welcome booklet (below), CitizenM has adopted a tone of voice I resonated with.

Welcome booklet

4. Back in the room I notice the iPad… In the booklet it references a mood pad. Exciting! You could control everything… lighting, the television, the blinds, and tunes through the iPad controls.

Instructions on how to use the mood pad

There were different ‘moods’ in the controls, you could either choose ‘party’, ‘relax’, ‘romance’, ‘business’ or ‘movie’. I pressed ‘movie’ to see what would happen — the lights dimmed, the blinds came down and the movie selector came up on the tv- all at once… It was ace!

Lighting control

I then started playing with different features on the iPad. If you chose the party mood, the mood lighting changed to pink and some dance music came on…. happy days!

Entertainment control

5. Another feature I liked was that you received free films to watch at your leisure. You could choose from new films and there was a great selection. I’ve stayed in a few hotels and it was nice for a change to be given this extra freebie. It made me not want to leave and I felt very comfortable and at home straight away.

Temperature control

6. After heading out for dinner, I got back and again easily controlled the temperature from the control as it was pretty toasty.

7. When it came to checking out, I didn’t have to hang around, you can just leave. New ‘keys’ are given out at the start of every stay. Simple.

So all in all what a great experience! Every aspect of my stay was designed and I really enjoyed it, something you can’t often say even in the swankiest hotels. The combination of the physical and the digital being thought through was great , something we don’t experience that often… seamless connections. All in all it made me a VERY happy customer so I’ll be going back and telling everyone about it.