Q: What is it? A: A different approach to the budget friendly hotel. Unfortunately a place where effect prevails over functionality, cleanliness and comfort. Perhaps a hotel for some but certainly not for me.
Built 1918 in eclectic style (architect: Evert Breman). First it was a place where a shipping company housed clients waiting to travel to South America, later it was inhabited by poor immigrants, even later it turned into a prison. After being a studio space for artists it was converted into a hotel in 2004.
A reference to its history as a storefront for Royal Holland Lloyd hangs from the ceiling. The tiny booth that doubles as front desk may be a memory from the building’s detention center days. Fancy architect firm MVRDV created the interior design.
This is the room that I finally ended up in. As you can see, it’s just under the roof. The hammock is an idea that looks good but is pretty useless in practical terms. And then those two little rugs… they must have been used to clean the basement with. Honestly, such flaws don’t belong in a hotel in the 21st century.
Here’s the Lloyd Hotel take on the now-so-common idea of letting the bed share the space with the bath. A better solution would have been to seal off an area with glass panels and keep it meticulously clean. The bathtub is fine but getting out of it means getting your feet dirty. At least it feels that way.
Honestly you can’t compromise with spaces like these. You simply can’t. ”Constantly adapting to the flux of geo-travellers and the input of cultural counterparts, the Cultural Embassy is present throughout the building” they say on their website. I wish they had spent an equal amount of resources on the stuff everybody will be in touch with… like floors and walls…
Probably one of the most photographed hotel rooms in Europe; the 5-star room with the grand piano. The piano is playable, although not recently tuned. Worse is that the room is suffering from inefficient heating and a WC-arrangement that isn’t too well thought out.
In theory it’s all totally fine.
There are many things about this hotel that I agree with. On paper. For instance, they have rooms ranging from one star to five (at least according to their own measuring scale). That means everything from bunk beds to rooms with grand concert pianos (OK, there’s only one of those). The idea is to mix the aspiring with the affluent and get a healthier and more heterogenous clientele. Good ambition. A lot of work has gone into the public areas. Architects MVRDV decided to open up a void through the massive building. An idea that works. It’s like having breakfast in a cathedral. The space is impressive.
Staying here = putting good intentions to the test.
How many of the architects and conceptualizers did actually spend time in this hotel as guests? One? Zero? There’s a huge gap between idea and execution. I book a 5-star room and ask for the one with the grand piano. It’s lofty and comes with a red staircase and a huge conference table. However, it lacks a proper space to hang your clothes; the idea of having a WC on the bottom floor and the shower on the 2nd is OK, but towels are available only if you walk up the stairs. Plus; none of the lights over the huge bed work. Worst of all, the heating system is losing the fight with winter. This will be one cold night. I declare the room impossible to use and head down to reception…
A change for the better?
After discussing the matter with front desk, I’m offered a room in the attic. It’s warmer (thank you!). It also comes with a hammock and a bathtub next to the bed and that’s alright with me. But both the WC and the sink areas feel unfinished, like the workers and painters left for vacation. Architects also decided to keep the floors raw. I agree, it looks much cooler but you’d have to employ housekeeping full-time to keep it clean. In addition, the little rugs next to the bed and the bathtub seem to have doubled as sweepers. I’m puzzled. But I’m also tired and I decide to call it a day and check out the next.
Is Mr. Guidebook being overly sensitive?
I don’t think so. While I sleep in tents on mountain tops several weeks per year, I still use a different scale to measure things by when I check in at a hotel: 1) I expect sleeping and cleaning areas to be squeaky clean. 2) Having to give walking barefoot on the floor a 2nd thought feels downright weird. Hotel management; this attic room, should get a complete overhaul before you let another guest use it! The hotel website trumpet that these rooms are ”designed to surprise even the most well-travelled guest”. I agree. I’m surprised. No. Erase that. I’m baffled. I’m out the next day.
EPILOGUE: Still I have a lot of sympathy for the intentions behind the Lloyd Hotel. So, clean up your act (yes, literally) and start running it as a hotel. Being a Culturele Ambassade doesn’t help when rooms feel like they need to be cleaned. Until then, I can only label it an interesting idea that needs to improve on execution. Until proof of such improvement exists: avoid.
Lloyd Hotel & Culturele Ambassade
Oostelijke Handelskade 34
1019 BN Amsterdam
+31 20 561 3636