If Manners Maketh Man, Bathtubs Maketh Bathrooms – and here is one fine example that even Kohler, that manufacturer that has diversified into owning hotels, might emulate. This is the tub in room 509 of Andaz Amsterdam, a 2012-vintage luxury hotel that is partly owned by its designer, Marcel Wanders. The gal went ooh and ah and wow continually in this awesome 122-room hotel.
Its main building, right on Prinsengracht, was Amsterdam Public Library. Just as with Palacio Duhau, Park Hyatt, Buenos Aires, a new block has been built behind it on the next block in Kerkstraat, and, similarly, the two buildings are connected by a subterranean walkway. In all, this hotel, opened November 2012, has 122 rooms, of which 509, at the front of the top floor of the original building, is the only one to have a balcony. Sit here, dine here, and look down and along the canal.
Marcel Wanders is certainly creative (think Kameha Grand in Bonn). Here, he has put abstract rugs in Delft blue on the wood floors of 509. Displays of Delft china are set next to framed black and white photographs of the Dutch Royal Family. Sit in the guest powder room and you never want to come out: its walls are papered with intricate educationals, a line of Dutch postage stamps, short poems and words on the city’s history, Chinese patterns as if on porcelain (why has no-one else make toilets interesting as well as functional)?
Open up two doors on the short corridor from salon to bedroom, and you find 509’s office-cum-meeting room, which doubles as a library for a collection of serious hardbacks and entertaining paperbacks. The table here allows eight to meet, in private. Back in the salon, a ten-foot high painting of Dutch flowers, as if from the nearby Rijksmuseum. is propped up against one wall. There are real flowers on the table here, next to the small kitchen – the flowers are, at this time, a cornucopia of colour, but presumably at tulip time they are tulips (is it true the Japanese only come to Amsterdam for the tulips? Is it true, also, that the forthcoming Andaz Tokyo will have a rooftop wedding facility?)
Sofas in 509’s salon, and bedroom, are upholstered in white, with a glitzy gold outline pattern of arabesques and incongruous heads (it is said that the Chinese love colour, and gold, when they come to Amsterdam, which happens a lot since there are four airlines flying nonstop). In the salon, pull back a pair of internal net curtains and you find yourself staring down into the rooftop-high open atrium, of which more to follow. As I said, this building is awesome.
In charge of it all is Toni Hinterstoisser, a German who somehow got diverted from original ambitions of piloting Lufthansa planes to flying from one country to another as a luxury hotelier. I met him first in Zurich, at the Park Hyatt, missed him in New York (at Andaz Wall Street). Here he stands by one of the three tables in the lobby, underneath a three-foot white china bell that holds, in its gold interior, a full-size clear crystal chandelier… Three such bells, all with white china bows atop, hang as mobiles from the five-floor atrium’s rooftop.