We landed at Amsterdam Schiphol airport yesterday after a so-so transatlantic flight. It was so-so because the plane was uncomfortably warm the entire flight. I’m used to planes getting nice and chilly mid-flight, but not this one. So even with good seats and stretching out, I find it hard to sleep when I’m sweating. Got some rest and watched a couple of movies, but no real sleep. And I felt it when we hit Amsterdam.
Schiphol is a *huge* airport. There’s a lot of signage, but there are multiple ways to get from point A to B and the signs show you all the options. Unfortunately, to a sleep deprived fur-en-er, options were not what I needed. I needed clarity, but Schiphol doesn’t offer much of that. It’s big and complex. We wandered around for a while, took a wrong turn or two, but finally found our way to our airport adjacent hotel, the CitizenM, using the map feature of my phone. That was an experience. CitizenM is modern and trendy, and its hallmark is tiny functional rooms. In a space about 20×10 feet, there was a modular shower, a modular toilet, a sink, a tiny desk and chair, then a queen-sized bed on a platform. No walls. The modular part of the shower and toilet is that they were inside translucent plastic tubes for privacy, but otherwise just in the middle of the single room. Weird. Logical and efficient, but weird.
The other notable feature of the Citizen is that the guest experience was highly personalized. As the reservation holder, my name was splashed around all the hotel’s systems, including the extensive room automation, all controlled by an iPad in the room. Lights, temperature, TV, blinds, alarm – all controlled by the iPad. It was impressive. The hotel was chock full of art, and the small bar/restaurant on the ground floor was pleasant. All in all, I was very pleased with our short night as a Citizen.
We were quite worried about getting back into the airport given all the recent press about it being the most congested airport in Europe due to labor problems. We were advised to arrive at the airport four hours (!!) before our flight. So, we dutifully left our cozy hotel at 430 in the morning and trudged over to Schiphol, about a 10 minute walk. Even that early, it took us two hours to wait through luggage checks, passport checks, security checks and the massive amount of walking through the airport. I can only imagine what it would have been like at 8 or 9am. But we made it comfortably and now sit somewhere in the bowels of the airport beast, waiting for a bus to take us to our plane. Which will take us to Southampton.