So I have chronicled several of my experiences with budget hotels from my travels across Africa and parts of Europe, in my ‘that type of hotel’ series. You can read my experience with Ghana and Nigerian hotels here and that of Europe here.
However, during my recent trip to France, I finally stayed in a budget hotel in a world of its own, for all the right reasons. I first saw and experienced citizenM Hotels in Rotterdam, when I visited for the MTV Europe Music Awards in 2016. Although, I stayed in Ibis Hotel in Rotterdam, the coordination for invited media was held at citizenM, where most of the international media stayed.
And anytime I was there, I would admire the architecture and interior design of the hotel so much. So when I was planning my recent trip to France and I saw that there was a citizenM Charles de Gaulle airport hotel, I just had to try it, and to my surprise it was pretty affordable. For the two nights, it was under 200 euros; not so different for what I often pay for Hotel Ajax in Amsterdam, through Book Hotels App
For some reason I wanted to stay close to the airport, to make it easier for me when I’m returning home. After my stay in Cannes for the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival (and yes I returned to the Mimoza Resorts in Mandelieu-la-Napoule), I headed to Paris. When I arrived at the Charles de Gaulle airport, I picked a taxi because I knew my hotel was not far.
As we moved and I saw the signs directing us to citizenM, I said to myself, “I wanted to be close to the airport but not this close.” I could see an airplane parked close by, yes that close! After taking a closer look at my taxi driver, I thought he looked Ghanaian. So I asked, “where are you from, you look so Ghanaian?” And well needless to say, we started speaking Twi.
When I alighted, I complained to the driver that I didn’t know the hotel would be so close to the airport. I asked, ‘How far is it from town?’ He told me that yes I was very far from town but the train access makes it easy to go to town. He even showed me where I could take the train; it was a walking distance from the hotel. Later on, I found out that the Charles de Gaulle airport is technically not in Paris.
Anyway, I made my way to the hotel. Although the architecture was different from what I experienced in Rotterdam, the aesthetic styling was unmistakably citizenM, and the only major difference this time was that, I was checking in! The check-in was quite an experience on its own; most of the process was self-involving. I entered my details on a computer/pad, and within moments I activated my room key. I then made my way up to my room.
When I got to my room, I was even more impressed with the chicness of the room. With minimalistic interior styling design, the room combined affordability with hints of luxury to provide a comfortable and memorable stay. I was welcomed into my room with TV and iPad screens that said ‘Welcome citizen Ameyaw’. And this one just the first hint of how the hotel uses technology to impact on the stay of guests. My room had a wall-to-wall window with blinds that could be controlled with buttons on the wall or from the iPad. The citizenM custom MoodPad allowed me to switch to several colour themes for the lighting in my room, including my bathroom. The cinema mood automatically closed my window blinds and turned off the lights in my room to set the mood for any choice from the wide selection of latest movies and TV shows available in the entertainment options. But, I never utilized it…boring me!!!
As a foodie, perhaps the only thing I didn’t enjoy with my stay at citizenM was the food options. Yes, there was food but not heavy meals to feed an African prince like citizen Ameyaw. Haha. The canteenM provided food and drink 24 hours a day but it was good for cappuccino, freshly baked cookies, and other quick meals. The canteenM is designed like an open kitchen in a ‘white’ home, with sandwiches, salads, soups, warm dishes and more.
And the mixologists were always there to serve drinks but all I wanted was real food that would fill my belly for hours, especially since the hotel is far from town. As much as I loved the hotel, I didn’t spend much time in it as I was always out in town, touring the city and buying some stuff. But I surely cannot wait to do it again either in Paris or any other city in the world that has a citizenM hotel, because I finally found that type of hotel that gives a great experience!