A contemporary boutique hotel close to the River Thames, citizenM Bankside is a design-led space appealing to creatives with its vibrant live/work spaces. Colorful and cool, guests should expect to find digital nomads hooked up in the quirky public spaces in this super millennial hotel. Stylish and individual, citizenM is a one-of-a-kind example of a luxury mid-range hotel that leaves most aspects of the service up to the guest.
YOU SHOULD KNOW CitizenM attracts a young clientele who embrace the communal work spaces and enthuse over the design-led interior—if you’re after a regular hotel with personal service and frills to match, know that this isn’t it.
Compact, pod-like rooms come with floor-to-ceiling windows that invite plenty of natural light into the identical spaces. Whitewashed walls and neutral bedding leaves the Vitra furniture to make the design statement in the simple rooms. Fridges are filled with free snacks so forget nasty minibar bills.
Rooms may be cramped but the idea is to make the most of the public spaces curated to be the traveller’s friend, with plenty of power stations and stylish places to take meetings.
Bathrooms are more like tight shower pods, which might not suit everybody. While basic, the small spaces have everything you need, save for a bath that is.
Forget the rooms, citizenM is all about its lobby and surrounding spaces. iMacs are free for guests, plentiful work stations encourage a collaborative feel and snazzy Vitra furniture adds to the cutting edge contemporary look that falls somewhere between Scandi design brand showroom and boutique hotel lobby.
Though hardly central, the hotel’s spot on the South Bank isn’t far from sights including Tate modern and Borough Market. Plus, the short walk along the river takes you to the bustling South Bank Centre and its restaurants, bars and cultural spaces. At a ten-minute walk, Borough Station, the nearest Tube line, isn’t the most convenient so black cabs and Ubers are a good option for getting around.
If you eat at one place nearby then make it Padella (8-minute walk), a hip, homely little restaurant that serves beautiful pasta that you may or may not have to queue for. For great view across the river, book a spot at Terrace at the National Theatre (18-minute walk) and sample from the range of tapas dishes.
You’ll find no Vitra furniture or design-led interiors at The Gladstone (8-minute walk); what you’ll get is a rowdy neighbourhood pub that attracts locals and Londoners rather than tourist crowds. For more views, head to the Terrace Bar at Tate Modern (5-minute walk), the ideal place to discuss the state of the art game over cocktails looking over the river.
WHY WE LIKE IT
citizenM is bold and brash with no shortage of design-led quirks to feast on. What the rooms lack in personality they make up for in their dedication to an idea, the idea that guests need be presented with only the necessity amenities for them to enjoy a comfortable stay—so free mini bars instead of room service. For young creative types looking for a place to stay where they can be surrounded by likeminded peers, this is the place. For everyone else, the stylish good looks and prime South Bank location are a big draw.