It's not every day you get to stay in a room with a 1000 year old view.
citizenM's new flagship Tower of London hotel opened earlier this month. The 370 room hotel, designed by Amsterdam based Concrete, is the Dutch hotel brand's largest property to date and this was the view from our room when we checked in last Friday to meet up with a group of design bloggers who'd been invited along to stay. Located right next to one of London's most historic sites, it's citizenM's second hotel in London. Their Bankside hotel opened in 2012 and a third is due to open in Shoreditch in September.
'Affordable luxury for modern travellers' is the citizenM philosophy, and it's a concept it's hard to find fault with. The rooms, which have wall to wall windows to frame the views, are prefabricated and then lifted into place during construction. They aren't large but what they've managed to do with the space is impressive. Each room has a huge super king size bed, comfy linens, a large flat screen TV with a range of on demand movies and a bathroom /wet room with a great shower. Everything is thoughtfully designed and exceptionally well configured and nothing feels cramped. Every element packs a punch.
An iPad acts as your 'in-room personal assistant', controlling the blinds, the lights (there are lots of different ambient settings that you can adjust according to your mood), the TV and your morning wake up call.
All the rooms are the same - there are no suites or superior rooms - but it's worth trying to secure one with an external view if possible (some of the rooms look out over an internal courtyard). The views from the rooms overlooking the Tower really are breathtaking.
On the ground floor there's a large comfortable lobby and a series of spaces in which you can eat, drink, meet up for appointments or relax in one of the inviting sofas or lounge chairs. There's also a communal workspace with iMacs and printers free for guests to use - great if you want to travel light and leave your laptop at home but still need to catch up on some work during your stay.
A cluster of George Nelson bubble lights greets you as you enter and the Vitra furnishings include classic designs by Verner Panton, Charles and Ray Eames and Jean Prouvé.
This Julian Opie piece acts as one of the main focal points...
...and a kinetic light installation by Dutch design duo Studio Drift floats up and down the internal courtyard of the hotel.
At the top of the hotel there's an amazing rooftop bar. cloudM is a dramatic double height space with floor to ceiling windows and a wrap around terrace that offers views of the iconic skyline - from Tower Bridge and the Tower of London to the Shard and the Gherkin. We drank gin cocktails by the East London Liquor Company while taking in some of the best views in town.
After a fun evening hosted by We Blog Design I enjoyed one of the best night's sleep I've had in a hotel in ages. The beds are huge and super comfortable and despite the fact that the hotel is located directly above Tower Hill tube station there was almost zero noise. It was incredibly quiet.
Of all the hotels I've stayed at recently this is the one I'm most likely to return to. This in part due to the location as I'm often looking for places to stay in central London, but also because a stay at citizenM involves a unique combination of affordable luxury and contemporary design. You get all the buzz of being in a busy central London location but in a friendly, creative and inspiring environment where you can relax and feel completely at home. And with rooms starting at from £109 a night that means there's more leftover in the budget for cocktails on that amazing roof terrace.