TL;DR: CityHub Rotterdam straddles the line between hostel and hotel perfectly. It’s modern to the point of seeming futuristic and it’s in a convenient location. The pods are cool, and thoughtful touches abound.
If you want the full story, keep reading.
I arrived at Rotterdam Centraal Station from London and followed my trusty friend Google Maps to CityHub, a cool hostel-hotel hybrid I’d been stalking on Instagram. While I could take the tram, I opted to walk instead since it was pretty much a straight road. I also wanted to get an early start on taking in the innovative architecture which is synonymous with Rotterdam.
Of course, being me, I walked on the wrong side of the road and encountered the tracks for said trams plus bike lanes and cars. The journey took me a little longer than it should because of that but I was soon on Witte de Withstraat, the cultural area of Rotterdam and the location of CityHub. I walked in and was greeted by a staff member who directed me to use the self-check-in feature.
This involved typing in my booking number and getting my wristband with RFID chip which would be my hub key and wallet for my stay. CityHub is cashless so you use the wristband to make purchases from the snack and drink machines as well as to buy tea, coffee, wine and beer – all self-service. The wristband is also used to operate the elevator.
Check-in was quick and I was soon on my way to my second-floor hub. It was a minimalist space with a large bed and storage space. Robes were provided and there were USB and electrical sockets on both sides of the bed. I quickly connected to the Wi-Fi and logged into the CityHub app so I could control the lights. There were lots of cool lighting combinations to play with and the child in me loved it!
The app also allows you to communicate with the host who was on duty in the hangout. Anywhere else this would be the person at the front desk but CityHub is too cool for such formalities. While everything is self-service, there was always someone available to answer questions or assist. i.e. If you accidentally leave your room without your wristband and show downstairs in your fuzzy slippers and pyjamas , they’ll go up and unlock your room. Not that I experienced that or anything!
As I mentioned, you basically just have a cool sleeping space so the showers and toilets are communal. I know that thought makes some people cringe but these were very clean and there was always music playing! It did get repetitive, but it was still a relaxing feature.
The showers were roomy and there was space to store your items and hang your robe without getting everything wet. Seriously, all showers should be built like that! Oh, and did I mention the Rituals toiletries? (I’m now a Ritual of Happy Buddha convert.)
I didn’t find it particularly comfortable to sit in bed while working on my laptop but the hangout had more than enough chairs and tables to accommodate me. The Wi-Fi was strong throughout the building.
Now as for the location, I found it easy to walk everywhere. Witte de Withstraat is a destination in and of itself with lots of restaurants, art galleries, street art and coffeeshops. The street was always buzzing well into the night but the sounds never came into the hotel.
All in all, CityHub was as cool as I expected it to be and it was a great introduction to pod hotels. I just hope I haven’t been ruined for all future pods!
If there’s something you want to know about that I haven’t covered, feel free to ask!
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