Luxury Hotels

AMSTERDAM – 5

As Girlahead has so often said, a great hotel cannot become greater without a great gm. Hotel De L’Europe Amsterdam has a corker in the form of Robert-Jan Woltering. He’s seen above trying one of the designer chairs outside the hotel’s own concept store, Inhuys. The laughter is because actually one chair is higher than the other.

He laughs a lot, does Mr W – and he gives a lot. Those lucky hoteliers he has mentored over the years talk about his sharing warmth, and his creativity. To take one example. The idea of inviting local luxury-level small businesses in to operate from the hotel was set in motion pre-RJW. It was initiated at the start of the pandemic but he, who arrived back in Amsterdam on 12th June 2022, took it one big step higher. The entire Nieuwe Doelenstraat frontage of the hotel, behind the lobby and front desk, that is, is now one elegant lifestyle area.

There’s the concept store, and a large working florist – Wunderkammer, run by Florian Seyd and Ueli Signer – and the headquarters of the city’s best bookshop, Gunifort Uwambaga’s Mendo. There’s also a charming Italian diner. The hotel does have the big advantage of having ample street-opening doors, to make it easier to access all the above. It is also a help that the hotel is owned, uniquely, by Heineken, and the Carvalho-Heineken family obviously support creativity.

In the last couple of years a lot has happened here at the 96-room Hotel De L’Europe. The lobby has been softened, with big greenery and a broader selection of original art. Almost year-round you can dine on Marie’s pontoon, a wooden structure cantilevered over the River Amstel and reached down wooden stairs from the main brasserie. It’s also worth noting that the hotel’s double-Michelin-starred Flore is now not only organic but plant-based, which has seen the average age of chef Bas van Kranen’s followers lower by a couple of decades – although they will be a couple of months older by the time their reservations lead to actual dining.

Sometimes it is difficult to remember this IS a hotel. With a silhouette of dynasty legend Freddy Heineken joining Dutch Old Masters in the lobby it seems like a gallery. And head behind front desk to retail and it seems on a par with Nordstrom or Harrods, see below… BUT it does have rooms…