Call it the best New York hotel you’ve never heard of.
Opened in April 2014, the CitizenM New York Times Square is the first North American property to be opened by the Dutch-based CitizenM hotel chain that began operations in 2008. Their entire philosophy revolves around providing cool, welcoming hotels that feature small but insanely well-designed rooms with the latest high-tech doodads.
This wasn’t my first foray into CitizenM territory; I first discovered them last year during an overnight stay at the CitizenM Amsterdam Schiphol Airport location and quickly fell in love with the hotel for its funky stylings, friendly staff and commitment to providing more than you’d expect. And in New York (particularly two blocks from the heart of Times Square), the CitizenM gives you way more than you’d expect.
So when the time came for me to book a hotel to stay in prior to my Quantum of the Seas preview cruise, this was at the top of my list. It was also half the cost of the nearby Marriott Marquis, Hilton New York, and other similar properties.
Check-in was beyond efficient; there was a friendly girl working the self-check-in kiosks who helped me with my reservation when I arrived just after 7 p.m. last Tuesday, and within seconds I was headed up to my room on the 12th floor, keycard in hand.
The entire room is small but functional, and bathrooms – normally created of transparent glass in Europe – have been “North Americanized” to help us hide our nakedness behind walls of semi-transparent plastic that keeps details out but which still allows the colourful mood lighting to permeate both bathroom and living space.
Speaking of, the entire room is controlled by a single device: a small Samsung tablet known as a MoonPad. The MoonPad lets you control the brightness and even colour temperature of the room’s lighting either by hand or through a half-dozen handy presents that range from “Work” (soft blues and bright lights) to “Romance” (dim and red.) Everything from the room’s music to the flat-panel television to the digital artwork frame and electronic blinds are controlled this way. It’s stunning.