Amsterdam’s museum district is home to some of Europe’s most prestigious galleries; and, one of the best luxury hotels in the Netherlands, making it an irresistible destination for stylish culture lovers, writes Andrew Forbes.
‘Museumplein’ or the museum quarter is one of the most iconic parts of Amsterdam. Here one finds world-class galleries including the Van Gogh Museum, the Rijksmuseum, and the Stedelijk Museum. Other nearby attractions include the city’s historic Royal concert hall, Concertgebouw. This quarter is undoubtedly the cultural hub of Amsterdam.
Amongst theses great cultural institutions is one of the city’s most beautiful landmark buildings, the Conservatorium Hotel. This remarkable property brings its renowned Art Nouveau interiors alive with elegant contemporary design and furnishings. Italian architect Piero Lissoni is the talent and vision behind the building’s transformation and new life as an elite hotel. His signature style of modernist and contemporary chic is found throughout the property.
It is an exceptional hotel, home to the smart city cocktail place, Tunes Bar with its designer Lissoni transparent bar…
…fine-dining at Taiko, by award-winning chef Schilo Van Coevorden; informal all-day dining at Conservatorium’s Brasserie and afternoon tea in the lounge. There’s the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre too – with spa, pool and fitness suite too.
The Conservatorium, as you might have guessed from its name, was once a music conservatory – the Sweelinck Conservatory of Music.
Not only is the importance of the building reflected in its grand architecture, but also is the myriad of beautiful historic design details, all of which have been carefully restored when the property was converted into a luxury hotel. This means that not only are the public spaces full of unique features but also that the guest rooms and suites offer one-of-a-kind elements that really make them stand out – offering guests a unique personal refuge in the city. The Conservatorium has some of the finest suites in Amsterdam – truly the height of luxury.
We stayed in a Duplex Suite – the height of luxury. The corner position, with huge double height ceilings, offers guests commanding views out across the Stedelijk Museum or Van Baerlestraat and the cityscape.
Brushed oak floors, and an earthy, autumnal colour palette create a warm, welcoming aesthetic.
The bedroom area is on a mezzanine level, so the impact of the huge space is retained.
Upstairs is also a separate W.C. whilst downstairs in the living area and a large bathroom with deep soaking bath, rainfall shower, and luxury ‘Floris’ amenities – there are some cool additional features like the mirror TV.
There are all the luxury amenities you’d expect like cosy embracing bathrobe, high quality slippers; Nespresso machine and well-stocked bar. Yet there are lots of additional details that make the property a true 5-star; like the personalised card left at turndown, and the aromatic sleep spray.
There are some 129 guest rooms, suites and signature penthouse suites – and each it their own way make the most of the scale and beauty of the hotel’s neo-gothic architecture.
Breakfast is taken in the Brasserie – part of the huge glass fronted atrium that has been built onto the side of the original historic building.
Presentation is superb, the quality of the dishes is spot-on (my eggs benedict was a delight), although the table service can seem a little over-attentive at times, but I am sure that is well-liked by many international visitors that like to checked-on frequently.
During the day the Brasserie offers informal dining; think sandwiches, salads, and seasonal set lunch menus.
Taiko is the Asian signature restaurant by Executive Chef Schillo, where he and his team demonstrate their remarkable talents. The restaurant and the Tunes Bar are very much part of the Amsterdam scene, attracting non-residents – the atmosphere is great.
The area surrounding the Conservatorium is one of my favourite parts of Amsterdam. There is a wealth of attractions within walking distance, as well as some of the best shopping in the city, found in the charming and elegant P.C. Hooftstraat – and not forgetting one of Amsterdam’s best green spaces, the Vondelpark.
The Rijksmuseum is unmissable. This world-class arts institution looks better than ever since its 10-year restoration and remodelling programme. The museum is home to a unique collection of Dutch art and history from the Middle Ages onwards, as well as some notable pieces of European and Asian art.
From March 8, 2018 to June 3, 2018, the Rijksmuseum presents ‘High Society’: four centuries of glamour by the great masters of the history of art, including Cranach, Veronese, Velázquez, Reynolds, Gainsborough, Sargent, Munch and Manet. The highlight of the exhibition will be Rembrandt’s pendant portraits of Marten Soolmans and Oopjen Coppit.
Oh, and another highlight has at the museum must be ‘Rijks’ – the museum’s award-winning restaurant. Here Executive chef Joris Bijdendijk (Ron Blaauw, Le Jardin des Sens and Bridges) and kitchen chef Ivan Beusink (Polman’s House and Bridges) celebrate Dutch seasonal produce.
Van Gogh & Japan
From March 23, 2018 to June 24, the Van Gogh Museum will present Van Gogh & Japan, highlighting the influence of Japanese art on Vincent Van Gogh.
Also, continuing the theme of Asia, right now at the Van Gogh Museum you can see 4 extraordinary works by the contemporary Chinese artist Zeng Fanzhi, a huge admirer of Vincent van Gogh. Especially for the Van Gogh Museum, he created a series of 4 new paintings – on show until March 5, 2018.
Address: Conservatorium Hotel, Van Baerlestraat 27, Amsterdam, NL
The hotel’s concierge will be able to make arrangement for visiting the nearby museum galleries including arranging private guides and tours.