London is starting to get serious about building a startup scene, so it gathered a bunch of reporters to promote “Tech City” this week.
Tech City, originally dubbed Silicon Roundabout, is a section of East London where startups are cropping up. Google Campus is in the heart of it, and companies like MindCandy and Yammer have offices nearby.
As part of the Tech City experience, the reporters stayed in a new, high-tech boutique hotel called CitizenM.
The hotel, located in Bankside, doesn’t have a concierge. Instead, guests check themselves in and out on touch computer screens. In each room, a personalized Samsung Galaxy tablet greets guests and lets them control everything from the blinds to the lights on the tablet. Internet access is free and there’s no password. Netflix movies can be watched on the TV from the tablet for no charge. CitizenM says it wants to make guests feel like they’re at home.
The chain was started four years ago in Amersterdam. CitizenM will be coming to the United States later this year when it launches a Times Square branch in New York City.
We were blown away by the tablet-controlled room. We don’t know how we’ll go back to a room where you actually have to get up to do things.
Full Disclosure: London & Partners, a not-for-profit funded by the city’s mayor, paid for our flight and hotel to London this week to cover London’s startup scene. It paid the full price (about 400 pounds for three nights) at the CitizenM.