MICHAEL LEVIE, CHIEF OPERATING OFFICER, CITIZENM
A collection of innovative concepts, citizenM is a hotel brand driven by one desire: to create affordable luxury for its guests. Can Faik talks to Chief Operating Officer Michael Levie…
citizenM Hotel is a hotel brand that reflects and learns from the needs of these new global citizens. Paramount among these needs is the desire for affordable luxury. Mobile citizens know what they like from good lodgings. This includes stylish design, great value, the best entertainment, sociable atmosphere, a comfortable bed and big fluffy towels. They need accommodation in a good location, and they could do without unnecessary or hidden costs. citizenM acted on these needs, wishes and desires. The result is unique, quality lodging for an affordable price.
What does your current position involve?
I am a founding partner and chief operating officer of citizenM, in charge of the hotel side of citizenM.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
Working with a dedicated specialised team to transform our industry.
What are the complexities of meeting the demands of shareholders, fulfilling the growth of your management team and delivering the brand’s values to the guests?
I believe all (these) constituencies have similar aspirations for citizenM, to be a company with its very own character, style and DNA. We are aiming to transform traditional thinking in our industry with exceptional results.
What will citizenM have to do to stay one step ahead of its competition?
citizenM has to run its own race. We will constantly continue our quest to improve and grow and are never satisfied with what we have created thus far. We are our own biggest critics.
What is next for the citizenM as in new openings?
Tower of London and Shoreditch have both recently opened, New York Bowery, Paris La Defense and Gare de Lyon Paris next year with even more in the pipeline.
Are citizenM looking at any countries in particular for new openings?
citizenM targets metropolises where mobile citizens are looking for a hotel that has our values – innovative, contemporary, luxurious, affordable, stylish and in a great location within the city.
With a number of new citizenM opening across the world next year, which one in particular are you most excited about?
Not one favorite, very exciting to see us in that many different cities and countries.
Will Istanbul be an area where citizenM would like to open and will there be a second New York property to come?
Yes it will and yes, there will be a location at The Bowery.
What are the personality traits that define a successful and happy hotel proprietor, in your opinion?
High and extraordinary guest satisfaction ratings!
Have you noticed any particular trends in hotels in Europe compared to US and Asia?
All continents are dealing with a changing commercial environment/distribution.
How important are public spaces to citizenM as you have some great rooftop bars, Tower of London being one of them?
Very important and a significant part of our brand.
At Tower of London we have a huge ‘Living Room’ downstairs while this is our first London hotel to feature a stunning rooftop bar with a wraparound terrace–it has enviable views of London.
Have you noticed any particular trends in hotel interior design?
Everyone tries to be contemporary and create lifestyle environments. This is something we have always done and we have developed a signature style.
citizenM are well known for its great in-room technology, is this something which is important to the brand and further openings?
Technology stands central for extreme empowerment, technology itself is not the focus…
How important do you feel hotel design has become when launching a new hotel?
Very important. Design is one of the biggest factors in our brand, we have worked with Concrete since our inception on developing on interior style, which features luxurious touches such as Eames lounge chairs alongside contemporary modern art and an array of furniture from Vitra.
What would you say are the two best places you’ve ever stayed?
citizenM Tower of London and New York Time Square.
Where currently ranks highest on your travel wish list?
It’s a small world, I’d love to cover it all!
Let’s finish with the issue of personal and work life balance. How do you aim to achieve a good balance and what do those closest to you think of your attempts?
I live passionately for my family and citizenM, they overlap and are never in balance…that is what makes it all interesting.