Without a doubt, the most iconic and unusual place to spend the night in Rotterdam is the Hotel New York. As soon as you step inside the historic and imposing building you’re bound to be amazed by the lively atmosphere and maritime air. There’s a great feeling of history here too. This is a boutique hotel where every detail has been perfected. So a stay in the Grand Old Lady, as they call her, is more than just an overnight stop – it’s a whole experience.
The hotel is the former Holland-America Line building. At the beginning of the 20th century more than one and a half million people began their journey to the New World from here. Whether they were leaving for religious or economic reasons – or just out of a sense of adventure, everyone must have set off with feelings of excitement. Perhaps in happiness, perhaps with sadness. But they were all in search of a better life at the other side of that great pond. Today though, against this unique background, you can stay the night, get some work done, or just relax.
Inside the hotel as many historic elements as possible have been preserved. In fact they’ve been developed in the thematic furnishings and decoration. A feeling of the old days oozes from the wrought iron staircases, old-fashioned trunks and photos of migrants and of the old directors of the Holland America Line. There are even models of the ships of those days. At any rate there’s one thing the people who came here then and those who come here now have in common. That’s a desire to leave, but the longing to come back too. So there could literally have been no better purpose for this building than to turn it into a hotel. When you arrive you’re given a lovely little book giving the whole story of the place. It’s a great idea, because it shows you what makes a stay here so special.
Hip location by the water
Hotel New York lies on the River Maas, and most of the rooms have a view over the water. Rotterdam centre is just a few minutes away across the famous Erasmus Bridge. You can get there on the water taxi which is as much fun as it’s handy as a way of getting about the city – certainly if the weather’s nice. A fun thing for foodies to do is to visit the Fenix Food Factory. It’s only a short walk away in an old factory building and you can get to know some of the delicious things offered by all sorts of passionate craftsmen.
Each of the 72 rooms in Hotel New York is unique and in its own way special. Eye-catching examples are the rooms in the 2 groene torentjes, those in the old porter’s lodge on the roof and what was once the Directors’ Lounge in the Holland-America offices. We stayed in a corner room on the second floor. These rooms have a lovely view out over the water and you can see the Euromast. It gives an immediate feeling of being relaxed and on holiday! And if it’s possible the nostalgic look of the room strikes you even more than the view. There are historic things like old suitcases and a pair of binoculars; and there’s a porthole in the bathroom door. It’s all combined with elegant designer furniture in an airy layout. More to the point the rooms are extremely comfortable thanks to wonderfully roomy beds by Treca de Paris and pillows in various grades of firmness. Add in a bottle of Hotel New York water for the night and a lovely cup of Nespresso coffee for the morning and you’ve got everything you need for a blissful night’s sleep and to awake peacefully.
More than a night in a hotel
So Hotel New York is more than just somewhere to stay the night. For a start, it’s got all sorts of venues and meeting-rooms, each with a unique décor. Also, in the basement you’ll find a fully-equipped barber’s shop! It’s a family-run business that’s been going since 1884 and can boast of numerous awards. There’s a small shop in the hotel lobby that can supply books, souvenirs and toiletries.
Hotel New York for foodies
You’re just as unlikely to suffer from hunger or thirst here. In both the bar and the restaurant you can enjoy breakfast, lunch and dinner in a historic setting, or have a “little something” in between whiles – a snack or just a drink. There’s the Oyster bar, a large terrace and you can take afternoon tea, so there’s something for every taste.
In short, Hotel New York is a very special place in Rotterdam. You feel like a real globetrotter, following in the footsteps of the many adventurers who’ve been here before you. The combination of such a rich history and today’s level of luxury amid the individual décor makes your stay an event that you won’t forget. And it will fit seamlessly with a visit to the cultural high points of Rotterdam simply lovely.