If you’re headed to Amsterdam and can afford to indulge, I implore you to stay at the Conservatorium Hotel. Built in 1897, the hotel is situated in a beautiful Neo-Gothic building that was originally the Sweelinck Conservatory of Music. In 2011, it was transformed into a deluxe hotel brand. It’s the first member of The Set, a collection of of hotels for sophisticated, design, literary travelers in the 21st century, and let me tell you, it’s classy – it’s classic – yet it stays true to its roots. Besides the magnificent violin display you encounter when entering the hotel, there are several odes to the hotel’s rich history, through its dazzling architecture and framed art and photos spread throughout the hotel, which Italian designer Piero Lissoni must have kept close at hand when he was designing it.
You can probably sense my deep love for the Conservatorium, so I thought I’d break down what I thought was so fabulous about this hotel. Upfront, do let me mention the welcome drink upon arrival, another lovely touch.
Conservatorium Hotel: Location
The Conservatorium Hotel is located in Amsterdam’s museum square or Museumplein, the home of the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and Stedelik, and it’s right near the Royal Concertgebouw (Royal Concert Hall), as well as the fashion district of P.C. Hoofstraat and Van Baerlestraat. It’s surrounded by beautiful cafes, bakeries and shops, and is near Vondelpark, the city’s version of Central Park and is a short distance to the Jordaan neighborhood, one of the oldest and most interesting sections of Amsterdam. When we looked out the window, we saw 17th century gabled houses and everything I mention above. We had 11am reserved tickets for Van Gogh (booked online way in advance) and the Rijksmuseum (ditto) and we literally could have a leisurely breakfast and be at the museums in minutes of our arrival time. The night we had tickets to a concert at the Concertgebouw, we were able to take a nice stroll to the event space.
Conservatorium Hotel: Modern, Spacious Rooms
Having recently redesigned my own home in a modern style and decor, I admit I love hotels like the Conservatorium. The building was designed by Dutch architect Daniel Knuttel, who is known for his love of lines, fabrics and shades of grey with occasional bright accents. The result is clean and contemporary chic, but also very comfortable. There are eight floors with 129 guest rooms and suites, with rooms ranging from superior to penthouse. The walk to the room is impressive with its dark brown shades and beautiful tiling. Our room (superior) was more than appropriate for a family of four. The kids had beds downstairs, my husband and I were upstairs. My technology obsessed son was duly impressed by the room’s attention to tech detail. The curtains pulled down with an electronic mechanism and there were buttons to control lighting right next to our bed. The room’s decor is calming with its oak floors, autumnal color scheme and luxury linens on the beds. The bathrooms (one on each floor), which were located behind a secret door that blended into the walls, have large rainfall showers with a bench inside, one marble tub, LCD mirror TVs and micro-cotton towels. We all used the free Wifi, a daily newspaper at the door, 24 hour room service and responsive room service and a Nespresso coffee and tea machine in the room. And can I mention the L’Occitane bath products? Divine.
Conservatorium Hotel: Activities/Amenities
In the lobby, there is a round desk with what they call a “Host” who is there all day, or what you may refer to as a concierge. The Host can help you with anything you need during your stay in Amsterdam. On our first afternoon there, we arranged bike rentals, which we rode all around the area’s canals and beyond. The bikes are regal – the best quality you can find and the most comfortable I’ve ever been on. The hotel also offers a wellness center with a fitness center and swimming pools, which was unfortunately closed for renovations during our stay. There is ample dining at the hotel, all spearheaded by Dutch chef Schilo van Coevorden. They offer Tunes Restaurant and Tunes Bar as well as the Conservatorium Brasserie and Lounge in the lobby, which is dazzling in its own rite with beautiful, huge floor-to-ceiling windows and a glass ceiling. Breakfast includes an Ice Table, a modern buff et that offers a quality selection of fresh, local and seasonal based products, for example Home Baked Bread, Bio Yogurts, (gluten-free) Cereals, gorgeous fresh juices, exotic fruits and a hot food menu that includes eggs florentine, eggs benedict and smoked salmon.
Conservatorium Hotel: Courtesy of Staff
When we needed help, the staff, answered all of our questions promptly and told us how to get around in Amsterdam. The doormen were always friendly and helped with directions. Our room was always clean and housekeeping staff were incredibly responsive. We especially liked the Host, who gave us great tips on what to do and where to go.
Conservatorium Hotel: Kid-Friendliness
The hotel is definitely upscale, and you wouldn’t want your kids running around causing commotion, but I saw plenty of young children with their families. I’ve already mentioned the room, which my kids loved. They were extremely comfortable and my son loved the electronic touches in the room. My son and I had a drink in the Living Room on the main floor and he loved looking out the big windows and dramatic architecture from the main floor. There’s a floor of shops with high-end goods that we liked exploring together.
Now to talk cost. The Conservatorium is a five-star hotel and is definitely worth the money. Amsterdam, in general, is expensive. For the location and overall experience, that is over and beyond your average stay in a hotel, it’s worth it.
Disclosure: I was provided with a complimentary room to facilitate this review and others, but all opinions are my own.