CityHub, a capsule hotel in Amsterdam
Last month CityHub opened its doors on Bellamystraat in Amsterdam’s Oud West district. Fifty state-of-the-art sleeping units, a ‘digital first’ lobby and an app that familiarises travellers with the city.
We spotted CityHub in 2012 when they got the idea and were exploring the possibilities. CityHub is an initiative of college friends Sem Schuurkes (32) and Pieter van Tilburg (29). The young entrepreneurs set themselves the goal of improving the traditional hotel experience in line with the current zeitgeist and technological capabilities. After a successful crowdfunding campaign, they opened a small pilot branch, ‘CityHub Beta’ in Amsterdam’s Oud West neighbourhood in July 2012. With an average occupancy rate of 95% and enthusiastic reviews on Booking.com, Airbnb and TripAdvisor, the pilot was hailed as a great success. Their popularity and success also resulted in a private investor (angel investor) and ABN AMRO coming on board to help Schuurkes and Van Tilburg set up the location with 50 Hubs on Bellamystraat.
So last month the CityHub opened its doors enabling their guests, mostly the travel-savvy Generation Y, to explore Amsterdam, socialise with friends and share experiences online. According to the owners a new kind of traveller has emerged: 20- to 35-year-old digital natives. For them, ‘discovery’ is the key: five-star hotels and stereotypical tourists spots don’t make them tick; they want to hear about the city’s hotspots from people in the know and enjoy a personalised travel experience instead. They are connected 24/7 and expect information on the go: a principle that is not optimally utilised by many traditional hotels. CityHub builds the entire travel experience around these new developments in the travel industry, through a city app, an online chat platform with a personal host, and unique Hubs in which to sleep.
CityHub, a capsule hotel with an app
CityHub combines the privacy and comfort of a hotel with the sense of being in a community and the affordability of a hostel. Situated in a 600m2 industrial warehouse, the hotel houses 50 sleek private sleeping units called ‘Hubs’. Each Hub is equipped with a comfortable double bed, Wi-Fi, and mood lighting and music streaming systems that guests can personalise. The CityHub ‘hangout’ is a spacious lounge where travellers can get together and, with the use of a personal RFID wristband, can check themselves in and serve themselves at the bar.
During their stay, guests will have exclusive access to the CityHub app: an interactive travel guide that provides tips for activities and events based on what is taking place in Amsterdam that particular week. Travellers can additionally request real-time suggestions from a CityHost as they wander through the city. The app also offers a chat room, allowing guests to connect with each other and share new hotspots that they have found. What’s more, the app can be used to control the mood lighting, alarm clock and music streaming within the Hub.
To counteract unwanted data roaming costs and to promote the use of its app, CityHub has joined forces with T-Mobile to offer guests the opportunity to use their own MiFi Hotspot (mobile router) in the city.