Amsterdam Travel Guide
We first learned about Spanish chain Room Mate when they took over the QT Times Square way back in 2008, and talked to founder Enrique “Kike” Sarasola to understand what they’re all about. In short, that’s individual hotels with distinct personalities (called Oscar, Grace, Isabella, and so forth) that should give you the feeling of staying with a local friend who knows the ins and outs of each city.
That philosophy has resulted in a total of 18 hotels today, from Grace in New York to Carlos in Buenos Aires, and now Aitana in Amsterdam. Not a Dutch name (in case you were wondering whether it was locally inspired), the 284-room hotel is located on the man-made IJ Dock (the IJ is the surrounding water) northwest of the city’s central station.
The first rendering (we have a picture from almost exactly the same angle just below) also clearly shows the all-glass top floor that will be added to create an ‘upside down’ hotel with Living Room lobby, restaurant, and bar all on the hotel’s rooftop.
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Having looked at new Amsterdam hotels that start with a W (the W and Waldorf Astoria), we backtrack through the alphabet to the letter H, where we find two additional, and somewhat polar opposite, future openings: the business-focused Hyatt Regency and budget-chic Hoxton.
The 211-room Hyatt Regency will be located in the former Emma Kinderziekenhuis (a children’s hospital) between Sarphatistraat and Spinozastraat, down the street from the Amstel InterContinental and an easy stroll away from the city’s outpost of the Hermitage museum. Comparing what we found in person with Google Street View, a series of low-rise buildings has been levelled, creating what looks like the perfect space for the hotel’s driveway, entrance, and any gardens or terraces the architects might have in mind.
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Having scoped out the other big Amsterdam opening that starts (and ends) with a W, we kept on walking and turned down the city’s Herengracht canal until we hit up the row of patrician houses that is being transformed into the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam.
About this time last year we gave you the first preview of the 94-room hotel, which is planned for a March 2014 opening. What we could see through the windows does not tell the full story of the hotel’s progress of course, but the public spaces and the downstairs kitchen we spied certainly seemed to need some work still. Let’s just hope that March opening will be happening, especially as it should kick off three consecutive months of openings for the brand, with Beijing and Jerusalem scheduled for April and May.
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Having received a first shot of the future W Amsterdam thanks to one of our tipsters, we decided to do a little further investigation and see what we could find out about the hotel located just off of Dam Square, less than ten minutes’ walk from the city’s central railway station.
We’d agree with our tipster’s assessment that the building, in its current state at least, lacks in the aesthetics department, but, with the right bit of love and W imagination, we do see a lot of potential. The address is not Raadhuisstraat 2, but rather Spuistraat 175, the street that runs along the back of the building. The Albert Heijn (a grocery store) and Gall & Gall (a wine & spirits shop) you see on the ground floor in the above shot will remain. Based on the description on the architect’s website, this will mean that all public spaces of the hotel, including reception, restaurant, and bar, will be on the top floor of the hotel. Read on for more about the building’s history and future as a W.
When it comes to European destinations, W Hotels has all the major cities covered--London, Paris, Istanbul, Barcelona, St. Petersburg and coming soon--Switzerland with their first-ever ski resort, along with Milan and Athens in 2016. And now you can add Amsterdam to the list.
A super secret spy sent us this picture the other day of the forthcoming W Amsterdam which will be created out of the city's old telephone switchboard exchange building. Admittedly, it's not much of a first look but in classic Amsterdam fashion, there's a man pedaling by on a bike.
According to our source, it will be a 172-room hotel. Right now, there's not much happening to the building but we hear it is being gutted and that real work should start soon. We're guessing W Amsterdam could totally open in 2015. Ja!
Update 10.8.13: Another Amsterdam tipster gave us an address-- Raadhuisstraat 2. They also said the building is "awful" but it's in a great location near Dam Square. Apparently, there's an Albert Heijn on one side (like Dutch Walgreens) which will be convenient if you forget your toiletries.
[Photo: HotelChatter Super Secret Spy]
Last year, the seemingly dull news that the Hoxton Hotel London changed hands to a new investment firm had us sit up and take notice based on the possible expansion of our £1 flash-sale favorite brand to places like New York – which arguably is in dire need of more affordable hotels.
Fast forward to this summer, and the only thing we’ve seen so far is the tiny notice on its website of the Hoxton Holborn, opening next year in a former office building about fifteen minutes due west of the hotel today. Things could be looking up, though perhaps not yet for New York, with The Times and DNA Hotels reporting that Hoxton-owner Ennismore Capital has agreed to buy the Rembrandt Classic Hotel in Amsterdam for €25 million ($33 million).
If you've been to Amsterdam, then you know it's a city of canals, waffles, bicyclists and historical architecture. If you're a tourist in Amsterdam, then you also know that it's the center of the historical architecture where you find the best hotels, but they weren't always there.
Skyscrapers aren't welcome alongside the still canal waters and, when a hotel wants to open up, it often has to first find a building to repurpose, instead of constructing something brand new. As a result, nearly every hotel in the center of Amsterdam lives on a site with a history, one which may range from something as innocent as a convent to as sad as a jail for the Resistance movement during World War II.
Here's six such notable hotels:
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Amsterdam is kickin’ ass and takin' names these days. It's just that simple. With the re-opening scheduled this year of the Rijksmuseum after a 10-year reno and the Van Gogh Museum after a much shorter reno, the 400th anniversary of the canals, and the re-opening of the Stedelijk modern art and design museum, the city’s hopping.
Hotels, it seems, have all been preparing for the buzz of 2013: the Hotel de l’Europe had major work done, the Andaz Amsterdam opened its doors, as did the Conservatorium Hotel. Earlier this week we also told you about the opening of The Waldorf Astoria expected in early 2014 so everyone's getting in on the act.
They say a picture speaks a thousand words so have a look at the Image Gallery to see what your next trip to Amsterdam might look like.
We’ve told you the luxe Waldorf Astoria brand of the Hilton group is going on a little expansion spree in the next few years, kicked off with the recent re-opening of the historic Caledonian Edinburgh.
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Who would think it’s possible for construction to actually go quicker than expected? Well it certainly has in the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht's case.
We're pleased as punch that the hotel officially opened its doors yesterday, which -- yes -- was a bit later than expected, BUT the hotel's taking reservations for stays starting November 3 instead of November 23 as we originally reported last month. If this is an indication of the way the Andaz Amsterdam’s luck is going to go, we take it as a good omen.
Rates for November 3 atart at 270 EUR ($350) for an Andaz Queen or Andaz King which face the lobby of the hotel and its star-ific Observatory lights.
[Photo: Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht]
If you’re looking for a place to hang out in Amsterdam on a warm fall afternoon, make it at one of the world’s first boutique hotels: The Dylan Amsterdam. After having their tasty and inexpensive Lunch Plate at Brasserie OCCO and then their High Wine extravaganza that's served once lunch is over, you’ll really have no reason at all to leave.
We headed over to The Dylan on a sunny afternoon and ate (and drank) on their outdoor patio, which somehow managed to feel like a modern, yet cozy, garden terrace. Lined with trees and flower pots, it had an earthy brown / gray thing going on with hits of bright orange berries on every table. It's a great setting to sit and stay a while.