These are digital pieces of real estate backed by non-fungible tokens (NFTs), on which players can build self-contained environments that can then be visited by other users.
Once the hotel group has bought the site, it plans to build a virtual hotel in the location where avatars can "work, sleep and play", the brand said.
Virtual hotel to be financed through NFTs
CitizenM will finance the construction of the virtual hotel through the sale of 2,000 NFTs attached to rewards such as discounts or free drinks, which will be redeemable at all of its real-world hotels.
All NFTs will be sold at the same price. But buyers will randomly be assigned one of three levels, with 1,500 of them becoming "regular" citizens, 450 "special" citizens and 50 "legendary" citizens.
The higher levels will come with better rewards, and their rarity has the potential to increase the value of the NFT, according to the brand.
"We are thrilled to be the first hospitality company to build in the metaverse," said CitizenM's chief marketing officer Robin Chadha.
"As a brand that has always pushed the boundaries and challenged traditional models, this new venture in The Sandbox fits not only with our brand strategy but also the commitment we have to the creative community and to our guests both online and in the real world."
Real-world hotel could follow
Once the virtual hotel is built, CitizenM plans to collaborate with emerging artists to create digital NFT artworks for display on its walls, which guests will be able to purchase.
The profits from this initiative as well as the incorporation of a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) – a decentralized member-owned community – will go towards the potential creation of a physical, real-life hotel.
Those who purchased NFTs will be able to vote on its location.
While CitizenM claims to be the first hospitality company to venture into the metaverse, a number of other industries have already started building in virtual worlds.
Architecture studio Voxel recently designed a "mystic" virtual arena to host Metaverse Fashion Week, while BIG and Zaha Hadid Architects have created a virtual office and a "cyber-urban" city respectively.