On May 1st, the luxurious Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam will open its doors, revealing its stunning design to global luxury travellers. Located in a unique neighborhood in the UNESCO area of Herengracht, Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam is comprised of six historic town houses, numbers 542 to 556, each with its own fascinating tale dating back to the 17th and 18th century.
In transforming the houses into what is set to become one of Holland’s finest luxury hotels, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts partnered with G A Design International to create a single design vision for the property. Through that vision, guests will be invited to experience the splendor of the property’s heritage and surroundings through a contemporary setting. Equally important, the hotel’s design links to signature Waldorf Astoria brand elements now seen in more than 25 hotels and resorts around the world, from Shanghai to Panama.
Each aspect of Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam reflects understated luxury, from the refined tranquil interiors that reference the canal waters and famous Dutch paintings, to the framed views of the canals and gardens. The atmosphere is authentic and sophisticated, paying homage to the history of the original buildings with modern and refreshing accents.
“The design approach was to create a classic timeless interior with strong reference to location, brand and the trading history of the city,” says Chris Webb, senior director interior design, Hilton Worldwide. “Carefully sourced finishes, design details, textures and products relate directly to the story of Amsterdam during its Golden Age.”
The six grand merchant’s houses that the elegant hotel comprises are a reflection of this period. “Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam is one of the few properties in the city with views out on to a gracious canal and finely manicured private gardens, offering an inspirational environment and True Waldorf Service,” adds Webb.
First constructed in the 1600’s, the buildings have been home to a plethora of wealthy and influential residents, including the Mayor of Amsterdam at No.546 and Dutch historical figure Hendrick Hooft in No. 556. No’s 550 and 552 now contain a brilliant example of Rococo interiors, some of which are attributed to acclaimed artist Jacob Maurer (the Italian room). The magnificent exterior of the six canal side patrician houses has been completely restored and these buildings are soon to be unveiled as the timeless classic, Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam.
On the approach to the hotel, guests are greeted with the ‘Five Window’ design, a sign of great wealth and affluence during the 17th century. A grand double staircase leads to the monumental arrival lobby which retains much of its period detailing, including beautiful frontage and sweeping staircase that leads to the Bel Etage, the splendid first floor level of the hotel.
Each of the 93 guest rooms and suites are graced with their own individual character, decorated in soft and elegant furnishing with accents of lapis lazuli and stronger ochre colours referencing Holland’s own Vermeer, whose paintings include ‘The Girl With A Pearl Earring.’ Natural light is maximised through floor to ceiling windows framed by subtle drapery. Exquisite fabrics, soft textures and upholstery and luxurious bed linen balanced with sophisticated furniture creates a sumptuous residential feel giving guests the feeling of home comforts in exceptionally luxurious surroundings.
The dining facilities at Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam will include a gastronomic restaurant alongside signature bar Peacock Alley, Vault Bar and The Maurer Room, plus exclusive banqueting facilities. Peacock Alley on the Bel Etage will be a new place to see and be seen, an elegant lounge and dining area with flowing drapery, hand blown glass and classic furniture to give a truly authentic experience. Through the intricately detailed columns of the Bel Etage, a Waldorf Armillary Sphere takes centre stage in the room, in reference to the property’s links to sail, trade and time – also a proud icon of the history of the canal houses as homes to the wealthy and successful.
The Vault Bar is set to become one of Amsterdam’s new destination bars – a secret treasure trove set in the depths of the original vault of the former bank. Rich jewel-like colours keep it an intimate and exclusive setting. The elegant restaurant is flooded with natural light making style references with the gentle sloping of the furniture to the curving roofs of the exterior buildings.
The boutique three-treatment room Guerlain Spa is located in the garden level of one of the oldest parts of the building. It is a European style natural sanctuary designed in muted grey and earthy tones with warm influences of lavender and honey, linking to the beehives at the hotel. The spa will also feature a tranquil heated indoor pool and sauna.
Setting a new standard for luxury and hospitality in the city, Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam will redefine luxury and timeless elegance in this vibrant city when it opens its doors.
Carrie Coolidge is a Pursuitist contributor based in Manhattan. From 2009 to 2011, Carrie served as Co-Editor of Luxist, the luxury lifestyle website at AOL where she ran the Luxist Awards, a program that honored the very best in fine living. From 1996 to 2009, Carrie was a Staff Writer at Forbes magazine, where she covered real estate, personal finance and the insurance industry, among other areas. Carrie is also the author of six books, including "The Business of America is Business". Follow her on Twitter: @carriecoolidge