Background The Pincoffs Suite Hotel is part of the Quality Lodgings group, a collection of small boutique-style Dutch and Belgian hotels located close to nature or in buildings of historic importance. The hotel is named after a colourful character from Rotterdam’s history.
What’s it like? A former customs house, the stunning building dates back to 1879 and opened as the Pincoffs Suite Hotel a year and a half ago. The all-suite hotel carries its history with pride – the owners, Edwin van der Meijde and Karen Hamerlynck, can show you authentic details of the property that would otherwise go unnoticed, such as the second stairwell for the director’s house, and the transport lift for documents. The interior design, with help from stylist Mirjam van der Rijst, is enthralling, and every suite has something different to marvel over. One has a secret passageway, another a bathroom perched five metres high and another a chimney in the middle of the room. The corridors have historical photographs of Rotterdam and the journey it has made from a small town to a huge port and a modern-day business hub. The public areas feel like your own home, from shelves of books and DVDs to borrow, to the lounge where you can sit and read the papers.
Where is it? On the south bank of the river Maas, just left of Erasmus bridge on Steiltjesstraat. The nearest metro station is Wilhelminaplein, about five minutes’ walk, and from there it is a few stops to Central station.
Room facilities All rooms have air conditioning, an Auping boxspring bed, an LCD TV with DVD player, an iPod docking station, a minibar, a safe, a shower, toiletries by Bulgari, thick Egyptian cotton towels and free internet access (for wifi you need to get a code from reception). Luxury rooms also have espresso machines by Francis Francis, a rainshower or bath, bath robes and bath slippers. All suites have original details, such as fireplaces, cabinets, casings and ceilings. XL suites measure 45-70 sqm, with five-metre-high ceilings. There is also an XXL Business suite designed by the artist Liesbeth van Ginneken, which has a meeting space for six in the former kitchen of the janitor’s quarters. The furniture here is all made from recycled materials – lamps from old nautical maps and a table from old mooring posts. The suite comes with the use of a plasma screen and DVD recorder, and has surround sound installation.
My mezzanine Junior suite was 35 sqm in size and had huge windows overlooking the water (although a dark glass restaurant blocked the whole view from this angle – lots of the rooms have clear views of the water and Erasmus bridge). The bathroom was up a flight of stairs and had a glass wall so you could have a shower or bath and look out over the view. As all the rooms are so different, you may want to choose carefully to suit your taste. One has a lovers theme with big red lips over the bed and pretty flower detail around the ceiling lamp. Another has designer furnishings made from recycled materials, such as bicycle inner tubes and old Dutch post bags. The smallest room, at 21 sqm, is in the attic, and another has a small kitchen for those who are staying a little longer.
Restaurants and bars Breakfast is served in a beautiful, airy white room, the Living Room, with a huge white wooden table for groups or smaller, more intimate tables with bowl-shaped designer chairs. You are served at your table with tea and coffee, fresh fruit, muesli and yogurt, fresh juice, a variety of bread, eggs cooked to order (I had an omelette), cold meats and Dutch cheese. The bar, Lodewijk, is housed in an old clerk’s office and features cast-iron pillars, stucco and antique cabinets. There are comfortable sofas and chairs, and snacks and wines by the glass are served from 4pm. Lunch is served from midday and the bar stays open until 11pm.
Business and meeting facilities The hotel has a few options for meetings. The studio can hold 18 people and the corner suite has stunning views over the harbour and Erasmus bridge. It’s full of light and is a lovely room in which to hold a meeting for up to 12 people. The period room is bright and airy too. A lunch menu for meetings is served from Monday to Friday and costs €15-€25 per person.
Verdict A lovely hotel that offers the business traveller something a little different from the big chains. It is as if you have travelled back to Rotterdam’s past, but with all of the mod cons. It’s a good location to explore the rapidly developing south side of the river and it’s easy to get north to the centre.
How many rooms? There are 17 suites, all with different décor and sizes.
Room highlights The design and furnishings, the iPod dock, the espresso machine and the free wifi.
Price Online rates for a midweek stay in September started from €125 for a Standard suite. Breakfast costs €15.
Contact The Pincoffs Suite Hotel, Stieltjesstraat 34; tel +31 102 974 500; hotelpincoffs.nl