art’otel Amsterdam: enriching your travel experience

You know when you visit a Contemporary Art Museum and there exists a degree of speculation as to whether or not an object, for example, a bin, is art or if it is in fact just a bin? Well, that degree of speculation exists at art’otel Amsterdam, except the object whose status you’re pondering is most likely art. This hip hotel, just across the street from Centraal Station, merges life and art together in a hotel-wide exhibition of eccentric artworks. Magnificent art installations interact with the modern luxe décor to conjure an atmosphere that will inspire even the most tired and weary minds.

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If contemporary art is your jam then a stay in art’otel is essential. There are seven hotels in the group, and if you hadn’t already guessed by the brand name, art’otel is design and art focused. Each of the seven residences spotlights a different talent and fills the hotel with their artworks. Berlin, for example, showcases the works of Andy Warhol and was the first in the group to open. Atelier Van Lieshout is the artist at residence at art’otel Amsterdam, and according to the hotel, the Dutchman is “obsessed with life”. An exploration of his artworks in the hotel would confirm this as art permeates every facet of life during your stay in this spectacular hotel. It may also be accurate to muse that Atelier Van Lieshout had an obsession with sex too, as many of the artworks displayed in the hotel are rather risqué, but certainly at-home in the city renowned for celebrating sexuality. Artworks include a “fertility lamp”, housed in the “family-friendly’ lounge, as well as a ginormous installation of sperm suspended on wires.

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Other artworks include a skull-shaped chair, a 12-metre curtain suspended over two floors, onto which visual art and curated crowd-sourced content is projected, and with 26 sensors picking up your every move, the curtain is uniquely interactive, enabling you to play with art and contribute to its formation. This impressive masterpiece connects the lobby with a basement gallery, which houses alternating exhibitions from a selection of different local artists. There is undoubtedly a unique artistic ambience permeating every fibre of this hotel.

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Welcome

We walked through the revolving doors off one of the busiest and scruffiest streets in Amsterdam – don’t let this put you off, the views are stunning and the edge that the streetscape offers melds seamlessly with the aesthetic of the hotel. At the entrance stands an enthusiastic host in a white shirt, with long hair styled scruffily in the most Amsterdam-chic way possible. What a personality! His welcome sets the tone for your entire visit – a infectious enthusiasm and curiosity for his new guests mirrors that of the people who amble around the hotel bar admiring the attention-grabbing sculptures, cocktail in hand.
Check-in is personal, easy and an artistically pleasing experience. Individual desks for each receptionist stand tall and, unsurprisingly, they too are sculptures. Bold, red faces carved in a geometric style stand tall against an impeccably white backdrop curtain, behind which mood lighting sets the scene according to the time of day.

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Lifelike figures sit alongside guests awaiting check in on a white, leather chaise longue – a contemporary vibe that is echoed in the 107 bedrooms, as well as in the hotels bar, 5&33, and the restaurant. Some may find the predominantly black furnishings, with a splash of white, red or yellow, rather harsh, however we felt that it replicated the stylish and attractive nature of the city and it’s population.

The Room

Move along dimly lit hallways to your room, weaving your way around sculptures before entering through a bright red door. Our room had a view of Centraal Station, offering the perfect combination of culture and people-watching over our morning brew, provided we could drag ourselves away from the huge bed and tremendous pillow selection.

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The rooms come equipped with a large flat screen television, free wifi, international power sockets, tea and coffee making facilities, a mini bar and perfect mood-lighting; a feature that we later named ‘Hotline Bling lights’ because of its similarity to the lighting in the video of Drake’s popular anthem (For real though, never have we come across such flawless bedroom lighting).

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The bedroom oozes sex appeal, and not just because of the bed size and mood lighting. While standing in the bathroom, one can see directly through to the bedroom through the translucent walls, however the unsuspecting person you’re peeping on in the bedroom is non-the-wiser, as to their naked eye the bedroom wall appears opaque. This optical illusion continues in the waterfall shower room and separate toilet cubicle as well. Saucy!

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From a contemporary ArtRoom to a spectacular Masterpeice suite, all 107 guestrooms feature at least 25 square metres of indulgence, with a unique piece of art and luxury amenities.

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5&33

The hotel’s sophisticated bar, 5&33, is an all-day and late-night kitchen, bar, library, lounge and multi-functional gallery space. It is popular among young Amsterdammers and is ideal for pre-dinner cocktails. Or afternoon cocktails, as we so often found out. The area is a breath of fresh air amongst the crowded streets of tourist pubs; a chilled-out space during the day, it comes to life at night with diners, drinkers and DJs.

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It’s trendy and relaxed atmosphere heightens the sense of occasion, and the attentive, well-informed staff will help you to choose the perfect drink to suit your palette. Boasting an eclectic range of indulgent cocktails, craft beers and world wines, the lounge offers a cool escape from the busy bike, tram and pedestrian packed streets of Amsterdam. We had what were hands down the best gin and tonics we’ve ever had in 5&33.

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The kitchen at 5&33 operates on a shared-dining concept with a menu of simple, fresh, honest food – inspired by the flavors of the wider Mediterranean. They also host a Bloody Mary Sunday Brunch for those inescapable Amsterdam hangovers. We’d recommend the Grand Platter of cured meats and Italian cheeses for an afternoon of cocktailing at 5&33.

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The breakfast menu is an endless affair and if you feel the need to keep your greed to yourself, you can opt for breakfast in bed; just make sure to put your menu choice out for housekeeping the night before, otherwise you won’t be enjoying your morning feast while blasting Mariah Carey’s greatest hits from the 44” flat screen TV.

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Facilities

art’otel pulls out all the stops when it comes to the facilities that it offers its guests. In-keeping with the hip, art theme of the brand, the 200-square-metre 5&33 gallery and exhibition space hosts fairs, fashion shows, lectures symposia and parties within a monthly cultural programme.

 © bestvloerrenovatie

© bestvloerrenovatie

Unwind after a day of culture mongering, shopping or boozing in the hotels Active Club and exclusive beauty spa. The ultra-modern health club is the ideal venue for an intense gym workout or a chill session in the Finnish sauna.

Access to the gym, the indoor swimming pool and the Finnish sauna is complimentary for all hotel guests.

Location

The hotel’s location is ideal for even the laziest of travellers. It’s positioning directly opposite the Centraal station makes it convenient for both air (provided you get the train from the airport into the city) and rail passengers. It is within walking distance of De 9 Straatjes and Anne Frank House. Turn left out of the hotel and allow yourself to get lost amongst the quiet, bridge-lined canals and gabbled buildings. Turn right and you’re on one of Amsterdam’s most photographed parts of the canal, and right opposite the Sexmuseum Amsterdam.

© Gerard Van Beek

© Gerard Van Beek

Our stay at art’otel Amsterdam was exceptional, and although some may regard it as brash and risqué due to it’s art collection and busy street location, we think that it compliments this vibrant city perfectly. It offers a fun and fresh alternative to the usual boutique hotels, and it is the ideal place to rest your head if you’re an art-lover, party-goer, cocktail-drinker, millennial, or someone who just fancies something a little out-of-the-ordinary and exceptional. The concept of the art’otel brand has become a favourite of ours because although a chain, each hotel offers something utterly distinctive.

We can’t wait to visit the other art’otels scattered across Europe, especially for the opening of the Battersea venue in 2019.

Book your stayhttp://www.artotelamsterdam.com

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Caoilfhionn Rose

Caoilfhionn is a freelance travel writer who enjoys slow travel and avoiding landmarks in favour of diving into a destination's culture. Instagram: @CaoilfhionnRose

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