Travelling the globe is one of my favourite things to do. The anxiety of discovering new places, new people, new food and new cultures never stops. I realise that when focussed on the new it’s sometimes easy to overlook what’s under one’s nose. While there sure is a lot to discover and to share in my hometown, Amsterdam. So let’s take a look from a luxury traveller’s perspective and experience what we have to offer.
What better way than to stay overnight in one of Amsterdams most luxurious and exclusive hotels, the 5* Conservatorium Hotel. And oh, did we had a very good reason: our 11th wedding anniversary. So, no waiting lines at airport security for us this time, mr. B and I packed an overnight bag and hopped on our bikes for a 5 minute ride to our special destination for 24H.
Conservatorium Hotel, a brief (musical) history
Dutch architect Daniel Knuttel designed this majestic building for the ‘Rijkspostspaarbank’ and herewith sparked the Museum Quarter at the end of the 19th century. It is a defining icon of the city’s architecture ever since.
When the bank had to move offices following a series of merges – what’s new -, the building was abandoned in 1978. After lying empty for five years, it became the home of the newly formed Sweelinck Conservatorium, three musical institutes. After some remodelling and renovation the building was enriched with functional acoustic classrooms. Luckily the main architecture and spirit of the building stayed in tact. Thirty years later also the Conservatorium of Amsterdam outgrew its home and left the building. Enter The Set Hotel Group who – attracted by its glorious past – purchased this wonderful building.
In a vision to restore its former beauty, award-winning Milan-based designer Piero Lissoni guided the creation of the hotel. The rich historical narrative is woven with utmost care into its very fabric. The Conservatorium is once again on the pulse of the city’s cultural and architectural heartbeat. For me, this hotel is about space, grandeur and the seamless connection from exterior to interior. And impressive details. Like the mosaic floors and bank details still present in the original ceramic art nouveau wall tiles.
Our junior suite in the Conservatorium Hotel
The funny thing of staying in your hometown that this time the view is familiar and it’s the room you anticipate the most. We were really impressed not only by the space (52 m2) and height (high ceilings with roof window and original beams) of the room but also by the high level of materials used. Quality over quantity, as I like it. The sturdy oak floor, the softest, luxurious bed linen, the cashmere bed throw. But also sophisticated domotica, a desk with every power plug and socket thinkable, enough wardrobe space and the use of subdued colors. This doesn’t feel like a hotel room, it feels more like staying at a friend’s apartment. Close to home, in our case.
A bathroom with a view. Again.
As much as I love a spacious room, I appreciate a spacious bathroom even more. Well, we got more than we bargained for. A húge bathroom equipped with a large separate shower, closed separate restroom and a double sink (his ‘n hers). Furthermore enough shelf space to line up all the skin care goodies a skin care addict like me brings along. I like to avoid the risk of not finding the right product when the urge for an exfoliating mask comes up. Although at this stunning location one only has to run down to the Skins Cosmetics store on the first floor to find all the niche skin care brands that really matter.
I have this thing with bathrooms and views, the large stand alone bath just offers that. Overlooking the city of Amsterdam – in our case the roof of the beautiful renovated Rijksmuseum – while enjoying a foaming bath with exclusive Floris London bath foam defines luxury to me. This one ticks all the bathroom boxes.
GT’s, Dinner and breakfast at Conservatorium Hotel
Since the hotel is one of my favourite hangouts in the city, the culinary side is not new to me. For me, it’s the place to go for business meetings, drinks with friends or dinner with loved ones since the opening in 2011. And still a treat every time and again.
Now I can also add breakfast-at-the-Conservatorium-Hotel (who needs Tiffany’s?) to the list. In short, everything a food snob like me could wish for breakfast wise is available. Which today was an egg white omelet with avocado, ginger tea and fresh green juice. Lean and mean, just what I wanted – needed – after last night’s sumptuous Asian dinner at Taiko’s Restaurant. Which started with GT’s and bites at Tunes Bar. It was wedding celebration time, after all.
What to do in Amsterdam-Zuid?
After an early-morning-before-breakfast swim or gym at Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre, it’s time to leave the premisses. There is so much to do in this (Southern) part of the Amsterdam. Shopping, Art and beautiful architecture is all around you.
Best place for a morning stroll (or run) is The Vondelpark. Take a right from the hotel’s Van Baerlestraat exit, pass the P.C.Hooftstraat (come back later for some heavy duty luxury shopping) and you’ll see the park’s entrance. Stop for a coffee at Vondelpark3.
If you’re looking for international luxury brand stores they are literary a (gem) stone throw away. Just walk up and down the P.C. Hooftstraat and bring your creditcard.
From Chanel to Prada and from Cartier to Gucci, they’re all lined up. Fore more understated luxury brand, like Dries van Noten, Marni, Sophie d’Hoore and more, visit Pauw Amsterdam multibrand store. Just across the hotel exit on your left.
The hotel has some great luxury stores on the first floor as well. Check out Kabana store for a unique collection of resort wear and tunics.
After shopping comes Art… There is so much to see within just a few hundred meters of the Conservatorium Hotel. Enough to satisfy your art hunger for days or even weeks.
If you indeed have only 24h I would recommend the stunning Rijksmuseum (old masters), the Stedelijk Museum (modern art) and two galleries: Reflex Gallery (modern masters, Donald Beachler coming up) and Gallery Delaive (modern and contemporary, Murakami and more).
Being independently audited, the hotel has been awarded the Green Globe International Standard for Sustainable Travel & Tourism certification for the fourth year in a row, a first for a Dutch hotel.
Important sustainable practices were integrated into the redevelopment of the building from the start. The hotel uses a thermal energy storage system and reuses water from its swimming pool in the sprinkler system. According to manager director Roy Tomassen, the hotel gives preferences to reusable sustainable items. Avoiding use of plastic containers as well as the use of eco certified cleaning products is very important. Executive chef Schilo Van Coevorden aims to promote local organic ingredients.
The Conservatorium Hotel is an open but also secluded luxury base. It’s a stylish chameleon that easily adjust itself to the needs of the guests. It becomes what you want it to be wether you’re an international moviestar or just arrive by bike. Can we move in, please?
This stay was sponsored by The Set Hotels. I was here by invitation on behalf of Chapter Fifty as an ambassador for this hotel group and did not pay for my stay. Words, photos and opinions are my own.