Conservatorium Hotel

Tucked into an alleyway on Amsterdam's museum island, one can find a peculiar hotel housed in the former Sweelinck Conservatory of Music. This neo-gothic structure of thick red brick was originally built at the end of the 19th century, but today has been adorned on one side by a giant glass cube which functions as an airy combination of restaurant and lobby. This zone feels like a museum cafeteria in the best way, with its modern black leather chairs, hushed bustle, and lofty dining area. Guest rooms here are set along massively thick stone corridors, which force each step to echo to and fro, giving one the peculiar feeling of being a tender-footed young musician arriving nervously on his or her first day at the conservatory.

Thankfully, the suites themselves don't inculcate one with such an overwhelming sense of austerity. Quite the opposite, their feeling is soft, welcoming, and contemporary. Many of them are also unique in their layout as they play off the peculiarities of the original building's structure. In the Grand Duplex Suite, for example, the architecture of the conservatory has truly been allowed to breathe, with its stacked living room and bedroom which stare simultaneously out of a giant two-story pane of glass onto the street below. The beauty of this is that although the suite itself is not enormous, one never feels claustrophobic as the exterior becomes a part of the interior. This does have its downsides, however. Take, for example, one weekend when a street musician out of view chose to belt Katy Perry classics through an amplifier, making it suddenly feel less thrilling to welcome the world into your bedroom.

"Guest rooms here are set along massively thick stone corridors, which force each step to echo to and fro, giving one the peculiar feeling of being a tender-footed young musician arriving nervously on his or her first day at the conservatory."

But should you need absolute privacy, look no further than the upstairs bathroom, hidden behind a solid foot of thick stone. This veritable anechoic chamber has no windows and cuts off all sound and contact from the outside world. Thankfully, it is also quite luxurious. For further solitude, drench yourself under the oversized rain shower head found inside. You may even find yourself blissfully repeating some of Katy Perry's finer bubblegum lyricisms as you frolic amongst the steam. JR

This review is included in TTA9. Click here for more information about the issue.

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