So the gal – and her splendid new Porsche Design wheelie, by Rimowa, goes travelling again. This time it is Amsterdam, to capsule luxury, CitizenM Amsterdam City, ten minutes’ walk to the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh.
From outside you see a flat-roofed five-floor shoebox building, its glass walls illuminated with different colours. The main door is indicated by a pair of inner-lit scarlet ‘shapes’, go in through automatic doors, to a carpet that says Nice Shoes.
Room 127 is a mere 150 square feet, just wide enough to take a kingsize mattress. I have a wall-set safe, and ceiling-high circular tubes with doors that open to reveal, in one case, the washroom, the other the high-pressure shower.
The room-wide bed is flanked by cream leather-look bolsters, with a similar one at the far end (bedhead, below the window). The bed has a bottom sheet, and lying on top are two pillows and a folded white duvet. All electronics are controlled by Philips moodpad.
An old-fashioned grey with-cord telephone hangs on another wall – when people call in, they can dial your room automatically, when you call out it is at VOIP rates, worldwide.
There is no space for reading material or minibar. After the initial shock of this, well, yacht-like use of minimal space, the first-timer relaxes. It is possible to divide one’s territory in two, by pulling across the ceiling-hung white gauze curtain that is stored just beyond the shower circle.
Yes, there is colour – the luxury of a scarlet swivel Eames chair, and a multi-coloured Flopsy ragdoll called Maartje, local citizen made in China.
There are also little Barbie-doll images on the black information sheets, and some of the corridor walls. You are merely intended to sleep here – CitizenM is value-luxury, cheap-chic, it sells sleep.
People congregate in the 24-hour lobby. One of the open-ended rectangles has six biggest-size Apple computers, there is a library area and a sports-bar television alcove.
Behind the central serving area is a full wall deli, 30 feet long, of well-lit shelves of chilled foods to buy, and a microwave. Elsewhere there are stacks of magazines, beverages, all available 24 hours.
Breakfast is from seven and two baristas work nonstop in the centre of the service-bar. Give your room number, they check pillar-set screens, make your required coffee (china cup or mug, paper cup-to-go). Help yourself to what you want. The plates are china, the juice is really really fresh. There are granola pots, assorted breads, hard-boiled eggs, cheese, rolls and croissants.
This is highest quality. If this is chic on a budget, the gal likes it. She and the wheelie head on, for her more-usual life.