citizenM South Lake Union, my hotel in Seattle. A tad more affordable than other places in the area, you quickly find out why – the rooms are modern and space-efficient, but they’re the size of a tack – maybe a hundred square feet. Perfectly stackable rectangles, a full fifty of them fit on one floor of the modestly sized building.

But it’s got some nice touches. Self check-in works well, and a full bank of half a dozen terminals means no lines. A generous common room with beautiful decor encourages guests to get out of their rooms and mingle downstairs. Badging into a room brings on all lights inside automatically, so no fumbling for switches. And while each light gets a switch for individual control, two master switches – one by the bed and one by the exit – light or extinguish them all simultaneously. Not exactly trascendant product craftsmanship, but having applied a modicum of thought to layout and design puts citizenM in the top bracket amongst its peers.

Staying in cities is expensive and getting moreso. Predictably, AirBnB has equalized in cost with hotels, and hotel prices are going up, showing ~8.5% inflation YoY. Thanks to the absence of Prop 13, Seattle uses its inner city land better than San Francisco, but it still got me thinking about how the lion’s share of revenue produced by an increasingly productive city ends up going to land owners and rent. A piece by Lars Doucet on Georgism (podcast form) makes the case that land value tax is a superior model to property tax.

Published November 16, 2022.

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