“Nice shoes,” I was complimented for my footwear as I stepped through the colourful doorway of citizenM. It put a smile on my face, even though it was actually the doormat that said so, printed with this friendly greeting.
I was first acquainted with this Dutch hotel brand about 6 years ago during my unforgettable 9-day visit to the Netherlands. My friend, who is a world traveller, urged me to check out citizenM in Rotterdam when he found out that I was in town. I did, and the first impression of “returning home” stayed with me for these many years. Stylish and funky, a stay at citizenM is living art.
When I had the opportunity to take a break in Kuala Lumpur over the recent weekend, the first hotel that crossed my mind was citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang. Launched in May last year, I was just waiting for the occasion to personally experience it.
Checking into the hotel was a breeze via the self-check in counter. In fact, prior to my arrival, I had already checked in via email, so that cuts down the time required. While a new guest may initially struggle somehow at the terminal, there are citizenM ambassadors on hand to guide us if necessary. Once we get to know the system, it actually takes less than a minute to check in! Checking out is even faster.
citizenM ambassadors are one of the friendliest hotel staff that I have come across. From the minute of my arrival, I was greeted as though I was a long-awaited guest of the “family”. Yes, that was the kind of vibe the crew exuded, that gave me a sense of community, of belonging, even though we were meeting for the very first time. In fact, they were so amiable and not in a pretentious way, that I searched my mind to see if our paths had actually crossed before!
During my 3D/2N stay, I also discovered another interesting aspect about the ambassadors, besides their bubbly personalities. They are all multi-taskers and can professionally handle all and any task required at the workplace, from checking in guests to brewing a cup of coffee.
citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang, occupying the previous Sky Express Hotel, is like a large home, with very few partitions on its ground and first floors. Also, although the corporate theme colours of the hotel are black and red, these common areas give off a refreshing air with splashes of colours in its art and styling, combining Dutch and Malaysian culture.
Furnished with premium Swiss Vitra furniture for luxury and ultimate comfort, its objective is to give guests the welcome they need, no matter which new or strange city they have travelled to, to make them spend time in these public areas, if they wished to interact with other guests. citizenM indeed has one-of-its-kind concept, which again epitomises a sense of “family”.
While the ground floor has the lobby, living room and dining area known as canteenM, the first floor is another open area, called societyM, for complimentary use of the internet-connected Mac workstations. This is also where the two meeting rooms and one screening room for multi-purpose use are housed.
The two meeting rooms can accommodate about 14 pax each. One features a corporate theme while the other unit offers a youthful feel with a funky theme to better inspire ideas. Meanwhile, the screening room accommodates about 40 people.
All of these three rooms are equipped with ClickShare wireless presentation and wall-to-wall/floor-to-ceiling black or whiteboards, all the better for ideas to flow, as participants enjoy the free-flow of coffee and tea.
citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang, the first property for the brand in Southeast Asia, and its Rotterdam sister property that I had visited may be similar in design and concept, however, they are not exactly the same, because each of these lifestyle hotels has its own advantages and improvements made over time. For example, citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang is equipped with a male and a female prayer room, for the use of Muslim guests.
When it comes to the rooms, citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang has maintained its compact design that makes the best use of space. There are 210 rooms in total, measuring from 17 sq m up to 20 sq m, each furnished with a super king size bed for unparalleled comfort through the night. All rooms come with a view, either city view, courtyard view or Jalan Alor view.
Believing in providing affordable luxury to all categories of travellers, the rooms are well equipped with likeable amenities, such as a desk to work on, wardrobe and hangers, international power sockets, mini bar, toiletries, soft towels, safety box tucked smartly under the bed and hair dryer – super important to me. Moreover, there is an ironing room on every floor for the convenience of guests.
Yet, this strictly non-smoking citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang is never a run-of-the-mill hotel that is indistinct behind its closed door. Make yourself at home, including setting up the personalised ambient light of the shower pod via the iPad. In fact, just about any control is commanded via the device, from switching the lights on/off, rolling the blinds up/down, to watching a movie, listening to the radio and even setting the alarm.
To get maximum rest, what I did was turn the room to pitch black by rolling down the night blinds, and turn on the Brainwaves music experience on TV, to counter stress and anxiety.
The citizenM brand has a few iconic characters on every floor that guests can try to relate to: fashion citizen, business citizen, party citizen, cultural citizen, or wise citizen. If you were to take a closer look at the customised red-and-black carpet along the corridor, you can actually spot the map of Kuala Lumpur. Ah, so that’s where this mobile citizen has checked in. FYI, the ‘m’ in citizenM stands for ‘mobile’, not ‘Malaysia’!
For me, when it comes to selecting a hotel to stay, location is always my top priority. Thanks to the strategic location of citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang, at the junction of Jalan Pudu/Jalan Bukit Bintang, I was able to explore on foot many popular areas nearby such as Pudu (Chinatown), Bukit Bintang, Changkat Bintang, Jalan Alor, the Golden Triangle, Imbi, and even KLCC via the KLCC-Bukit Bintang walkway.
Arriving from Ipoh via Electric Train Service (ETS) and alighting at KL Sentral, I rode on the MRT from Muzium Negara MRT station to Pavilion Kuala Lumpur-Bukit Bintang MRT, exited from Entrance A, walked along Jalan Alor to cut through to Jalan Pudu. Total journey was about 30 minutes from KL Sentral. The walk from Entrance A Pavilion Kuala Lumpur-Bukit Bintang MRT to citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang was about 7 minutes.
Using KL Sentral as the main transportation hub, you can imagine how conveniently located citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang is, even if you took a flight in via Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA). Besides the MRT, you can also opt for the monorail, alighting at AirAsia-Bukit Bintang monorail station.
That’s not all. The KL120 bus (Jalan Pudu) stops right in front of the hotel! And of course, citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang is just a short drive away from anywhere within KL city.
The citizenM chain of hotels currently has 19 properties worldwide, having grown since its first hotel in Schiphol, the Netherlands, 12 years ago. As mobile citizens enjoy a sense of belonging, as mentioned above, it is not surprising that citizenM remains the first choice hotel for any city that the brand is established in.
If you didn’t know yet, citizenM actually allows guests to take home their room card as a souvenir. It can also double up as a luggage tag, and most of all, it is the key to your next citizenM hotel stay.
citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang Hotel
Add: 128, Jalan Pudu, Bukit Bintang, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Wilayah Persekutuan Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +603-9212 6340
Web: citizenM Kuala Lumpur Bukit Bintang