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The new 11-story, 195-room Hotel Set opens in Union Square in October


A new Dutch-owned hotel chain, citizenM, will open a 195-room Union Square hotel this fall as part of a five-star push opening in the U.S. – and is a rare example of a newly-built hotel in the area, on a lot that was otherwise empty for two decades.

As there SF Business Times report, CitizenM took the ownership of 72 Ellis Street from Highgate Hotels in 2016, after 15 years in which this company was weakened by various economic setbacks from the developed lot. Construction began on the 11-storey building in April 2019, and the company expects to begin welcoming guests in October – a month after it opened its first hotel in Los Angeles.

As a brand, the 16-year-old citizen is known for a high-tech experience, with doors that can be opened via cell phone app and iPads replacing traditional light switches. Amsterdam-based “affordable luxury” brand took its name from the notion of “mobile citizen,” and now has 21 hotels in 14 cities across the globe including Kuala Lumpur, Zurich, London, Glasgow, New York, and Boston. Two other CitizenM hotels will open soon in Miami, as well as a new one in Washington, DC

Prices at the Union Square hotel, which seems to be aimed at business travelers, will be somewhere between that of a limited- and a full-service hotel. For example, the current nightly rates at CitizenM hotels are between $ 110 and $ 230. They make all “big beds, fluffy pillows and forest-like showers,” as well as a 24-hour “canteenM” for food.

citizenM also plans a 218-room hotel in SoMa, in a still-secret location, as well as another somewhere in Silicon Valley.

Ernest Lee, the company’s director for the Americas, tells the Business Times that they are cautiously optimistic that tourist and business-traveler traffic will return to SF by October. “Right now, we’re very focused on getting our Ellis Street project open,” he said. “Together, we are moving as fast as we can with pre-construction of our Silicon Valley project.”

The latest opening of the newly built SF hotel was the Virgin Hotels San Francisco property, which debuted in May 2019 and shuttered with the pandemic last March. It hasn’t reopened – and it may not, due lawsuit filed by both the owner and a firm involved in the building.

A newly renovated hotel, the Alton, from the Kimpton Group, opened in May at Fisherman’s Wharf, in a half of the former Holiday Inn on Beach Street.

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