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The uber-eco friendly Element Amsterdam is wonderfully--or dangerously--close to a shopping mall, but you can still feel good about "going green" while spending some green.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts is bringing two of its design-driven brands to one of Europe’s hippest cities, with Element Amsterdam and W Amsterdam both opening next year. Here’s the latest on these upcoming hotels. Just two more reasons to love Amsterdam.
Just after we learned that Starwood’s footprint in London will be shrinking with The Lanesborough joining Oetker Collection early next year, here is the news that the same is happening an hour’s flight away in Amsterdam: Hotel Pulitzer, currently part of the group’s Luxury Collection, will depart on April 1, 2015.
That raises a few interesting questions given the limitations of the city’s hotel market (practically zero room for new development in its historic centre), recent arrivals and a few upcoming projects (Andaz, Conservatorium, Waldorf Astoria, Hoxton, and Hyatt), and the rumors we hear about other brands eager to get into the city.
While we have a soft spot for the Pulitzer (25 historic canal houses cobbled together in an unbeatable location on one of the city’s main canals, an interior garden, an annual concert held outside on the water, its own canal boat), it could use a refresh of rooms and public spaces. Could we see that happening, after which a big name will swoop in and raise its flag above the front door? Four Seasons Hotel Pulitzer perhaps? (Although we’ve heard whispers of an as-yet unspecified location further south for the Canadian brand).
Student Hotel Amsterdam
People, we have reached a tipping point.
Remember how a couple of years ago all the flash sale sites launched and “handpicked” and “curated”, which had previously meant something, suddenly were so overused that they no longer meant anything whatsoever?
“Millennial hotel” is now equally meaningless.
The latest chain to jump on the millennial bandwagon is The Student Hotel, a group of four hotels in the Benelux region of Europe (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, The Hague and Liège) which has just announced plans to expand across the rest of Europe, now that investors will throw money at anything targeting “millennials”.
The Student Hotel isn’t for everyone – it’s a hotel-hostel-college accommodation-long term let hybrid, targeting students (who stay for a semester), business people wanting temporary accommodation, relatives of students coming to stay for a couple of nights, and anyone else who has the “flexible accommodation needs of the millennial generation”. Most people stay long-term, but they’re also fully functioning hotels, with simple but boutiquey rooms and extensive public areas – libraries, study rooms, games rooms and terraces.
Generator Amsterdam: the 1950 look
Don’t you just love it when people keep a secret? No, us neither, but luckily the folks at Generator Hostels aren't too good at it, because we have news just in time for the weekend – Generator is opening in Amsterdam next year.
“Why, aren’t they already opening elsewhere in 2015?” you might say. Congrats – yes, they’re opening Paris and Rome. But as any young American who’s crossed the pond will know, no grand tour of Europe is complete without a pitstop (just enough time to inhale) in Amsterdam.
Boiler Room Bar
Generator Amsterdam will take over a gorgeous, grand brick building near the Oosterpark (15 minutes from Dam Square), which was built in 1917 as a university building (first science, then zoology). But they’ll top it with two glass-walled floors to squeeze in 566 guests in 168 ensuite twin and quad rooms – plus an all-out lux self-catering apartment that can sleep six.
The project will have the most public areas of any Generator (perfect for, uhh, striking up conversation with other Amsterdam enthusiasts), all beautifully repurposed: a bar in the old lecture hall, a basement dining room and secret bar(!) in the boiler room, a relaxation-area-cum-meeting-room in the library, plus a café with park-facing terrace in the main entrance area.
It’s too early for any more pictures than this, but Generator promises the style will be “characteristic Generator” mixed with Dutch inspiration – no, not spliffs, but tulips, Delft pottery, and those famous never-ending landscapes.
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Having just taken you inside The Hoxton Holborn, opening on September 25, we’re continuing as promised with an update on the international expansion of the brand, which will include Amsterdam, New York, and Paris within the next two years.
First up is The Hoxton Amsterdam, which as we looked at earlier this year will open in what was the Rembrandt Classic Hotel on the city’s Herengracht canal. While our January snap showed guests walking in and out, the hotel has been closed since April for its much-needed renovation to Hoxton standards. Opening should be in 2015.
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Having walked by and peered through the windows at Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam on a number of occasions, we finally had a chance to look inside the six 17th and 18th century canal houses on the city’s Herengracht that were converted into the hotel.
That included these beautiful sculptures, part of a rather pretty staircase with skylight inside the "Marot" house at number 548, now the main entrance of the hotel. The six houses were cobbled together to offer 93 rooms and suites and a host of other facilities, including an unusually large and private garden, all opened just shy of two months ago.
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What better way to celebrate the return of good weather than by hopping on a bike and exploring the city you're visiting? Thanks to these hotels, you don't need to look much further than the front desk for your new two-wheel joyride. Just be sure to return the bike to the hotel when you're done. Don't want that charge added to your check-out folio.
5 New Hotel Bikes To Ride This Spring
1. Room Mate Aitana Amsterdam: The hotel is providing guests with discounted bicycle rentals from local bike shop, Amsterbike as well as dishing out "5 Under 15", five bike rides under 15 minutes that will get guests to some of the city's notable landmarks (tulips, Vondelpark, Rijksmuseum, The Central Library and The Pancake Bakery.)
2. The Greenwich Hotel NYC: The luxury downtown hotel has partnered with Detroit-based Shinola (of watch-making fame), to offer his & her bespoke "Bixby" bicycles for guests. Conveniently, the Shinola flagship NYC store is within walking distance to the hotel so guests can head on over there after their ride to peruse the brand's handcrafted accessories.
3. The Ace Hotel London: The Shoreditch outpost of Ace Hotels now has custom-made bikes for guests from tokyobikes. The hotel has also put together a Bed and Bike package that includes £20 per person to spend at Hoi Polloi, Lovage, Bulldog Edition or the lobby bar, access to an Ace x tokyobikes for each day of your stay, and a cycling map of London.
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Looks like the order in which Waldorf Astoria’s latest hotels are coming across the opening finish line is Beijing – Jerusalem – Amsterdam in the end. A few months ago, when we doubted Amsterdam would be completed by March, the official word was still exactly the other way around, but Beijing is open (pretty parasols and all), Jerusalem caught us by surprise by being ready a few months’ early (though there is very limited view of what it’s like inside yet), and Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam is now scheduled for May 1.
Spread across six historic town houses that date back to the 1600s on one of the city’s central canals, the hotel will have 93 rooms and suites. The restaurant still awaits its name, but there will be the usual Peacock Alley, in this case on the Bel Etage, the principal floor of the town house accessed by a grand staircase from the entrance. Other things to look forward to are the private garden, the indoor swimming pool, and the Vault Bar, taking advantage of the building previously housing a private bank.
Reservations start from May 7 at the moment; we found a King Deluxe Room on that day for a not-inconsiderable €445 ($615). You can shave just over $90 off of that if you are willing to book an advance purchase rate. The 1,324 sq ft Brentano Suite will set you back €3,735 ($5,163) a night.
[Rendering: Waldorf Astoria Hotels]
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Last year we looked at how the Hilton at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport would be building itself a replacement hotel right next to the 1972 original, gold-reflective windows and all. Back then, there was just a bare plot of land, but a quick check just before a recent departure from Schiphol showed us that construction is moving along nicely.
If you’re wondering why the two are quite so close together, it’s because the current hotel’s days are numbered: once the new Hilton is complete in 2015, its elderly neighbor will be facing the wrecking ball. The above picture also shows a sliver of the multi-colored diamond-shaped exterior cladding that will cover the hotel – a rendering of what that will turn out to be you can see below.
Yet another new hotel will opening in Amsterdam--The Pestana Amsterdam, from the Pestana Group, a Portuguese hotel company.
The Pestana Amsterdam will occupy the former town hall and county seat of the City of Nieuwer-Amstel, alongside the River Amstel. The town hall was built between 1889 and 1892, just four years before Nieuwer-Amstel was merged into the City of Amsterdam. The building, as beautiful as it is, was then used for records storage.
The building style is Neo-Renaissance, aka is really pretty, and oozes with exterior detail. Pestana will not need to dress up this architectural beauty, which features decorative brick patterns and the classic Dutch stepped parapet, roof sculpture and finials galore, and one hellova cupola. Additions were made after the town hall was completed, and based on the digital image released, these will be integrated into the hotel's design.
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.