Time to look at new luxury hotels in Amsterdam, and the gal found three, all well worth international note in today’s world of changing demand, and more and more differentiation. Hyatt Regency Amsterdam, replacing what was a children’s hospital on Sarphatistraat, overlooking that canal, has a truly wow ground floor that can be summed up as green and authentic, inside and outside, and fabulous eating-and-drinking with more than hints of Indonesia. The hotel’s all-day casual Mama Makan restaurant, for instance, offers Dutch, Indonesian and international dishes (do try the burrata dish, superb). It even has exotic spices on its breakfast buffet – see the image above – and you can have the Indonesian national dish, nasi goreng, any time you want, breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Interestingly the Dutch East India Company (VOC, in Dutch) was set up specifically to import spices from the East and it established a base in 1619 in what is now Jakarta – half a century later VOC was the world’s richest private company, with over 150 merchant ships, 40 warships, 50,000 employees, its own 10,000-strong private army and paying 40% to its investors, who were predominantly German. I wonder what those farsighted internationalists would think of this fascinating six-floor hotel, which opened this very April? They would surely applaud local architect Van Dongen-Koschuch’s tile exterior, with some facets echoing the surrounding trees of quiet Sarphatistraat, and one real, living tree, in the building’s indent, which forms a terrace.
And like me, they would love what CONCRETE, another Dutch company, has done for the public areas inside. Go in via the main entrance, which interestingly has a prominent Free WIFI sign on its glass wall, and you see to your right a long living wall in perfect condition, as you can see from the image here. Hotel Manager Martina Lenkenhoff, by the way, has made her way up her professional ladder via lodges in Namibia, and working in Dubai. Here, she, like most of the 211-room hotel’s 110 staff members, cycles to work. Just as everywhere you look outside, there seem to be bicycles coming from every angle. Here, inside this hotel, it seems everywhere you turn on the ground floor there is living greenery, hanging down, or set in planters. Go along to Mama Makan, which is invariably heavy on local eaters-and-drinkers, and there are 150 enormous white paper lanterns hanging overhead, one, I am told, for each seat.
Locals are also using this luxury hotel’s lobby as a casual meeting and work place. The 20-seat communal table has inset sockets, and of course that free connectivity. There is a manned bar, and a grab-and-go deli with the most superb bottles of limoncello. Gosh, you could take in calories all day and all night here. I have not mentioned Mama Makan’s breakfast salad, with poached egg atop almonds, broccoli, cheese and spinach, or, in your room, anything you want, including breakfast, 24/7 (choose a Crave Express item and even Mie goreng comes in 20 minutes). The savvy, by the way, probably choose a room overlooking Singel Canal, and definitely one with access to the two-floor, light and airy Regency Club. The keen-to-learn, too, really appreciate that using the 24/7 Lifefitness gym they get Wikipedia on their screens, which means you can learn even more about the East India Company and the background to the Dutch spice trade and so much more. NOW SEE A VIDEO OF MY ROOM, BELOW