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 train travel and eating out is factored in ) turns into a budget normally reserved for a significant birthday or anniversary trip. Nuts! Until, that is, you get off the wretched hotel aggregator sites 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.

Bedroom revamp for teens with taste

A promise made to my pre-teen to revamp her whole bedroom was an interior challenge I knew I was going to really enjoy. As a child I loved nothing more of a weekend than re-arranging  my room so it felt like a completely different space – not sure my folks loved the constant scraping of furniture above their heads – but it kept me busy!

My daughter has had a vintage /shabby chic style room ‘Foreverrrrrrrr’ (shabby chic- thats code for messy, right?) so it was time for action. She also has some pretty strong ideas about what she does and doesn’t like so obviously there was going to be some negotiation involved!

Coinciding with her starting senior school and needing a proper desk, it was the perfect opportunity to redecorate.  The thing is with pre-teens is they turn into teenagers and teenagers can be notoriously fussy and fickle, so this had to be future-proof AND funky. Tough gig.

Here are some before pics of the room – it’s quite large and has a big bay window which throws in loads of light. Problem is, she is a light sleeper, so we needed it to be dark at the right times. She is also fabulously messy so storage was still key.

I should mention that I did not have the luxury of time on my side so no trawling over websites or antiques markets to find that special ‘piece’. Once you start a kid’s room, you need to crack on as they need access to all their ‘stuff’ so it was all systems GO.

Firstly, the carpet had to go, it was the most revolting shade of dusky pink interspersed with green stains from fun times with glow-slime /silly putty (thanks Granny).  We opted for white floor paint on the floorboards and a rug. There are already experiments in bath-bomb making, forays into make-up (and no doubt illicit hair colouring soon) so it seemed sensible.

Onto the walls – Honor picked the paper herself and I loved her choice – this is Nordic Tree print from Next who have a genuinely on-point range of great quality papers. I have used them before in our basement and found them good to work with.  Its modern and cool but I don’t think it will date PLUS its black and white so a fab backdrop to all the colour that exists with her ‘stuff’ (mess).

I chose the paint which I kept a surprise from Honor until the final reveal and used Mineral (again from Next as the delivery was the next day and I didn’t have to lug paint around).   It’s an uplifting shade and I think works perfectly in conjunction with the paper. It’s not too feminine and not too bold but not insipid either. Bland was definitely not on the brief!

The bed was cabin style with a desk underneath for homework and a chair for reading, playing her guitar and chilling out. I styled it up with throws and cushions and it handily converts to a single bed so it’s great for sleepovers too.

The pictures are from Ikea with some white frames from Next which are very reasonably priced – she loves the theme of travel and this was a good way of introducing it without being too gimmicky.

To continue the travel fun, I added a globe and made her a gallery wall where we hung lots of trinkets and souvenirs from places we have visited (my word this girl loves a gift shop!) 

The sink was here when we moved in and we were going to remove it but as she is getting older its proving very useful, so the boys don’t have to queue for the kids’ bathroom when she is faffing.  I added some accessories from the bathroom section at Next in a dark teal which I think look great against the white and mineral colour wall.

The curtains have an amazing blackout lining and really do the job of keeping it dark.  There were a few colours to choose from in different drops and widths.  I think they are a pretty neutral shade so would look great in anyone’s bedroom, so you aren’t tied to one room with these.

What I have tried to achieve is a look which can be changed as she gets her own style and tastes as she grows up. The accessories are what bring the colour to the scheme and these can be switched up without any major hassle. The Next paper and paint offer some longevity and that’s the key to the compromise – she loves it and I do too.  What are the chances of her keeping it tidy?

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