High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands


High Road to Culture in Flanders and the Netherlands

Hotel New York Combines Migration History With Boutique Hospitality
© Tripadvisor
© Tripadvisor © Tripadvisor
The L-Spot

Hotel New York Combines Migration History With Boutique Hospitality

Koninginnenhoofd 1, Rotterdam

As the headquarters of the Holland America Line, the building saw emigrants on their way to a new life in the United States. Today Hotel New York in Rotterdam welcomes locals, businessmen and tourists to stay in its turn-of-the-century grandeur.

In 2004, the Dutch pop singer Anouk shut herself away in room 101 of Hotel New York in Rotterdam to work on her new album Hotel New York. She wrote all of the songs in the hotel room, including the hit singles Girl and One Word.

This unique hotel occupies a brick building from 1901 that originally served as the Holland America Line’s main office. It stands on a symbolic spot at the head of the Wilhelmina Pier island looking out to sea. Millions of people passed this way before emigrating to the United States.

After the last transatlantic liner sailed off in 1971, this docklands area became an industrial wasteland. By the late 1980s, the empty HAL office building had been taken over by a few dozen squatters.

But then something happened that changed the entire site. The local entrepreneur Daan van der Have was walking through the neighbourhood with the musician Berry Visser when they came across the dilapidated HAL building. ‘This would make a beautiful hotel,’ Visser reflected. Van der Have agreed.

The designer Dorine de Vos was recruited to shape the makeover. She took her inspiration from the mix of old and new elements in contemporary New York hotels. The wooden floors were preserved while nostalgic touches were added like a pile of dusty suitcases at the entrance, ship models in the corridors and giant photographs of Rotterdam in the bedrooms.

A vast restaurant was added in vintage liner style, complete with a replica steering house, to create a bustling, noisy dining hall where Rotterdammers like to meet.

The hotel’s isolated location was solved by introducing a water taxi service. This has grown into a thriving business with dozens of fast yellow speedboats nipping between landing stages along the waterfront. You might almost think you were in New York.

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