Category Archives: Lifestyle Hotels

Checking into the Citizen M Hotel in Glasgow, Scotland

By Ariela Kiradjian

I am a student in hospitality and wanted to check out and check into one of the best small boutique brands in Europe to do a review of the property and also to see if my generation of traveler will buy into what it offers.

The Citizen M Hotel is located right in the center of Glasgow, Scotland. The hotel is just a couple minutes walk from Buchanan Street on the Style Mile, a fantastic mile of great shopping. It is also just a few steps from theatres and less than a half mile walk to the central train station.

London on a beautiful sunny day

London on a beautiful sunny day

The city has great underground service, so most attractions are easy to get to. As you walk into the Citizen M, you are greeted with a modern yet fun space as splashes of red contrasts the white interior. The hotel was created by the award winning Dutch Design Agency Concrete. When you walk up the winding staircase (or just take the elevator), you are automatically greeted by their extremely friendly staff.

Citizen M Hotel Glasgow room

Citizen M Hotel Glasgow room

To check in, you use their modern technology by being able to quickly check yourself in! The lobby lounge space has relaxing couches and chairs, big screen televisions, and even a big business center with iMacs. Spacious meeting rooms are also available. The hotel also offers food service with their canteen and bar, offering a great Scottish breakfast buffet, little bites all day long, and a full bar menu. All rooms are 14 square meters, have XL king size beds, ambient lighting technology, a wall to wall window, rain shower, Vitra design furniture, mood pad room control, free WIFI, free movies on demand, electronic climate control, LCD TV, in room safe, and international plug system for the US and EU standard and UK. All of the electronics are controlled on a Samsung pad. So that includes closing the blinds on the window, changing the mood lighting (so maybe going from purple to red), turning on the TV, adjusting the climate, and so on.

Beautiful Glasgow downtown

Beautiful Glasgow downtown

The bed is huge- and extremely comfortable! The shower is an experience it itself with two showerheads- one manual and one rain shower. You can even change the shower color to whatever you want! There’s also a hairdryer put under the sink. These rooms don’t cost much either, but you would never guess with all of its luxury aspects! What’s also great about this hotel is how well they treat their staff- you can tell because absolutely all staff members are always smiling!

Once you end your stay and check out, you are left with a friendly goodbye from everyone. What a great experience! And yes, my generation as well as my parents will be captivated by all this boutique hotel offers!

Citizen M Hotel welcome lobby

Citizen M Hotel welcome lobby

Citizen M Hotel Glasgow eating lounge

Citizen M Hotel Glasgow eating lounge

Historic Glasgow and yours truly!

Historic Glasgow and yours truly!

Hard Rock Cafe Glasgow

Life and all it holds for us in this industry

I have been remiss in keeping up with this Blog.  No excuses, so here I/we are again to talk about life.

What brought me to talking about life was an email from one of my staff about the passing of a leader in travel and tourism who I have known since my first day working in the industry with Carlson Travel.

Michelle Morgan, CEO at Signature Travel, worked tirelessly over so many years in the industry and made a terrific number of contributions to travel agents and suppliers to travel and tourism.  I remember her brilliance at Carlson with fond memories.  She was always so creative and so committed to whatever project she was working on.

We always hope, through our careers, that someone will notice the good that we are doing and hope that we can achieve this recognition during our time alive on earth.   Personally, I know so many people in our industry who give of themselves, of their capital and of their heart to helping others.

I make it a goal to ensure they are not forgotten and are celebrated in some way during their lives.  If you know of someone who deserves to be celebrated, you may email me for recognition here or enter them into our AWARDS for Person of the Year, or Hotelier of the Year.  Here is the link:  http://boutiqueleadershipconference.com/about-us/awards

CHEERS TO YOUR LIFE!

Fran

Frances Kiradjian
Founder and Chairwoman
info@blla.org

Passionate hotel owners

http://youtu.be/AtYu1UVjfeI (BLLA Video)

There is nothing like coming into contact with an independent hotel owner in the boutique, lifestyle or luxury category.

Their passion shows in their eyes, in their every movement and in just about everything they do online or off.

Why is that?

Basically, they are on their own, making decisions about everything including what/where/when & why. Their sounding board is either themselves, trusted friends and family or consultants and business associates they choose to work with.

They get into the business and some become passionate only after they’ve opened the hotel and see first-hand their vision come to life.  “It’s like birthing a baby,” says Tim Dixon, owner of the Iron Horse Hotel in Milwaukee.  The heart and soul of these properties mostly are tied into an owner, even if the hired designers and architects take a lead position.  They don’t have a rule-book with strict policies and procedures to follow.  They are the P&P’s at the end of the day.

On their own — reminds me of the ASTA (American Society of Travel Agents) tagline “Without a travel agent, you’re on your own!” In today’s world of traveling, it’s kind of nice to have someone backing you up in case you need help or advice or just a sounding board to help you make the right decision so you aren’t floating around out there without a safety net, wasting both time and money, and with so many choices online, this is not hard to do!

For boutique & lifestyle hotels, they also need that back-up, that sounding board, that one place to find experts and relevant information to help them through the thick and the thin of hospitality ownership in this special category.

That’s where BLLA comes in. The association’s mission is to raise the awareness of boutique & lifestyle properties everywhere on earth. Not an easy task. But one that is becoming more and more urgent and necessary. With new global property owners joining everyday, the larger number of members will mean that our voice gets louder and louder.

No matter who you are, if you believe in our mission, come join us today. http://www.blla.org/join-blla.htm

Traveling Boutique style – in mind & spirit – not the same as just plain traveling

By:  Frances Kiradjian, Founder, The Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association (BLLA)

This month I had the pleasure of traveling to Europe (Paris, Berlin and Amsterdam) for the International Hotel Investment Conference, the ITB Exhibition as well as the Hunter Hotel Conference in Atlanta.

Charming Amsterdam

Charming Amsterdam

On my flight home, I was thinking about how the thrill of travel (as well as the anxiety) was omnipresent and has never really changed that much, at least as far as my own personal experience.

Through the trial and tribulations of planning complex itineraries, booking planes, trains, automobiles, hotels and conference registration, making it to and from airports and lodging and through security with different experiences country by country from lifting your arms as they take an image and body scan through giving up my almond milk while the exact same box in my daughter’s bag made it through security.

Princess Diana memorial looking over to the Eiffel Tower

Princess Diana memorial looking over to the Eiffel Tower

The real thrill is in connecting with people and cultures in hotels, in trains and buses and planes and who are attending or exhibiting at these conferences.  It’s simply a marvelous experience and I can’t help but love just about every single person I come in contact with.  Whether it’s the bellman at the front door of the hotel (I have learned to highly respect ALL hotel staff and treat them like pros), the TSA staff at the airport checking your identification, the Passport Control officers (although some are pretty cranky but if you smile, look good and are friendly, you can make it through and not have the various Dutch tulip bulbs you forgot about in your suitcase confiscated, although the sniffing dog may just find that banana you took with you from the European breakfast buffet just in case the airplane food was no good, in which case you’re screwed as you will have to have all your bags checked).

One of the best museums in Amsterdam.

One of the best museums in Amsterdam.

Additionally, I simply love connecting with people on-board airplanes.  From a couple flying back from Sydney and across America through Los Angeles to make it home, to a Delta staff trainer sitting next to me to a complete family of 10 kids / grandparents / siblings flying to Los Angeles on vacation from Venezuela.  I connected with every kid (you couldn’t help it as they were all over the place bumping into you, knocking over things and being disruptive) … but seriously, in a nice way if you can imagine that.  They were just a lovely family to watch and I can just imagine how much fun they’re going to have from San Diego to San Francisco as they create lifelong memories for all of them.  I was touched by the 7 year old boy who spoke quite good English.  I taught him to take pictures of his experience along the way, including the beautiful snow-covered mountains out the airplane window and he said with a big smile, “Thank you for giving me this idea of taking pictures so I can remember every single day of my vacation!”

Best Sushi ever at the Sir Albert Boutique Hotel Amsterdam

Best Sushi ever at the Sir Albert Boutique Hotel Amsterdam

Staying in boutiques all along the way (I wouldn’t dream of anything else), you cannot help but love the experience of unique stays staffed with friendly, helpful people who can’t do enough for you.  We were only in Amsterdam for 2 days so running around the city left us little time to make plans for dinner.  When we returned to our hotel, the Sir Albert, we were exhausted and it was very late.  The fantastic hotel restaurant was full with no seating available (I did not heed the advice of the staff in the morning who suggested I make a reservation).  So I went to the hostess and begged her to see what she could do.  She consulted with the restaurant manager and he came to the lobby to speak with us.  “For you, madame, we will serve you here in the lobby.  Please tell me what you don’t like and I will create something very special for you.”  Ginger, as HE was called, created the best sushi platter I have ever had in my life and my daughter and I were in heaven, enjoying every single bite.  This is what you can expect from boutique & lifestyle properties … REAL boutique & lifestyle hotels that is!

The people and the places around the world are what inspire and touch me on a deep level to work tirelessly for our wonderful Boutique & Lifestyle Lodging Association members.

New terminal at Charles de Gaulle Airport Paris

New terminal at Charles de Gaulle Airport Paris

So that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.