As Amsterdam prepares to mark the 350th anniversary of the death of Rembrandt in 2019, the city also celebrates a new hotel, quite unlike any other. The creation of award-wining hotelier, Eric Toren, with designers Wim van de Oudeweetering and Cris van Amterdam, this small, sixteen-suite paean to luxury – unassumingly named Hotel TwentySeven – is the latest winner of the Boutique Hotel Awards’ coveted Most Inspired Design Hotel category. 2018 saw a flurry of awards for the hotel, as it was also awarded the title of Best Small Luxury Hotel of Europe at the International Property Awards, and it won “Best Wow Effect” of Luxury Hotels, an accolade awarded by Hospitality ON, the organisation behind the World Wide Hospitality Awards.
First, its location: in central Dam Square, above the celebrated Gassan diamond store, and an influential business club, TwentySeven occupies the 3rd to 6th floors of a 1913 building. “It was a total mess when we acquired it,” says Toren, who immediately set about the meticulous recreation of the central light-well and staircases, replicating the original 1920s tile-work, terrazzo floors, and marquetry of the elevator doors to restore their original splendour. Structural restoration aside, the interiors are a sumptuous evocation of the city’s Golden Age; a theatrical blend of classical – in the form of plush velvets and oodles of Rubelli fabrics dressing windows and upholstery – with bespoke furniture, lighting, and changing selection of art, the latter curated by Cobra Gallery.
The lift door opens on the third floor, to heady wafts of eastern promise – the signature fragrance, evocative of Amsterdam’s erstwhile role in the spice trade. Contemporary glass orbs hang from the light-well like celestial bodies, diffusing atmospheric changes of colour. This is the floor where you eat, drink and make merry. All around, drama lies in contrast: in Bougainville restaurant, for example, gothic black tasseled lamps and gold silk brocade seating are strikingly juxtaposed with oversized photographs of icons of the Big Screen. This is the intimate stage for Executive Chef Tim Goldsteijn, whose artistry has recently seen the restaurant awarded its first Michelin star, while “Dutch Sommelier Champion 2018” Lendl Mijnhijmer oversees a list of deliciously unfamiliar wines. The 7-course menu (with optional wine pairing), is the ideal solution for those faced with the delectable agony of à la carte indecision.
The lounge bar, meantime – a popular meeting place, and heart of the hotel – is not to be outdone in the championship stakes. The domain of the “World’s Best Bartender,” Eric van Beek conjures up his award-winning Cariňo – a creamy blend of rum, vanilla, lemon and yoghurt – from behind his backlit onyx bar. Here it is that autumnal tones dominate: plush amber velvet seating, a central artwork in the form of a horizontal ceiling light of polished tangled copper sheets, and copper thread adding shimmer to the silk walls. The copper, in fact, created unforeseen problems. “It played havoc with the WiFi,” says Toren, “so we had to find a way around that….”
Adjoining the bar, cigar-lovers will be delighted to find an elegant smoking room at their disposal, overlooking Rokin – and that, ladies and gentlemen, is the extent of the ‘public’ rooms. No spas, gyms, or superfluous gestures here. The suites themselves are the focus of no-expense-spared comfort, ranging from a cosy 40 sq.m. to the palatial 245 sq.m. of the Imperial Terrace Suite. Somewhere in between come the romantic, Rapunzel-esque Tower Dream Suite with its “floating-candle” lighting beneath the copper dome, and the aptly-named Rooftop Stage Suite, with its huge round bed and unexpected crannies.
Perhaps the most atmospheric are the top floor rooms: fantasy dens with high triangular ceilings, snugs and oriole windows. But each suite, though unique in design and detail, displays the same exuberant interplay of textures in warm metallic tones: handcrafted bespoke Ebru silk carpets which introduce a touch of Islamic geometry over oak floors of Versailles design, custom-made furniture, satin cushions, silk brocades and devoré velvets, Pierre Frey-clad walls – every vertical and horizontal surface dressed to the nines. It is a campness which, by some sprinkling of magic dust, avoids tipping into vulgarity. Contemporary hand-picked artworks and whacky lighting provide the finishing touches, along with satisfyingly heavy crystal glasses for the well-stocked in-room bars, fresh flower arrangements, bathrooms – with jacuzzi and steam chambers – of marbled-inlay design, and a host of shower features the mastery of which might well require the assistance of your butler.
Service – which includes everything from personal shopper to private guided tours – is, of course, as you would expect of a hotel which has been referred to as ‘six-star,’ as is the touch-of-a-button technology and high-speed internet. Light sleepers will be glad of the luxury of silence, insulated from the tourist hubbub without. Rooms are totally sound-proofed, with 10cm-thick, triple-insulated wooden doors – each of which, Toren notes wryly, “was hand-made, and cost more than a car.”’ But of his overall expenditure on this hotel, Toren remains coy. “All I will say, is that it went €5 million over-budget,” he grins. “I won’t be retiring any time soon!”
Dam 27, 1012 JS Amsterdam
+31 20-21 82 180
Suites start from £445