Tried & Tested

Hotel check: New York hotel

23 Jun 2011 by Jenny Southan

Background The former headquarters of the Holland-America Line was built in 1883 in art nouveau style. In 1971, the shipping line relocated to Seattle and the building was left vacant. In 1993 it was reopened as the New York hotel and has become something of an icon in the city, and a popular place for locals to spend the weekend.

What’s it like? Entering through the swivel wood door and walking across the art deco tiling, it’s immediately clear the hotel has strived to keep its character in tact. The lobby is a colourful space with a small bookshop, there are live train departures displayed on a flatscreen TV, a vintage glass cupboard filled with toiletries under 100ml to purchase, leather armchairs in a business cubby corner (there is one public PC and a telephone) and the buzz from the restaurant is audible. Staff were incredibly friendly and helpful, pointing out original features like the towering stained-glass window upstairs and the huge Holland-America safes on each floor.

Where is it? Located on the tip of Wilhelminapier, it is a ten-minute walk from Erasmus Bridge and the nearest metro. The area, already a growing centre with the Port Authority and Deloitte based here, is in the middle of a regeneration project. Behind the hotel car park is the building site where Vertical City is being built (there was no noise or disruption). The three glass towers will house a hotel, apartments and offices and will open in 2013.

Room facilities The 72 rooms, five with outside space, are highly stylised and use standard keys rather than key cards. Each has air conditioning, luxury bedding, a Nespresso machine, minibar, hairdryer, safe, flatscreen TV and there is free wifi throughout.

Some feature vintage luggage transformed into chests of drawers, while others have an industrial feel, with huge steel-brushed cinematic spotlights hanging from the ceiling. I stayed in the one of the latter-style rooms, one of the most recently refurbished ones (the hotel plans to update all of them gradually) and found the bed incredibly comfortable and the bathroom bright and spacious.

There is a different archive photo from the port’s heyday hanging in each room and some have a few steps leading up to the bed and desk area, giving them a spacious feel. The Executive guestrooms were once boardrooms occupied by former directors of the Holland-America Line and feature wood panelling, art deco lighting and brightly-coloured desks. These rooms can act as small meeting spaces, seating 15. Ask for a Corner Room for stunning views of the harbour and skyline.

Restaurants and Bars The restaurant is an open expanse on the ground floor with windows across two walls and seating up to 400. There is a buffet at breakfast (€17.50) and an excellent seafood bar with platters starting from €35. It is a popular place for locals to come and have their morning coffee with a newspaper, and features high ceilings, modern chandeliers and a bar along one wall (open daily, 7am until 1 am). The eatery also has an outdoor terrace open in the summer months. A nice spot by the water, it is open from 10am until midnight between April and September. There is also 24-hour room service.

Business and meeting facilities There are seven meeting rooms, five on the ground floor and two boardrooms on the other floors. The 132 sqm Bals Hall, named after filmmaker Hubert Bals, is the largest and can accommodate 100 delegates. With hardwood floors, decadent chandeliers, views of the harbour and a giant copy of an original shipping log adorning one wall, it’s one of the most impressive venues. For seated meetings, it can be fitted out with multicoloured chairs and tables. The 95 sqm Tuschinski room has bright interior, views of the pier and a stage area for presentations, while the 84 sqm Bibliotheek seats 60 theatre-style and has bookshelves lined with original materials from the days of the Holland-America Line.

Leisure facilities There is no gym or pool, but on the lower ground floor guests will find an old-fashioned barbershop (open since 1884) selling luxury brands like Acqua di Parma and Floris London and offering customers an espresso or Italian beer while they are groomed. The salon, which features original 1930s barber chairs, is open on weekdays from 9am-5.30pm (except Mondays) and Saturday from 9am-4pm, and an Italian shave and facial costs €39.50 (tel +31 10 4 853 196;

Verdict A stylish, comfortable and impressive hotel. The unique meeting rooms with views of the harbour are a highlight, and there is always a buzz about this popular spot.

Fact file

How many rooms? The 72 rooms are split according to view, location and outside space (eight categories) and include two tower rooms (located in the turrets) and a loft with a roof terrace.

Room highlights Views of the harbour and comfortable king-size beds with simple but luxurious bedding.

Price Unusually, the rates are the same all year and start from €104 for a midweek stay in July for a Patio room.

Contact Koninginnenhoofd 1; tel +31 104 390 555;

Liat Clark

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