August 18, 2020
citizenM’s Newest Location in Seattle Offers a Glimpse of the Post-COVID Hotel Experience
The hotel chain was always known for a tech-filled experience, but the pandemic is streamlining check-ins while accelerating hygiene protocol.
This summer Dutch hotel chain citizenM opened its 20th property in Seattle’s South Lake Union neighborhood. Designed by Amsterdam studio concrete in collaboration with Gensler, the seven-story structure and 264 guest rooms feature art by local creatives, including Sub Pop Records art director Jesse LeDoux and Native American muralist and illustrator Jeffrey Veregge. But beyond the usual services and signature tech-rich offerings, what travelers will find most compelling has to do with new pandemic-proofing measures and the launch of the citizenM app—changes that hint at the future of the hotel experience.
For years, citizenM hotels boasted one-minute self-check-ins at kiosks (20 seconds with a pre-arrival QR code). This June, however, the hotelier launched a proprietary app that does even more than bypass kiosks entirely. “We were actually already pandemic-proof without knowing it,” says citizenM chief marketing officer Robin Chadha.
In response to COVID-19, Chadha says, citizenM was able to rapidly implement cleaning and disinfection, because all of its hotels’ guest rooms are of a single bare-bones design. But with the claim of a truly contactless experience, the chain is seeking to cement its reputation for responsiveness: In addition to in-taxi, curbside, or bar check-in, guests can use their smartphones to unlock rooms, control lights, blinds, and temperature, and access entertainment. And through the app’s chat function, guests can request room service and even, dare we say it, complain about the room.
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