The facade of citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang sports multicolour panels and equally vivid portraits of 15 individuals who were handpicked by the hotel, dubbed ‘citizens of KL’ — shot by photographer and art director Jayden Tan — holding various objects that represent the diverse, unique and multicultural landscape of Kuala Lumpur.
It is an Instagram-friendly hotel, as chief operations officer of citizenM Michael Levie describes it to EdgeProp.my, “We love to inspire others with our space. We have amazing art hanging from our walls and fantastic designer furniture that are creative and contemporary, exactly what we (citizenM) want to be.”
Located at the heart of Kuala Lumpur in Jalan Pudu, Bukit Bintang, the 210-room hotel opened in July 2019. Guests are within walking distance to food hotspots like Jalan Alor and shopping districts in the Golden Triangle.
“Hotels change ever so slowly. [They] are not known for innovation and transformation. A hotel typically simply opens its doors and invites everyone to take a room, just consume.
“Admittedly, [citizenM] is not that different, but we focus on a specific group of travellers — frequent ones,” said Levie in early July, during a media preview of citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang.
citizenM was founded by entrepreneur Rattan Chadha with the first citizenM hotel at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport in 2008.
This was followed by citizenM Amsterdam in 2009, citizenM Glasgow in 2010, and citizenM London Bankside in 2012. Rotterdam, New York, Paris and others followed soon after.
In 2017, the company ventured into the Asian market with its first location at Taipei North Gate. Further expansions are in the pipeline.
Not a lobby, but a living room
Upon entering, guests are greeted by self-check-in kiosks which are equipped with passport/ID scanners. This is where citizenM touts its 60-second check-in. Just scan the credit card you made payment with at the kiosk and your cardkey will be ready for use.
Resplendent in a rainbow of hues, every corner of the lobby is filled with vividly-coloured designer furniture and contemporary art collections. The common spaces are designed with the living room of a home in mind.
As Levie puts it: “The epicentre of a home is usually the kitchen, [hence] we design our communal spaces accordingly. When you walk in you’ll see the bar in the centre. It is more a living room than a lobby. We combine the bar and meeting spaces. With that in mind, we hope our guests will mingle and not just stay in their rooms.
“It is an ideal place to hang-out and network. Travellers do not spend much time pent up in their rooms. Think of this as more of a co-working space.”
In keeping with citizenM’s philosophy of making its hotels unique, the lobby also features artwork and sculptures from local artists likes Azizi Latiff and Afiq Faris, among others.
One will not find plain walls or dull furniture here. The three meeting rooms are dubbed societyM, and two of these are set up in boardroom style and can fit up to 14 people. The remaining room can be transformed into a presentation space, mini movie theatre or reception room.
The same design philosophy of the hotel applies to the meeting rooms as well, featuring colourful decor and furniture suffused in plenty of natural light. To keep things consistent, other citizenM branches around the world feature similar aesthetics, with only slight variations to reflect the respective local cultures.
All citizenM Kuala Lumpur rooms come in a single size (about 150 sq ft). Each are equipped with the essentials – in this case a king-sized bed, high-speed WiFi and blackout blinds. A standout feature here is the ‘MoodPad’, as citizenM calls it — an iPad with a little extra magic. The device operates as a ‘digital butler’ of sorts, and allows guests to control almost every aspect of the room, including the blinds, lights and temperature.
Guests can experiment with different mood lighting and colour hues with a touch of the MoodPad, customising the ambience of the room to their fancy.