(at center an urban reimagining of "The Last Supper")
It was chance that led us to the citizenM Hotel on our trip to NYC last week. Geri VanAlstine, our terrific agent at AAA, did a search for reasonably priced places to stay in the Time Square area and came upon the citizenM. The citizenM where we booked our room is on 51 St. about 50 yards from Broadway. I know the name is odd. It sounds like the title of a dystopian novel or an old Peter Lorre movie. In fact, it is part of an international chain of “boutique” hotels.
Let me explain the philosophy of the citizenM. Simply, the citizenM folk believe that a hotel should be like your home. At home, you don’t spend a lot of time in your bedroom but rather in your living room or den. For this reason, the citizenM rooms are rather spartan, but their lobby is a joy to visit. The lobby is filled with comfortable furniture, desks for study, a refrigerator along one wall with snacks and cold drinks, an eating area, and a small, but well-stocked bar. The towering walls are covered with interesting art and shelves holding all sorts of unique stuff. This is a lobby designed for “hanging out.”
Also, when you go to the citizenM, you won’t bump into any management in 3-piece or power suits. You won’t see any bellhops, either. It appears that the hotel is staffed completely by great-looking young people of a variety of races all under the age of 30. They wear sort-of uniforms and are delightful to interact with to a person. Whether they are tending bar, being baristas, assisting at the check-in kiosk, or just walking around smiling and saying “hello,” these “kids” make the experience really special.
Now about your room at the citizenM. Staying there is your way of finding out whether you would be happy living in a tiny house like the ones that are the rage on HGTV. One end of your room is all big bed. There is only one side of the bed from which you can get out. This made it a little tough for older folks like us but will pose no problem for the spry. You can store your suitcase in the giant drawer under the bed. At the center of the room is a dresser of sorts which features a tiny sink for cleaning up and a really brightly-lit mirror. The bathroom chamber contains both toilet and hand shower or rain shower, with mood lighting. The water temperature is self-controlled by a thermostat built into the soap dish, basically. All of these necessities--lights, mood lights, heat, curtains, shades, media--are controlled by an easily operated iPad.
We hadn’t been to New York City in forever. Now I can’t wait to go back. . .like tomorrow. We saw great shows, had good food, and communed with wonderful friends. And I can’t wait to hang out in the lobby of the citizenM again.