Fred Van Eijk

As an Amsterdam local, you’ll often find Fred van Eijk in the Conservatorium Hotel – a property in Amsterdam that is iconic, brimming with luxury and unique from other luxury hotels.

Fred takes time out of his busy schedule to learn more about the hotel’s background and Robert Lee, Partnership Manager, has plenty to tell him:

 

As the name suggests, the hotel is not built as a typical hotel, yet when you guests arrive they feel at home, why do you think that is?

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Indeed, the Lounge is often called ‘Amsterdam’s living room’. Both locals and international guests are charmed by its familiar feel. Piero Lissoni’s fusion of modernism, contemporary luxury and shapes can be found back in the design of the hotel, creating a playful contrast with daylight. For your coffee cravings; our expert barista will serve you the best coffee in town, all day in the Lounge.

 

This hotel is steeped in history. Can you tell me a little bit about the heritage of this building?

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In 1987 the building was home to the Post Office Savings Bank. A period that has left its mark on this building with historic details, namely in the hall of Van Baerle Shopping Gallery. Here the walls are decorated with piggy banks, referring to the place where people saved their money.

The building was unoccupied for five years after the bank, following a series of merges, had to move their office. Eventually, the Sweelinck Conservatorium took over, existing out of three separate music institutions. The building got redone to modernise Daniel Knuttel’s architecture and to equip it with acoustic classrooms.

In April 2008, the Conservatory of Amsterdam left its home for a new location. Dazzled by the building’s historical narrative, it didn’t take long for The Set Hotels to purchase it. With the vision to honour the building’s glorious past, the renowned Milanese designer Piero Lissoni guided the renovation of the hotel, in which its rich history is woven into the new function of the building.

Today, we still work together with the Amsterdam Conservatory, each year we organise the Expression of Art Award. Jazz musicians take the stage in our hotel, where they perform and compete against each other for a grant of €5000, offered by The Set Hotels. Additionally, every weekend our guests can enjoy music played in the Lounge by students of the conservatory.

 

What is it that makes you stand out from the other luxury hotels in Amsterdam?

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You will find Conservatorium in the cultural heart of the city, with Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum and Van Gogh Museum at your doorstep. Besides strolling through the cities museums, a walk through the Vondelpark and a shopping spree at the most luxurious shops of Amsterdam are also just a few minutes away.

What’s also unique is that the restaurant and bar areas don’t only appeal to hotel guests but also to locals, who you’ll find in the morning indulging in the first sun rays, sipping on their coffee and perhaps indulging on a sweet pastry.

This Spring we’ve partnered with our neighbours the Van Gogh Museum, to offer an exclusive experience to our guests. Guests can stay in two suites that are inspired by the striking exhibition Van Gogh & Japan as well as enjoy a Van Gogh & Japan Afternoon Tea in the Brasserie.

What also makes us stand out from other luxury hotels, is that we organise the yearly Art Months. In March, April and May we showcase the work of various artists, focusing on one artist each month. This refreshes our lobby and gives our regular guests a way to experience it differently, surprising them with new artwork.

We also appoint a personal Host to each of our guests at the Conservatorium hotel. The Host department is a new concept; a fusion between a Concierge and Guest Relations. They offer a personal service to our guests, taking care of reservations at their favourite restaurants or organising tickets for one of the museums the guests are looking forward to visiting. They’re also not afraid to share their personal and local advice on exploring Amsterdam.

 

Can you tell me more about what guests can find in your rooms.

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With eight floors and 129 rooms, our hotel guests choose between a great variation of rooms. From a comfortable duplex suite to the penthouse; each of our guests has their own favourite. We listen carefully to their personal wishes and use this to find the perfect room. We have rooms with a balcony and even a room with a rooftop terrace that has a 360-degrees view over the Amsterdam skyline. Many of our rooms can be characterised by the historic architecture and original wooden beams, which they owe to the heritage of the building.

Our rooms are set up for a spacious feel and are equipped with the most advanced technology, such as the state-of-the-art entertainment system, a large rain shower, free Wi-Fi and luxurious design facilities. They are comfortable and have an intimate feel. The interior design has a few typical Dutch details and decorations, so when our guests wake up they know they are in our country.

My personal favourite would be the Rooftop Suite. This room truly brings forth the buildings historic features. It is divided into different levels, with a small staircase in between that leads to the large bathroom. Here you’ll find a marble bathtub with a fantastic view over Amsterdam.

 

The Conservatorium hotel is also famed for its bar and restaurants. What’s on the culinary menu of the hotel?

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The gastronomic side of Conservatorium hotel is led by the renowned chef Schilo van Coevorden. For a luxurious treat, Taiko restaurant serves exceptional food, inspired by the flavours and textures of Asian dishes.

The Brasserie & Lounge can be found on the courtyard of the hotel which is surrounded by glass for a spectacular result. This is where you can enjoy a delicious lunch, high-tea or dinner. Then finally, the Tunes Bar inside of the hotel is a chic yet casual Gin & Tonic bar. Here you can choose from more than thirty different gins. Plenty of options.

 

I always notice how friendly and professional the staff is. What’s your secret?

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We have created a pleasant atmosphere for our staff and stimulate them to improve their personal competencies. They can participate in the many training programmes we have on offer and we have monthly feedback sessions.

For us, teamwork goes beyond the hotel, this is evident in our very own hockey team and the many activities we organise for our employees. Lastly, our employees have received plenty of guidance and training, so they can anticipate the needs and wishes of our customers with professional ease.

 

Now for the cherry on top… the wellness and fitness offering makes it almost impossible to leave the hotel. With this much to do, what are your personal tips?

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The Conservatorium hotel has over 1.000 meters of pure luxury with the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre. Akasha holds Amsterdam’s only Watsu bath, made specifically for Watsu treatments and guided meditation. Watsu is a unique treatment, in which you’re in water and massaged to the rhythm of the music. Besides this unique bathing experience, the wellness centre has plenty of other signature spa treatments to indulge in.

My other personal tip would be my favourite Gin & Tonic, the Nikka Coffey Gin. This is one of our signature Gin & Tonics and is made by the same company of Nikka Whiskey. It is mixed with Fever Tree India Tonic and many different citrus tones and garnished with slices of mandarin. Cheers!

 

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Have you stayed at the Conservatorium Hotel?