The citizenM hotel in Glasgow is more than just a place to get your head down. It's an inspiring overnight experience
Hotel Fox in Copenhagen, 25hours in Hamburg, the Miro in Bilbao. There are all kinds of designer hotels out there with enticing interior decor, wonderful artwork and dramatic lighting beckoning creative-minded travellers. Some of them look pretty pretentious too. I have no hipster cred whatsoever so I was a little nervous when my latest copywriting brief took me up to Glasgow and the client insisted I stay at citizenM.
But I'm glad I did.
citizenM sounds like something out of The Prisoner and once you step inside the aura is quite captivating. The lobby, bar and lounges form a postmodern dreamscape, dominated by black and red, with touches of white. There are big shapes lurking everywhere thanks to the furnishings, sculptures and unexpected ornaments. The carpet in each hallway is a fascinating red-tinted satellite map of a city with streets, buildings and parks viewed from above.
While you wait for the lift you can flick through a giant book documenting the life of Michael Jackson in images, or just stare at the wild decor. The signage does more than point you in the right direction. In a tightly tracked sans serif typeface it usually offers a grain of humour. In the lift "No smoking" becomes "citizenM says: Light up and it'll be the most expensive cigarette you ever smoke".
Each room has a shower capsule, pure white wall-to-wall bed, minimalist desk area, and a chair complete with a rag-doll called Mollie. You can buy your own Mollie downstairs if you need one. Everything is controlled - from the mood lighting in the shower cubicle to the lights and TV - using a remote. It's just like in a 1970s sci-fi show. Every citizen gets free WiFi, and every citizen gets a number. I was citizen 505. The one who spends an hour playing with the automatic blinds.
There's another citizenM hotel in Amsterdam, and the company has won an array of design and hotel industry awards over the last few years. Soon there will be new locations in New York and Paris, and citizenM is building a campaign up for its London opening at the moment.
Though wonderfully visual and immaculate, a hotel like this can still be offputting if the staff get that art gallery attitude. Thankfully the ones I met in Glasgow were down to Earth and very helpful. The breakfast was fantastic, including the coffee, and it made me think I should have eaten dinner at the hotel too and enjoyed its great bar. At that point I accidentally wiped HP sauce on my top and realised that if I had a beard and a better sweater, with less brown sauce on it, I too could fit in at citizenM.