CitizenM Boston Hotel Review | Booking Ninjas Travel Guide
Hey Ninjas! Welcome to the Booking Ninjas Travel Guide, a new blog series from us here at Booking Ninjas where we will detail our stay at various hotels around the world. Being a hospitality software company, we find it important to check out different, unique hotels from time to time to see how the landscape is evolving. Last week, I took it upon myself to check out the CitizenM Hotel at North Station in Boston, Massachusetts. These are the results of my stay:
I booked a deluxe room with a downtown view for a Saturday night at the price of $197. Saturdays tend to be their most expensive night, so my bank account questioned my decision-making skills. On weekdays, expect the prices to average around $180 for a downtown view and $155 for a deluxe room sans view. I booked my room through Expedia and was able to apply some points towards my total. Note that Expedia often offers 10% off deals for this hotel, and if you create an account on the hotel website, you also receive 10% off for life so those are the best options for booking a stay at CitizenM.
The hotel itself has just recently expanded to the United States. There are five locations across the country - Boston, New York (2), Seattle, and DC. In fact, this Boston location that I visited has been open for less than a year. The boutique chain puts an emphasis on two things; comfort and technology.
The CitizenM in Boston is located at North Station and is directly attached to the TD Garden, which plays host to Boston Celtics and Bruins games. The boutique is also a quick subway ride away from historic Fenway Park. Because of this, the CitizenM is a fantastic place to stay if you’re visiting Boston to experience a live sporting event. You are also in close proximity to the North End, featuring some of the best Italian restaurants on the East Coast.
North Station is a major stop on the Green Line of the MBTA (Boston’s subway system). If you’re visiting from out-of-state, you can easily save money by utilizing the subway rather than renting a car for your stay. The train, or T as locals call it, spans the entire city of Boston as well as surrounding areas such as Revere Beach, Quincy, and Cambridge which hosts two of the most prestigious universities in the world - Harvard and MIT.
If you do decide to use a car, note that you will have to pay for parking as there is none provided at the hotel due to it’s busy location. There are 31 parking garages within a mile of the stylish boutique but beware, parking prices in busy Boston locations can be sky high. Boston is also comprised of mostly one-way streets so if you’re a visitor, it can be tricky to navigate.
Here at Booking Ninjas, we talk a lot about technology and digital transformation. It’s the way of the future and something we focus our cloud-based property management software on. CitizenM’s slogan is “Welcome to a new kind of hotel.” And boy is it ever. You notice the emphasis on technology right away. There’s no front desk so to speak. Instead, when you enter after navigating your way up from the red-lit bottom floor that resembles Freddy Kruguer’s ideal location for murder, you face a desk of 10 tablets. This is where you check-in. But I could tell there was an issue by glancing at the irritated facial expressions of nearby guests going through the check-in process. As I approach a tablet, a lady exclaims, “This is just a horrible experience.” It was not the start I was looking for.
Before my trip, I browsed some online reviews of the hotel, a lot of which mentioned tech errors with check-in and in the room (more on that in the next section). But I went ahead and tried to check myself in. The screen will ask for your last name to find your reservation. I entered my surname and was met with a pop-up saying, “Technological error. Please contact a staff member.” There were already three agents surrounding the cornucopia of tablets helping disgruntled guests. They took my name and told me to wait in the lounge for 10 minutes while offering me a complimentary drink.
Fortunately, this issue was quickly resolved. I was told by one of the agents to again attempt to check in. I entered my last name, accepted the terms and conditions of the hotel, and had the option to pay $18/guest for a breakfast buffet the following morning. That led me to the penultimate screen of scanning one of the room keys that were placed next to each tablet. This was the first time I experienced this technology in a hotel and it was fast and efficient. My receipt was printed with my room number and I headed to the elevator to check out my room.
**The hotel does not place an incidental hold on your card**
My initial reaction to entering the room was surprise at its small size. Essentially, it’s just a king-sized bed, shower, and sink all in close proximity. The room once again puts technology at the forefront of its design as everything in the room is controlled via a tablet - lights, temperature, blinds, and TV. Many reviews of the CitizenM stated that guests had technical issues with the room tablet. Fortunately that did not apply to me as I found it functioning and very convenient. For the technologically illiterate, you can find a manual remote for the TV in a drawer underneath the bed next to the safe and there are manual switches for the lights and blinds located around the room.
Each aspect that the tablet controlled had custom features. For example, lights could not only be dimmed to your specific preferences, but also could be changed to any color while being accommodated by soothing “mood music” depending on the color you chose. I flickered through each color before becoming bored and moving on to the next feature. One of the strong-suits of this room is the wide array of entertainment available to you for free. Wi-fi is complimentary as well as a vast selection of movies, some of which are still playing in theaters. The film selections were among the highest quality of any hotel I’ve stayed at. There are also several tv shows available as well as podcasts, live tv, and yes even adult entertainment which I was surprised had no block or restriction on it (keep that in mind parents). The hotel offers the option to screen mirror your phone onto the television - the technology really impressed me.
Another great feature of the deluxe room was the view of downtown Boston which particularly popped at night. The control tablet gives you the option for day blinds which filters some of the sunlight during the daytime, and night blinds that give you complete privacy. Keep in mind that due to its centric location, on weekdays construction noise may be something that could potentially bother some.
Closet space is minimal. The refrigerator is placed in a drawer underneath the sink which tells you how small it is. There will be no storing of two liters or takeout food. Because of these reasons, I’d recommend the CitizenM for short-term visitors. The fridge does come with two complimentary bottles of Evian water for you to enjoy.
As far as comfortability, the bed and shower were just fine. The bed only comes with two pillows so if you prefer more to sleep, there is an option on the tablet to order additional pillows as well as a phone mounted on the wall if you’re unsure of how to work the tech. The bed also includes a plush that can be purchased downstairs. In addition, they encourage you to “steal” their mini skincare products. The shower has two options for you - a handheld shower head and an overhead. Water pressure is customizable to your liking. There are no shortage of outlets throughout the room to charge all electronic devices.
Note that you will need a room key to access the elevator. There are two separate elevators. One from the bottom floor to the lobby, and another from the lobby to the hotel rooms. The elevators ran fast without long waiting times.
The lounge areas of the lobby were spacious and comfortable. I noticed many guests enjoying this when I first entered the boutique. Meeting rooms line the left side of the lobby just past the desk of tablets. There is an outdoor patio with decorative seats and breathtaking views of downtown Boston, but since it was late February in New England, guests were not allowed out in fear of turning into an ice sculpture.
Note that as far as snacks go, the hotel shop doesn’t have many options - essentially yogurt and half-size cold cut sandwiches. I’d recommend going to the CVS across the street to load up on in-between meals for the duration of your stay. There are also coffee and tea options served at the centerpiece bar.
In the middle of the lobby is the bar which also doubles as a breakfast buffet in the mornings. Service is quick, the staff is friendly, and you can take your drinks into the lounge areas. The size of the lounge opens up space at the bar, so there’s no need to worry about rushing down to reserve a stool. An important thing to note is there is no room service offered at CitizenM, but there are a ton of restaurants in the area.
And yes, there is a full-service gym located in the hotel.
The checkout process was much better than the check-in. You go through the same motions - enter your last name, select checkout, scan your room card - which brings you to a final screen showing any charges you accumulated during your stay. A card reader is present for you to pay these fees with a debit or credit card at the tablet. After that, you’re good to go.
Who’s it for - Adults over 21, Solo travelers, Short-term stay
Best part - Spectacular views, Entertainment options, Proximity to TD Garden
Worst part - The tablet check-in debacle, No room service
Time of year to visit - All year
Would I recommend to a friend - Yes
Pass/Fail - Pass with Flying Colors
After hitting an initial speed bump, the CitizenM boutique hotel picked up momentum and continued to impress me. With small improvements to the efficiency of the technology, this hotel will be an in-demand hotel for years to come. It easily ranks up there among the best hotels I’ve stayed at in Boston. For a short-term stay in Boston, I couldn’t recommend it enough.
This blog was written by Justin Deagle, a content contributor for Booking Ninjas. If you’d like us to do a feature on your hotel, motel, or b&b, email Justin at [email protected].
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