Citizen M Hotel – London Shoreditch review

Last minute weekend in London ? Yes please. I’ll just check hotel options….instantly, my idea of a quick city break (once travel and eating out is factored in ) turns into a budget normally only applied to a significant birthday or anniversary. Pants! Until you get off the wretched hotel aggregates and look direct, finding Citizen M and its 3 locations in London.

We booked a double room for just such an occasion as we got offered some last-minute tickets for an event at the 02 literally days before and really wanted to go. It was actually my husband who recommended Citizen M as he has used their day-pass work space before and thought I would love the interior. He was spot-on.

We stayed at the Shoreditch Citizen M location, a short walk from Old Street station (5 mins to Shoreditch High Street and about 10 mins to Brick Lane). What a find! The exterior belies the colour-carnival going on inside and the totally hip interiors every which way you look. As I mentioned on my Instagram post, do not take the lift up to reception or you will miss these fabulous lights above the central, circular and utterly touchable staircase.

Citizen M is looking after global travellers and offers style AND affordability. Identifying that most of their guests will not be hunkered inside for 72 hours (like they might want to do in a remote country house bolthole) but out and about indulging their wanderlust is what makes this work so well. Their aim is to connect ‘travellers to big, bouncy beds without emptying their wallets’.

‘Travellers’ not ‘guests’ is an interesting distinction. The latter potentially assumes uniformed staff and formal service where the former may conjur up do-it-yourself, budget-basics vibes. Do not fear! Citizen M has self-check-in, yes, but also very helpful, casually cool and friendly staff. Its not for you if you like having your bag carried to your room and white-glove service. For a genuinely great price however, its amenities are plentiful and thoughtful and so.damn.hip. As they say “Absolutely no trouser presses, bellboys, or stupid pillow chocolates”. Instead they have a laundry room where you can use the iron, 24 hour food and drink cafe and ipads to control every last thing in your room.

We had the most incredible view of London from our wall-to-wall window (with RC blackout blinds to keep you snoozing until you’re ready). The bed was huge and so, so comfortable, though up against the window so someone has to get in first and they better not be getting up during the night). The ipad console next to the bed controls lights, temperature, TV, audio, movies and wifi (all free) and the colour-change lighting on the shower was actually quite fun if a little kitsch.

Clever layout and smart-storage has been applied to keep your kit tucked away whilst you stay – our room wasn’t huge – but frankly, nothing is more wasted on a city visit than paying for a room you’re barely using, other than to sleep and get changed in. Its not a week-long holiday, its weekending and you’re out and about exploring. If you do want to hang about the hotel, there is more than enough space in the public areas at Citizen M. Very hip spaces they are too.

The bar is great, well-stocked and service is round the clock so you can chat until the smallest of hours. The lounge areas feel like someone’s contemporary living room, with egg-style chairs, large squidgy sofas and super cool wall-art. There are more giant windows, more views and the art continues outside with some excellent street-graffiti.

Location-wise Citizen M Shoreditch is excellent. You’re a short walk from Brick Lane; the cool street market, coffee shops and exceptional Indian restaurants. We walked from Old Street station and hung out in Shoreditch High Street for the day; shopping and lunch in Spitalfields Market, a couple of drinks at The Ten Bells (worth a visit, a proper historic London pub with bags of history and incredible tiles) before a quick turnaround and heading out to the 02. Bathrooms have space-saving design but also magical rain-shower heads, which are not to be missed and no nasty, tiny plastic toiletries. Hoo-bloody-rah! instead, large wall-mounted re-fillable bottles of shampoo and body wash (one blend for waking up and one blend for winding down. Nice touch.

The bistro-style cafe (Canteen M) is totally inviting and there are great hot food options at any time – 24/7. Hurrah! Breakfast is a lavish continental or delicious hot options. Such a refreshing change from rubber breakfasts kept under hot-lights at a time nobody wants to be up on a Sunday! Its all rather hip, chilled and the coffee was excellent, which is important. If you dont want to eat in, there are great cafes in the super surrounds of the hotel. You could walk for 3 or 4 mins in any direction and find somewhere insta-worthy!

I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at Citizen M again, it was everything we needed out of an overnight stay in the Capital. Next time I would be keen to try the Bankside for hanging out at Southbank or Tate Modern or the Citizen London Bridge for the views alone ! They have created these hotels ‘especially for mobile citizens – ideal when you have places to go and people to see’ and with everything you need and nothing you don’t. Which has got to be the goal of every modern traveller as we try and move more thoughtfully around this world.

Citizen M Shoreditch – rooms from around £100 for two people. All rooms are the same price.

More independent hotel reviews and travel inspo at Styleophile_uk or check out my Instagram for inspirational hospitality and hotel interiors.

5 best floral wallpapers – bring the hotel-look home

Hotel interiors are a bit of an obsession of mine. I love a good nosey round a hotel and then translating looks found in my favourites into interiors in the home. Lately I’ve been loving some of the gorgeous wallpapers I’ve seen and these bold, brave prints can definitely be introduced into our lounges and bedrooms, or indeed any room to remind us of our weekends away from the day to day.

Divine Savages – wallpaper wonders – as seen at The Bird, Bath

Summer is our key time to get a staycation in the diary, but now that we are heading into the cooler seasons, a nod to florals will help get us through until those brave first Spring flowers inject some colour and a hint of whats to come.

The Hoxton – Paris

Botanical, floral and garden-inspired prints and imagery have been with us for a season or two now and they’re not going anywhere soon. Its no coincidence that magnolia, peonies and monstera flood our Instagram feeds and who could miss the annual wisteria hysteria? We LOVE our gardens and plants (even if some of us cant keep them alive for very long) and its one of the reasons these wallpapers are so popular.

THAT leaf at The Beverley Hills Hotel

Whether your tastes err on the Scandi and firmly at one-stem-in-a-vintage jar or are more all-out WI-on-acid bold blooms, these wallpapers are nothing if not striking.  The British love-affair with horticulture shows no sign of slowing and its go bold and go home where floral wallpaper is concerned.

Here are five of my faves.

Forbidden Blooms from Divine Savages. “This wallcovering features beautifully illustrated floral blooms mysteriously intertwined with sweeping serpents for a wild and untamed interior”.

Bamboo Garden – Linwood (Tango collection) “Featuring large scale tropical prints with floral accents; Tango is a lively and bright collection”.

Dark Floral II – Ellie Cashman “My floral wallpapers are original, high-quality design products featuring my signature floral prints. They are suited to a wide range of private, public and commercial spaces. Your imagination is the limit! My vision is that walls can be more than just functional structures that divide spaces and hold up ceilings. Walls can be art!”

Wisteria Noir – Pearl Lowe ” “I only really realised how beautiful wisteria was, when we bought a house along a river a few years ago. The wisteria came out in May and it was the most enchanting thing I ever saw. So to be able to put it in a wallpaper or a fabric is a dream.”

Graham & Brown – Bloomsbury Mint “Bloomsbury captures the delicate designs of the 20th Century. Explore the medley of florals and the essence of the Boho Victorian aesthetic in this enchanting wallpaper print”.

THYME

These big, blousy prints are an easy way of capturing that hotel chic and bringing it back home. Two of my top hotel interior crushes are the Artist Residence group and Kit Kemp’s incredible portfolio of hotels. In the Oxford Artist Residence you will find the perfect harmony of florals alongside more cool country-luxe styling. Free standing baths and William Morris wallpaper, yes – but with neon wall art and crazy-good sofas.

If you’re talking hotels you’re probably already talking Kit Kemp, but no conversation about pattern and colour in hotels can actually take place without mentioning her incredible interiors. For a fuller picture, follow her on Instagram. For an idea of some fabulous florals, here is taster.

The notion of taking hotel looks home with you takes on new meaning when we can now purchase items directly from the designer’s concept. Via such outlets as Soho Home, Hoxton Hotels and Kit Kemp (at Bergdorf Goodman in NYC); soft furnishings, dinnerware, furniture, lighting, textiles and all manner of accessories are up for purchase. Recognising that travellers want to keep a little bit of what they love about a hotel with them, these forward thinking brands have offered us the opportunity to bring the hotel home. So you can take the toiletries and robe back out of your bag….