“Welcome citizen Leandra,” read my bedside MoodPad’s screen. Above, ambient lights glowed soothing purple. The giant bed beckoned with crisp white linens and a floor-to-ceiling window (with remote-controlled blackout shades) offered a view of the airport runway.
It took five minutes to walk from baggage claim to the lobby of citizenM Schiphol Airport Hotel where I received my room assignment via check-in kiosk. In less than 10 minutes, I’d departed the airport and arrived in my space-age room: a compact oasis of design that struck an improbable balance between ultra cool and just plain inviting.
– Leandra Beabout, The Travel 100 Contributor
After hours spent hurtling through time and space, I couldn’t imagine anything better than a clean, private place to rest my head when I exited the Amsterdam airport terminal at 10:30 p.m. Though it took a moment to get my bearings in the streetlight illumination outside, it was a quick walk to the lobby once I saw the glowing red “M” to my right.
I’d anticipated a sleek capsule hotel after seeing photos of the rooms on citizenM’s website. But this “unbusiness-like business hotel” upped the ante. I was welcomed by a concierge who pointed me to the bank of check-in terminals. Fellow travelers’ conversations buzzed in the background as I passed the open concept canteenM and one of the hotel’s “living rooms,” a cozy lounge space furnished by Swiss design company Vitra.
When the elevator doors slid open on the fifth floor, a screen invited me and “all travelers long and short-haul” to our rooms. Red carpet and a hallway lined with glossy white doors closed flush against the wall led me to mine: number 550.
A compact hideaway
As for the room? It bordered on cinematic, in a futuristic spaceship kind of way. The MoodPad offered lighting and music options like “Party” and “Business.” The bathroom was segmented within the compact bedroom: a standup shower encased in a ring of translucent glass was front and center, with a circular sink, toilet cubicle and mirrored shelves all within arm’s reach. The thought crossed my mind that the limited toilet privacy could be a problem for those traveling in a group. But that’s probably not a frequent issue in an airport business hotel (then again, there was that “Romance” option on the MoodPad…). For a solo traveler like me, the setup was just fine – even delightfully efficient.
Travelers won’t find a boutique set of toiletries at citizenM. My shower was stocked with two refillable black bottles of shampoo/soap: citizenAM and citizenPM. These and the soap dispenser on the sink offered cheeky promises, such as turning my road-weary self into “a nice-smelling human being again.” I appreciated citizenM’s vote for sustainability over convenience with refillable bottles. At the same time, conditioner and body lotion would have been nice too.
Aside from limited toiletries, the compact room included everything necessary for a restful, productive layover: blissful bed, work desk, fast wifi, plenty of outlets for charging and the sleekest design I’ve ever experienced, business hotel or otherwise.
canteenM: fresh and filling
In the morning, I ambled downstairs to a well-stocked food array. Though breakfast was indeed a buffet, the presentation and open-air kitchen style of canteenM made the morning meal feel more like wandering into an upscale acquaintance’s staffed dining room. After piling my plate with fluffy scrambled eggs, toast and a dish of yogurt and granola, I found a table next to a pop art gallery wall in one of the lounge areas. The coffee was on par with most average hotels, but the food was fresh and tasty.
It occurred to me while wandering past another lounge and back to my room that I wished I had a reason to stay longer. With plush lounges to work in and a kitchen stocked with meals and imbibements to match any timezone, I could have easily spent a relaxing weekend away at the citizenM. It’s marketed to layover travelers, but the award-winning design and cozy cool factor prove it’s a viable option for anyone staying in the Amsterdam area.
In fact, Schiphol’s hippest airport-adjacent hotel is enough to make me reroute future stopovers through Holland.
Thank you to citizenM Amsterdam Airport Hotel for hosting me during my stay. My opinions, as always, are my own.
– Leandra Beabout is an Indiana-based travel journalist and content writer who contributes to publications such as The Travel 100, Fodor’s Travel and The Everygirl.