T+L scopes out Amsterdam’s hottest new hotel.
A cross between the Ace Hotel and Soho House, it’s got great prices and an impossible-to-beat location on the Herengracht canal—along with a buzzy Italian restaurant, Lotti’s, that packs the house on weekend nights. It also marks the first opening outside of London for this so-hot-right-now, hipster-approved brand.
We’d heard entry-level rooms are a bit cramped, and the hotel doesn’t beat around the bush about it—they call them “shoebox” rooms. So instead we booked a still-affordable junior suite on the second floor, where the soaring original ceilings are brilliantly ornamented and the arched windows look over the Herengracht canal. We loved that the door to the bathroom was concealed with trim that matched the rest of the walls, and that ultra-modern design flourishes, like a geometric tinted mirror and orb-shaped light fixtures, offered a counterpoint to the building’s stodgier past (like the nearby Waldorf Astoria, it also housed several former mayors).
You’ll have to linger to find a prime seat in the lobby lounge by day. It’s so busy, in fact, that ordering a coffee from the modelesque waitresses might mean a 20-minute wait for caffeine. But you’ll feel like you’ve entered the elite creative class just by being here. We overheard conversations about record launches, emerging fashion labels, and film festivals all while waiting for that cappucino to arrive. And once 5 p.m. rolls around, the space transforms into one of Amsterdam’s hippest restaurants—DJ and all. (No, you won’t be bothered by the noise upstairs, but you may have to fend off the smokers who congregate by the building’s awning.)
Location, location, location. It’s a hop and a skip from the Hoxton to the shopping mecca that is the Nine Streets, and edgy Jordaan is just minutes further.
The Hoxton has a bit of a DIY obsession: you don’t need a login or password to access the free, high-speed Wi-Fi; the concierge is replaced by a custom-illustrated map filled with local tastemakers’ picks; and guests are invited to book their own tickets to the Van Gogh Museum on open-concept workstations in the lobby. Perhaps the best indication of this quirky hospitality philosophy is how the Hoxton does breakfast. Each day, a paper bag is left on your desk with a blank space for your desired party size and delivery time; fill out it and leave it on a hook outside your door, and it’ll be filled with yogurt parfaits and fresh fruit come morning. We thought it was genius.
What We Liked
Instead of minibars, the Hoxton has a snack counter at the front desk peddling concessions from local brands, all at street-level prices. We found it a convenient way to stock up on souvenirs (stroopwafels, anyone?) without breaking the bank. Also a plus: without costly items in them, the in-room fridges are actually useful—they’re kept stocked with free water and milk.
What We Wished Had Been Better
If only we could have kept all the cool cache of the lobby lounge without waiting so long for our coffee, we would have left without a single complaint.