- Review: Laugh Riot @ Refract:21, Waterside Arts - 30 July, 2021
- Preview: Refract Festival, Waterside Arts, Manchester - 5 July, 2021
- Review: Manchester Jewish Museum - 4 July, 2021
The art’otel concept is pretty self-explanatory. It’s a hotel-as-artwork, poised on the edge of Amsterdam’s urban hubbub, and offering a prime jumping off point to explore the very best art, culture and style in the city.
It’s hard to say which was designed first, the hotel or the art, because the one seems to emerge organically from the other. Park Plaza, which owns the brand, has excelled at creating a space where high concept meets high service.
The hotel is festooned with phallic sculptures, bulging with embracing bodies and celebrating life-in-virility. The artwork by Joep Van Lieshout, focusing as it does particularly on the male anatomy, makes it a little too risque for children, but the hotel is well equipped for couples, groups and solo travellers. We recommend it for romantic getaways especially.
If you’re not quite up to forking out the £200+ per night price tag (hint: booking 7-30 days in advance nets you a 20% discount), you can still check out the bar-restaurant-gallery 5&33. Steep yourself in the ambience of the artwork and enjoy a coffee or a cocktail in the bar while flicking through your favourite coffee-table magazines.
The rooms are gorgeous, frankly, with high-tech mod-cons and stylish decor. The views are so-so, but if you’re in Amsterdam, why would you be stuck in your hotel room anyway? Get out and see the sights!
Art’otel Amsterdam is located just over the road from Centraal Station, meaning its location is perfect for getting around and visiting the nightlife, or checking out the museums and historic locations dotted about the city.
If you’re into sightseeing, make sure you pick up an i amsterdam card. With the card you can take advantage of free entry to many of the city’s best attractions and museums, plus a raft of discounts at restaurants, shops and tourist activities. Free public transport is also included in the price of the card, across the local GVB network.
The hotel basement has its own gallery, showcasing local talent, so if you want to be edified, you can just wander the corridors and end up in the gallery to absorb the creativity on display. This makes a great way to while away the time waiting for your lift to the airport, if you want a quick tour.
We recommend whetting your aesthetic tastebuds by checking out the artwork prior to dinner. This is great with friends or – if you’re the romantic type – with a date who enjoys the finer things in life.
Relaxation and recreation
For the health-conscious, or those who want to unwind after a hectic night on the town, there’s an onsite gym and spa, with a petite swimming pool and dry sauna.
For the less health-conscious, there’s a smoking room indoors as well, which is in a separate chamber behind locked doors off the restaurant. That means you can nip for a quick fag in between courses, if you so wish, without returning to find your food cold.
The onsite restaurant, 5&33, is also a bar, so you can enjoy tasty cocktails or light bites through the day or night.
Breakfast is served daily in the restaurant, offering a selection of hot and cold dishes. The pastries were fresh and the range of fruits and meats on offer were great. It’s more Mediterranean-style than English, of course, but you can request a fry up if you really want one.
5&33 serves Mediterranean dishes in tapas-style. There is a range of small dishes and a few larger dishes that are great for sharing. The prices are very reasonable and, given the nature of the way the food is served, the menu is great for groups.
Though the plush setting doesn’t exactly lend itself to too much informality, swanky fashionistas can enjoy a light supper over cocktails and fizz before heading out on the town, gorging as much on the style and ambience as the food itself.
Come back later in the week for our detailed review of 5&33 restaurant.
Staff and service
The staff at art’otel are exceptionally good. We turned up from a late night out (remember: it’s Amsterdam!), and the front desk asked us if we were heading for breakfast. We declined, but were promptly offered a plate of pastries, fresh fruit and cheeses to take to our room. That was especially welcome!
We also needed scissors at one point and had to call down to the reception. These were brought up swiftly, as was the ice bucket we requested on the first night. I guess they would have been just as quick if we’d needed toothpaste or shoe polish, so you can rest assured that your needs will be met.
The idea behind art’otel certainly won’t be for everyone – but that’s kind of the point. If you want a sophisticated city break in one of the world’s biggest cultural hubs, then art’otel Amsterdam is perfect. It allows you to unleash your inner Carrie Bradshaw (or maybe even Samantha Jones with the sperm art on display) for a stay that’s memorable and full of style for style’s sake. Prosecco is great, after all, but sometimes you’ve just gotta drink champagne.
For more information, visit artotels.com.