Ballin' on a budget
Joyful, modern hotel opens doors affordably in downtown Austin
A Netherlands-based hotel chain is opening its first Texas location in Austin this week.
CitizenM Austin stands 17 stories tall at the corner of Seventh and Colorado streets in downtown Austin, right across from Perry’s Steakhouse and a short walk to the Sixth Street entertainment district. The building has been in the works for about two years.
The CitizenM hotel chains boast “affordable luxury,” according to a press release, and the 344-room Austin hotel will have plenty of modern touches, like iPad-controlled in-room lighting and blinds, as well as wall-to-wall windows with views of downtown.
This cozy minimalist room gives no hints about the jubilance of the rest of the design.Richard Powers
“In line with the savvy key pillars of CitizenM, Austin offers an exciting cultural center and influential tech hub being one of the most technologically advanced cities in America and a destination enjoyed by creators and explorers — CitizenM's core audience,” said Robin Chadha, the hotel chain’s chief marketing officer, in an email to CultureMap.
Chadha said the hotel hopes to attract a variety of travelers; both those traveling for business and for pleasure.
“CitizenM offers a hotel experience for guests that we consider today’s modern travelers — they travel frequently to the most exciting cities of the world, and they value a luxury experience, but at an affordable price," said Chadha. "They don’t fit just one profile: They could be traveling for business or for leisure — and often combine both into one trip. We call these types of travelers ‘mobile citizens’ and even named our hotel after them — the ‘M’ in CitizenM stands for 'mobile.'"
The Austin location will feature local highlights, including a rooftop mural by Hilda Palafox and a ground-level exterior mural by Calhan Hale. The rooms will also feature art from the nearby Contemporary museum.
Other features include a “living room” with books, art, and designated working areas; a retail space for travel necessities and gifts; a 24/7 dining area with grab-and-go options; a rooftop pool and gym; self-service ironing rooms; and self-check-in and check-out.
The dining area is not unlike a college dining hall turned chic and fun.Photo by Richard Powers
Chadha said one of the things that will set CitizenM apart from other downtown hotels is the aforementioned “affordable luxury,” but also its employees, who are put through a six-week immersion course to learn about the culture of the hotel chain. These “ambassadors,” as CitizenM calls them, are often hired from outside the hospitality industry and are chosen for their “attitude, not skills."
“All ambassadors are trained in all jobs, so guests are never told to speak to someone else when they need help," said Chadha. "Every ambassador is a receptionist, problem-solver, barista, and bartender. They all embody today’s modern citizen: curious, well-traveled and open-minded. They are also CitizenM’s walking concierges who know lots of things about their city, and readily provide tips about the best places to visit."
A rooftop pool never goes unused in Austin.Photo by Richard Powers
The hotel is offering discounted rates as an opening special, with rooms as low as $139 a night during the first week of opening, though in a press release, the hotel said the rooms will start at $199 a night. Check rates and find more info at citizenm.com.