Just as I sought out weird and offbeat sites to see while in Amsterdam, I naturally wanted to rest my pretty little head in a weird and offbeat hotel. It turned out that the Lloyd Hotel and Cultural Embassy perfectly fit the bill.
Arriving late one cold morning in December, I tiredly stumbled off the tram (thanks to a very early morning Easy Jet flight) and glimpsed the hotel just off into the distance. I was immediately impressed with the building’s stately appearance and how conveniently close it was located to the tram stop.
Situated in the edgy and stylish Eastern Docklands area, the hotel is a quick 10-15 minute tram ride away from Centraal station. Perched along one of the city’s widest canals, the uber cool neighborhood is full of design shops, restaurants and quirky modernist architecture. If I was to ever settle down in Amsterdam, I would love to call the Eastern Docklands home.
As I walked around towards the front of the hotel, I was greeted with this. Excited, I couldn’t wait to see the inside.
Turning around, I saw the building overlooks a wide expanse of water. The hotel even has it’s own dock. Had I known, I wouldn’t have taken the tram and would’ve arrived by boat. I’m just that important …
The Lloyd Hotel and Cultural Embassy has a dark and tumultuous past. Built in the early 1920′s, the building was commissioned by the Royal Dutch Lloyd Shipping Company as a boarding house for Eastern European migrant workers enroute to the Americas. It was a place of happiness for the hopeful people with dreams of starting a new life abroad. It changed in WWII when the Germans used the building as a remand prison. In subsequent years, it was used as a detention centre for young offenders and even as a collection of artists’ studios eventually falling into disrepair and remaining that way until the area saw a revitalization in the late ’90′s.
It was then that over 50 designers and artists came together to transform the space into the hotel and cultural hub that it is today. While much of the original interior is still intact, some of it was removed so that daylight pours in through the sixth floor skylights. It opens up the space and goes a long way to reducing the somewhat institutional feel. The Wallpaper City Guide aptly put it when they wrote “The Lloyd was given a new lease of life by the big stars of Dutch design.“
The hotel now boasts 116 quirky and eccentric rooms in which no two are exactly alike. The rooms are full of unique artwork like unusual lamps or beautifully detailed curtains. Historical significance ha also been preserved through the continued use original tiling and restoration of antique trestle tables from Lithuania. Most bizarre (but really really cool) is a room with a bed for eight people, another with a swing and others with hidden “fold away” bathrooms!
Now you’re probably thinking that this place must be super expensive. Well, it doesn’t have to be! If you’re a budget traveller type like me, you can choose to stay in a one or two star room. If you roll with rock stars and Hollywood celebrities, you can book yourself into a four or five star room. To find out more about the price and other differences between the room, visit the hotel’s web site. So of course, I booked myself into a one star room. I’m fancy like that after all.
After checking in and getting the key to my room on the fourth floor, I exited the lift and came upon this. I’ll admit it was totally creepy and I was loving every single moment.
The hotel staff also likes to encourage interaction between their guests and communal spaces are set-up in the hallways.
Entering my home away from home for the weekend, I was surprised and delighted to see the room was bright and airy with a lovely view. The room came equipped with two single beds, a small TV and a large desk.
Oh and there were even bathrobes! They’re needed as a stay in a one star room means you share a bathroom with a few other rooms.
I was OK with the shared bathroom situation and wasn’t really sure what to expect but was again struck at how the Lloyd can take something like a communal bathroom and make it into something nice.
By far, this is the coolest place I’ve ever stayed (even better than the Drake Hotel in Toronto) and I’m not sure I’ll ever be this excited to stay at another hotel again. PS Van de Week said this is “A hotel which knows no comparison” and I’m in complete agreement.
Are you perhaps wondering just what the heck a fold away bathroom is or what some of those 5 star rooms look like? Well, lucky for you I was given a personal tour by one of the hotel owners. Stay tuned as I have lots more to tell and show you about the Lloyd Hotel in Amsterdam.
Address: Oostelijke Handelskade 34, 1019 BN Amsterdam, Netherlands.