Zetter Hotel-8

If you missed London’s Craft Week, then there is another great event for crafters coming in 2 weeks. The Clerkenwell Design Week is similar to London’s Craft Week but sets itself apart due to its location, Clerkenwell (London’s centre for many of the world’s creative artists and crafters). This year’s event will be held from May 22 to May 24 and if you are considering traveling there, then one of the best hotels to stay at is the Zetter Hotel.

The hotel is cozy and only has 60 rooms. The design of the hotel is cool. The hotel looks like a DIY/interior design board from Pinterest. It has bright colours, trendy paintings, and beautiful textile in every corner. The breakfast is average but only 1 minute across the street lies one of the best restaurants in London, The Modern Pantry.

There is one feature that needs its own paragraph just to talk about, which sets the hotel apart from many hotels in London. The hotel has the friendliest staff in London. Going on TripAdvisor, one would see the common opinion of many Kuwaiti travellers, that London’s hotels have rude staff.  At Clerkenwell Zetter this is guaranteed not to exist. The staff are very friendly to the extent where one would want to be their friend. On every encounter, they make sure to gift you with the greatest present of all, a smile. As for kids, they spoil them with gifts, from teddy bears to colouring books; whatever is needed to make the child happy, the staff would do. The friendliness isn’t restricted to the reception or luggage attendants, but it is seen with the restaurant’s waiters, room cleaners, and it brushes of the hotel’s guests.

As an area Clerkenwell is new to Kuwaitis and maybe unknown due to it being far away from Oxford Street and Knightsbridge. However, in the recent years Clerkenwell started attracting more restaurants and shops. The hotel is the best located hotel in that area and if a quieter London is sought after in your next travel then it is the best place to be.

House Hotel Nisantasi Room View

Two of the best designed boutique hotels in the world are part of the Turkish Chain (funded from a Swiss-based Irish investor), House Hotels. The first hotel, House Hotel Galatasaray, is a restored 1890 mansion. The designers from Autoban have preserved a lot of the building’s history by keeping the original stair hand rails, doors, ceiling, and floors. The hotel doesn’t even have a lift. The rooms are beautiful and spacious. The bathroom is made from marble. What is nice is that each room has a separate living space. The breakfast is at the rooftop which overlooks Turkey’s beautiful sea.

The second hotel, Nisantasi House Hotel, is more contemporary, yet it preserves a home-based feeling. Rooms are quiet and few guests are encountered due to its small size which contains 44 rooms . Unlike the first, it has a lift, a lobby, and better service. The suites have their own balcony that overlooks one of the most luxurious streets in Istanbul with brand stores such as Louis Vuitton and Armani. The most photographed area of the hotel is its wonderful library/dining area/lobby. Breakfast is also lovely but Galatasaray’s is much better due to its view and food quality.

Despite a rise in travellers’ interest in boutique hotels, these two beautiful hotels were  closed. One reason might be because of the falling number of European tourists and that is due to a few terrorist attacks and the failed coupe attempt. Yet this might not be the reason because the hotel group is opening more branches. For that reason the following question should be asked:  “why did two of the best located hotels with lovely buildings and service close?”.

Twentytwentyone Showroom

Traveling is one of life’s greatest privileges. However, it is not a privilege if the trip did not add anything to a person’s knowledge. For crafters, there are various ways that they can expand their craft’s knowledge. It can be done by attending workshops, visiting museums, or browsing design-based shops. Design shops range from small local stores that sell items designed by local crafters to big design exhibitions such as the Milan furniture fair.

Twentytwentyone is one of these recommended places that would definitely broaden ones horizon. The London shop has two locations and both of them stock “design-led furniture, lighting, and accessories”. They stock work from more than a hundred designers. Some of the furniture and accessories can be seen found in other shops but what makes Twentytwentyone special is having pieces designed by different artists be displayed in a harmonious way.

The shop is expensive and they do have sales. However, what is free is an education given by the friendly shop-assistants. The employees at Twentytwentyone were not only helpful in choosing furniture, but they also recommended whether an item that they sell is worth buying or not (something that is rarely done by sales people). The shop is not the only recommended place but their newsletter is also one that should be subscribed to.

Yarn Display 1

There are many craft and hobby shows held throughout the year. Some are local which are held occasionally and are announced on local websites newspapers; and some are international. International exhibitions and shows can be divided into two categories.

The first category are the craft and hobby fairs that are targeted towards the consumers. Two organisers Knitting and Stitching Shows and the ICHF Events, hold the best fairs that targets crafters. Anyone can visit these events where they can shop and buy at discounted prices. These fairs also hold lovely craft workshops.

The other category are the international exhibitions that target businesses and retailers. These cannot be visited by anyone. A requirement for such exhibitions is the ownership of a craft business. Out of the many held every year H + H Cologne is one of the best and largest. In these international exhibitions one can get new products for the shop and can attend various workshops that help small businesses.

However, the most important feature that international exhibitions can provide which consumer craft fairs cannot provide is predicting the direction of where the craft industry is heading. For example, t-shirt yarn became a trend in 2013 and 2014. The year before that both local and consumer craft fairs did not display such yarn. It is only at international fairs that a few exhibitors offered it. By attending these international fairs one can spot some potential trending products.

As for actual trends, they can be seen with the other type of fairs and shows. Whether it is a trending colour, trending material, or a trending brand; craft shows will definitely have trends be on display. In short, exhibitions for consumers can show current trends while exhibitions for businesses can indicate to the direction of what will or might trend. For any crafter that is trying to keep up with the craft world, it is important to either visit both types of exhibitions of look at any coverage of them which is what will be done on this website.

CitizenM Lobby

Travel websites rank hotels based on categorised features that would allow readers to pick a hotel based on various preferences. For example, one can search for the best family-friendly hotel or pet-friendly hotel. These features vary from a website to another; from a category that is important to travellers such as service to a category that is specific like serving halal food.

As a result, this diverges from the traditional way of ranking hotels which uses the classic 5 star rating that is given to a hotel from well known institutions. The divergence results in not having one best hotel or similar top hotels, but instead a best hotel that is based on a certain feature.

This modern way which websites use to rank hotels is by far a much better process since it is similar to how travellers actually rank hotels.

For example, one question that travellers’ currently ask; what is the best mid-budget hotel in London that is near Edgware Road and the Hyde Park. In other words, the traveler is searching for the best ranked hotel that is categorised under “Traditional Kuwaiti London Lifestyle”. The result of such a search would be Cumberland Hotel.

Another example of a such a categorisation that can be even more specific would be what is the best Dubai Sea-side hotel that has the best service but is not crowded like other sea-side Hotels during seasons; resulting in Ritz-Carlton.

The modern categorisation that is available in travel websites do have the ability to show   such ranking which is something that is very helpful for travellers. However, this specific categorisation would leave one of the best hotels in the world out of any top ranked hotel that falls within these categorisation.

CitizenM is one of the best hotels “period”. However, if categorised it will not be the best.

The hotel which uses the terms “non-conformist” and “transformational” to describe itself, started from a revolutionary concept that opposed the traditional standards set by hotel industry. From the start, the founder wanted the hotel to be called “One Star Hotel” to break the industry’s mould that have long been forcing conventions on the whats and hows of hotel operation.

In terms of location (European branches), two are located near airports and the rest are not central (except for Glasgow’s). Thus, it will not be a hotel at the top of any list where location is searched for. Even the airport ones are not well located for travellers. Thus, it will never be mentioned under a categorisation that considers location.

In terms of service, the hotel’s concept has a self-service check in and check-out. A self service diner/bar where its up for the person to charge what has been bought. It also doesn’t have neither a traditional concierge nor a laundry service. Thus, it is  a hotel that will not make a list of best service hotel.

In terms of the room, it is small with a tiny bathroom and a non-existing storage area. There is no iron board in the room. The ironing is part of a communal area. Again, this makes it not be part of any category that considers good rooms.

In terms of price, at the rates given, one can find hotels with bigger rooms, more services, and much better facilities.

Taking all of this into account one should conclude that it is a really bad hotel. Yet, it is not. It is one of the best hotels “period”.

The hotel has something about it that makes a person not stay anywhere else. This is a guarantee: a single stay at any of its branches will lead to staying multiple times at any of its different locations without considering any of the traveler’s preferences and necessities.

This blog post questions why that is the case. How can a hotel that is expensive, with a not great location, small room, and weak services be the best hotel?

There will be no answer, unless the whole view of category based hotels is abandoned.  CitizenM cannot be categorised and should not be categorised. It is an experience hotel. What travellers will get from the hotel is an experience similar to the experiences one gets when visiting traveling landmarks. In other words, people travel to shop, visit museums, experience different adventures such as sky-diving or bungee-jumping. To that list of experiences, citizenM should be added.