The Apollo hotel dates back to the 1960s but was revamped last October when it joined Starwood’s three-year-old Tribute Portfolio (now part of Marriott) of independent “boutique” properties. The building was originally constructed for the 1928 Olympic Games.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The tower blocks exhibit a mix of interior design styles from the 1920s and 1970s that have been conceived by Belgian designer Will Erens – you’ll spot freestanding gold palm tree lamps, velvet furniture, stained glass, vintage cabinets, pale banquettes, black lacquer tables, dark green tiling and matt gold walls. While the public spaces and restaurants are rather more successful in looking hip, the bedrooms still feel fairly subdued and businesslike.
WHERE IS IT?
In the Old South district to the south of central Amsterdam, a 20-minute drive from the main train station. It’s positioned on a corner overlooking a point where five different canals converge.
There are 207 rooms across three categories (Deluxe, Executive and Design) plus 16 suites. Some of the bedrooms still need to be given a facelift, although all will have new Phi-ton beds by the end of the year.
Entry level rooms feature workdesks with EU and USB sockets, walk-in showers, a rail to hang clothes, Samsung TVs, robes, safes, instant Illy coffee, kettles and empty fridges that can be stocked with food and drink bought in reception (bottled water is free).
Wifi is free although I found it to be slow. Ask for a room with a canal view (mine looked on to a car park).
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
The dining options are probably the best thing about the Apollo. There are three outlets: the Living Room, which is open 6.30am to 11pm and serves coffee, pastries, afternoon tea and cocktails; the Harbour Club, which has a retractable roof and specialises in Asian fare; and Bodon La Grande Brasserie, which has a raw bar and serves excellent fine-dining French cuisine. It also lays on a tempting buffet breakfast in the morning.
I had a delicious lunch of sushi and pan-fried fish in the sun at the Harbour Club (I noticed the bar was also lively in the evening), followed by a decadent dinner at Bodon. All venues have views of the water.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES
You’ll find two meeting rooms on the ground floor and two on the first floor that can be combined to create a ballroom for 200 delegates theatre-style. All have natural light. The hotel’s two outdoor terraces can also be hired. A business centre provides free printing.
There is a 24-hour gym but no pool. Canal cruises can depart from the jetty adjacent to the hotel. Bikes can also be rented.
Although you might feel a little out of town, the Apollo is a good choice for business travellers who like the reassurance of the Marriott brand but a sense of individuality from the premises. Staff are welcoming and the restaurants mean you don’t have to go out in search of a meal.
Internet rates for a midweek stay in a July in a Deluxe room started from €164.
Apollolaan 2; tel +31 20 673 5922; starwoodhotels.com/tributeportfolio