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Hotels in shopping malls - they're catching on. First the Intercontinental Chengdu Global Center in Chengdu's New Century Global Center. Then Manchester's forthcoming Corn Exchange hotel. And now the trend has spread to the Netherlands (you know it's a trend when it hits the Netherlands), with the opening of Novotel Den Haag City Centre.
The hotel forms part of the fancy new Nieuwe Haagse Passage mall in The Hague, which opened in September with 10,500 square meters of shops, itself connecting two major shopping thoroughfares in the city: Grote Marktstraat and Spuistraat.
The Novotel - or SuiteNovotel to be precise (it's an all-suite property) - is gunning for long-stay guests with offers of "flexible furnishings", but there's plenty to offer the short-term traveler: 106 suites, all of them large (looks-wise, it's 'business competent', if not especially sexy); a bar and restaurant; a fitness center and free bike use; and, apparently, free massages (though it's not clear how you earn these).
Just a few weeks ago, over 50 world leaders descended on the Netherlands (the Hague, to be more precise) for the 2014 Nuclear Security Summit. The long list of world leaders included President Obama, who brought the beachside village of Noordwijk aan Zee to a near complete halt when he stayed the night at Huis ter Duin, a chique, but rather old-school, Grand Hotel right on the beachfront.
Had the summit been a little later in the year, and President Obama been in the mood for something a bit more youthful and design-forward, he would have had the option of staying at the Vesper Hotel, opening this summer on the same boulevard, billing itself as the first boutique hotel on the Dutch coast.
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:
First we talked about the The Thief hotel in Oslo, so naturally there’d have to be a “prison” hotel, right? Of course, this concept isn’t new, we’ve seen former lockups transformed into tony properties—but the latest—the Het Arresthuis in The Netherlands certainly seems to be one of the most design forward that we’ve laid eyes on.
Once one of the hardest jails in the country, it shut down in 2007. The prison, which was originally built in 1862 was then gutted and turned into a 40-room hotel. Still, the two tiers remain, reminding you of its penal past.
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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.
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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]
Hotel Pulitzer is a quirky hotel that's part of Starwood’s Luxury Collection and is comprised of 25 restored canal houses from the 17th-and 18th-century. Being in this hotel is akin to staying in a living maze. For a true workout, at check in say you don’t need help with your bags or in finding your room, and watch the getting-lost antics commence.
One other thing to note: The hotel has a wonderful changing art gallery, so if you get lost while going from your room to the restaurant, you’ll have plenty to see and ponder.
The Hotel Pulitzer is made up of different canal houses that are all joined together so room size may vary greatly even within the same category. Let’s just say that our Deluxe Room was a bit on the bijou side of the scale, at a mere 180 sq ft. This was too small for travelers trekking across the Atlantic for a few days, but rooms in this category do go up in size to approximately 320 sq ft. But they do have lots of character – ours had original wooden ceiling beams and French doors that opened onto the garden (although we did have to move furniture to open both of the doors!)
Although eccentric, and full of Old-World charm, there are some modern shout-outs here. The lobby had a soft reno earlier this year and is an up-to-date vision in black-and-white with plenty of sit and chill-out areas. Right off the lobby there's an Espresso Bar with lattes so foam thick, one is simply not enough. We spent an entire afternoon sipping on them in the attached garden, consisting of separated areas to eat, drink and read.
It's a rare occasion that we don't know the name of the hotel that we toss out for you in our Guess the Hotel game. In fact, it's only happened one other time--and hey, we managed to figure that one out!
So this is what we know: This hotel is in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Yep, that's it. That's all we know. Well, that and that this transformer-eque building is a hotel.
If you think you can guess what hotel this is or if you know what hotel it is, would you please kindly share it with us in comments below? Also: Would you stay there? Is it just us, or does this place creep you out in a about-to-transform-into-Megatron-any-minute-now sort of way?
You know the scene. You open the door to your brand new hotel room, run over to the window, open the blinds and bam, you are hit with the anti-view. Maybe you are looking down a dirty alley, witnessing a drug deal, staring at an air shaft in the face, or seeing a brick wall. Whatever you are viewing it is not extremely pleasurable. Help out your fellow hotel mavens by uploading your anti-views to the HotelChatter/Flickr photo pool, or by sending the photo along to us. Remember to tell us the name of the hotel and the room number with the not-so-easy-on-the-eyes view.
An anti-view is not always a bad thing, according to the Kalense Kid. Don't by fooled by his arty black-and-white rendering of this anti-view: Room 19 at the Maison du Chêne in Maastricht does not have a pretty outlook. As the Kid says,
This room comes with a view, at no extra cost. If you like looking at walls, it's a stunning view.
The surprise is that he actually totally recommends this room. Apparently it's at the back of the hotel, at the top of its own private staircase, and is the quietest room--perfect for a good night's sleep. So if you're in Maastricht for business or sightseeing, but not for luxurious views, check this room out. Average rates are under a hundred bucks so it won't break your budget either.
[Photo: Kalense Kid]
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If staying in hotels where artists have gone wild in the design process is your thing, then Budget Travel has just published the ideal art hotel round-up for you. Their list features hotels across three continents that have just one thing in common: every room is a grand work of art where you should expect the unexpected.
In the Netherlands, for example, the St Christopher's at the Winston, has now retreated from its previously far, far out art that included animal corpses to room designs with highly energetic walls and paintings (pictured above)--interesting to look at, but we're not sure if we could get any sleep.
With a name like the Controversy Tram Hotel, we were kind of expecting a great tale of social injustice and government corruption to be behind this unusual hotel in Hoogwoud, the Netherlands. Not to be. It's simply named after a Prince album the owners loved.
The accommodation here consists of two former street trams converted into four themed bedrooms: Italian and French (you can smoke in both of these) and English and American (non-smoking). The owners' house is next door, and includes a London double-decker bus installed in the living room, which they've converted to a bedroom. On site is also a video library, converted from an oil rig escape pod (but looking far more like a UFO).
If you haven't already worked out that owners Frank and Irma are just a little bit crazy, you would probably learn this soon after arrival. But their prices are very reasonable, with a night in a tram costing 60 Euros (about $80), less if you book consecutive nights. Five-star comfort it's not, but five-star weird it is.
[Photo: Controversy Tram]
· Controversy Tram Hotel [UHOTW]
· More Unusual Hotels [HotelChatter]