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citizenM Rotterdam, The Netherlands

Lucy Land enjoys the smart Dutch design at citizenM Rotterdam, located in the architectural city of the Netherlands

The credentials:

Rated number two for hotels in Rotterdam on Tripadvisor, centrally-located citizenM markets itself as affordably luxurious for international travellers. Cleverly combining technology with smart design, the Dutch hotel chain encourages socialising. While the bedrooms are small, the first floor – furnished by Vitra – feels more like a lounge, kitchen and communal dining room rather than a lobby. There’s plenty of space to relax, read, eat, get online (there’s a table of Macs), watch TV and mingle.


Surrounded by the eating and living spaces, CanteenM is a 24-hour bar, offering a simple, relaxed buffet breakfast (including a few hot options, pastries, muesli, yoghurt, fruit and barista-brewed coffee); sandwiches, salads and sushi at lunch; as well as draught beer, cocktails and other drinks 24/7.


This hotel might be targeting global citizens but its bedrooms give its Dutch origins away: they’re design-conscious, efficient and egalitarian (all pod-like bedrooms are the same size and style; only the view – courtyard or harbour – differs).

Anything superfluous (trouser presses, bellboys, pillow treats) is done away with while the important things are just right: the XL king size bed (taking the entire width of the room and meeting the wall-to-wall window) was surprisingly comfortable considering I would normally request a twin room when travelling with a friend; and the rain shower was excellent.

There’s a frosted glass modulated toilet/shower cubicle with the wash basin in the main room (luckily I didn’t wake my travelling companion when using it in the middle of the night).

The ‘mood pads’ (created by Dutch tech company Philips) are used for everything from ambient lighting, air con, music, TV, alarm and blinds/blackout – great fun.

Who goes there?

Mostly mice*-types clad in Breton tops and Nike trainers. We overheard Dutch, French, Italian and Scandinavian languages at breakfast.

Out & about:

If the sun’s out, join the crowds sitting outside one of the bars overlooking the harbour before exploring further. The horseshoe-shaped stone and glass Market Hall, with its interior adorned with an 11,000m2 artwork by Arno Coenen, is located very close by, along with an outdoor market and main shopping area.

For modern art, head to Rem Koolhaas-designed Kunsthal (there was a fab Philippe Halsman photography exhibition and a bizarre installation of works by mostly working class international artists during our visit) and if you’re into seafood (don’t bother if you’re not; my falafel burger tasted like it came from a supermarket’s frozen section), catch a water taxi for lunch at New York Hotel, located in the former head office of the Holland America Lines.

In the evening, we headed to up-and-coming Katendrecht neighbourhood for our chef’s table at Kwiezien (we particularly enjoyed the wine pairing; the food menu was well executed though lacking in imagination) before heading to speakeasy-style cocktail bar Dr Rotterdam for our wonderful medications served by genial lab coat-wearing bartenders.

The worst thing:

The bathroom cubicle in each citizenM Rotterdam’s room might put off those who like their privacy and you need to be organised: ironing stations are located on the second and fourth floors; teas and coffees are available from the bar (there isn’t a kettle in the room).

The best thing:

It’s cleverness. There wasn’t any queuing at the easy-peasy self-service check-in station (though there’s always someone on hand to help); there are power sockets for every variant in the rooms; phone rates are similar to Skype/VOIP rates. The service is also excellent – we saw a child throw a tantrum because she had to leave a member of staff. You can’t help feeling a bit smug about discovering citizenM.

The details:


*Mice (Money Is Coming Easier; aged 45-54, the children have started to leave home and the mortgage is nearly paid off)