Located in the heart of Amsterdam’s distinguished museum district, stands the Conservatorium hotel in all its Neo-Gothic splendour. Housed in the former Sweelinck Conservatory of Music, it has been designed by legendary architect Piero Lissoni for a new generation of sophisticated travellers.
The buildings that are now the hotel property were initially designed by the Dutch architect Daniel Knuttel for the Rijkspostspaarbank (Dutch Savings Bank). When the bank moved offices in 1978, it lay empty for five years till it became the Sweelinck Conservatorium, a music school. In 2008, the landmark structures were redesigned by the world famous Italian architect and designer Piero Lissoni, taking four years to complete.
Knuttel was known for his skill of blending simplicity with functionality, and the award-winning Milan-based furniture and interior guru Piero Lissoni interlaced this idea throughout the re-creation of the hotel – 100 years later!
Renowned for his stark lines, sedate furnishings and shades of grey speckled with bright accents, Lissoni is considered one of the foremost contemporary Italian designers. This masterpiece is an amalgam of his modern and contemporary style that playfully engages with the natural light throughout the hotel’s spaces.
The Conservatorium has eight floors with 129 guestrooms and suites, varying from expansive superior rooms to a lavish penthouse suite. All rooms are replete with state-of-the-art in-room technology and sumptuous luxury linens, while brushed oak floors and beige furniture echo a classic autumnal colour palette.
The lavish bathrooms have been fitted with large rain showers, marble tubs, LCD mirror TVs and gorgeously plump micro-cotton towels. In deference to the original high ceilings of the building, almost half the rooms have been designed as capacious duplexes with vast windows that frame jaw-dropping views.
The Conservatorium’s three signature suites – the I ♥ Amsterdam Suite, the Concerto Suite and the Penthouse Suite are the perfect balance of ultimate luxury mixed with original structural features, stunningly planned by Piero Lissoni.
The I ♥ Amsterdam Suite is a très chic triplex with 360° views of Amsterdam’s charming roof scape. This suite has a magnificent sunken bathtub, but the pièce de résistance is the private rooftop terrace (accessed by an original spiral staircase that was found in another part of the building) – complete with sun loungers and a bird’s eye view of the city.
The Concerto Suite situated at the top of the hotel, is a self-contained duplex with separate sitting and dining, along with a kitchenette. Natural daylight filters through ancient windows onto beams and furniture – the perfect marriage between contemporary and architectural heritage. The spacious bathroom features a freestanding oval stone bath and wonderful views of the Stedlijk Museum.
The Penthouse Suite made virtually in glass has floor to ceiling windows that overlook the neo-Gothic building of the historical Conservatorium, the courtyard, the brasserie and the city beyond. Festooned with Persian rugs, the huge living and dining areas have a personalized pantry for special occasions.
Featuring an 80 inch screen, the dining room can also be used as a private cinema! Reserved by many celebrities, the Penthouse Suite has a private entrance and garage, along with a fully equipped make-up and dressing area that can be used before big events.
Fundamental to the Conservatorium Hotel’s vision of good living and cultural distinction, has been the creation of its refined restaurants and bars, headed by Chef Schilo van Coevorden. Their appeal extends not only to the hotel’s guests, but also to Amsterdam’s elite, as well as the city’s international visitors.
Taiko restaurant is situated in the spacious historical part of the hotel that overlooks Paulus Potterstraat and the Stedelijk Museum. It has been named after the famous Japanese drum, as it was the percussion classroom during its years as a music school. Taiko’s design stays true to the hotel’s minimalist ethos, with dark lighting, modern furniture, an open kitchen and cleverly juxtaposed traditional Japanese bric-a-brac.
With its swanky décor and shimmering ambiance, the Tunes Bar is casually refined with a separate smoking lounge. Gin and tonics are the signature cocktail here, where guests can sip from a variety of 40 types of gins and 6 uniquely distinct tonic waters.
At night the cavernous banquettes, tactile fabrics and subtle lighting create a posh intimate space, whilst during the day, the bay windows bathe the room with light reflecting onto Piero Lissoni’s signature transparent bar and folded steel staircase.
The Conservatorium’s Brasserie and Lounge are located in the breath-taking atrium with dramatic bay windows topped with a glass ceiling revealing the sky! The Conservatorium Lounge is intimately dotted with lush homely sofas and coffee tables, earning the moniker the ‘Living Room of Amsterdam’ by the city’s locals.
Furniture from über luxe Italian manufacturers such as Living Divani, Kartell, Cassina and other design classics repose regally in all the communal spaces, while accent pieces such as vintage Asian rugs add to the plushness. On the weekends, guests can enjoy live music from the students of the Conservatorium van Amsterdam (the old music school) – connecting the hotel once again to its remarkable past.
The Conservatorium has also introduced a spa experience cum wellbeing concept that is completely novel to Amsterdam (including a Turkish Hammam and Amsterdam’s only Watsu pool). Divided into four different areas corresponding with the elements, the Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre promises to relax, restore and rejuvenate even the most harried city soul with signature therapies that blend Western practices and ancient Eastern traditions.
The Conservatorium is the first member of The Set, a collection created to redefine the idea of luxury for the cultured, design savvy traveller. Located in existing landmark buildings, each member of The Set (Café Royal in London and the Lutetia in Paris) is rooted in its history and heritage, compounded with ultra-modern amenities that fulfil and indulgence every guest.
Text By Natalie Pedder-Bajaj
Photographs Courtesy The Hotel