Lute Suites, Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, Amsterdam, Netherlands ****

Q: What is it? A: A former gunpowder factory turned into a hotel, furnished with items from Marcel Wanders’ company Moooi, as Wanders insisted on becoming the co-owner of the place after having a meal here.

A possible obstacle for honeymooners: To access this cozy bedroom loft, you need to climb a very steep metal staircase.

A possible obstacle for honeymooners: To access this cozy bedroom loft, you need to climb a very steep metal staircase.

The room in Suite One feels spacious, thanks to the generous height. The window is three meters tall.

The room in Suite One feels spacious, thanks to the generous height. The window is three meters tall. Just don’t ask me where you should put your hangers!

Boffi fittings, a Bisazza bathtub and a lot of funky details.

Boffi fittings, a Bisazza bathtub and a lot of funky details. If a bathroom could ever become a conversation piece, it’s likely that this would be the one.

Modern solution: Turn this Boffi-knob and there will be water!

A top modern solution: Turn this and there will be water!
This piece was designed by Boffi if I’m not very mistaken.

Breakfast was brought to the suite in a box. Here it's placed on Moooi's Flower Coffee Table.

Breakfast was brought to the suite in a box. Here it’s placed on Moooi’s Flower Coffee Table, in luan wood with burnt in flowers. Designed by Marcel Wanders in 2001.

The reception at the Lute Suites, with smoked furniture by Maarten Baas.

If you enter the reception at the Lute Suites, you will soon find that designer Maarten Baas did his favourite trick on some antiques: He smoked them!

The place is called Ouderkerk aan de Amstel.
The location is in the headline for two reasons: 1) The Lute Suites are hard to find. 2) Dutch cab drivers are bad. Really bad. Without a phone call to the Lute Suites and the aid of a helpful local, I would have been out there still looking for it. Below, I’ve posted a link to a pdf-file that you should download, print out and show to your cabbie. That should do the trick.

How is it to stay there?
It started with a restaurant, founded by Peter Lute in 2003. It’s located in a 1720s gunpowder factory. Dutch designer Marcel Wanders first came to Lute for a meal, but got so hooked that he ultimately became the co-owner of Lute Suites. In February 2005 he had designed and built a seven-suite hotel around the restaurant. The whole place is packed with furniture and objects bearing his signature; or just as likely, from his fellow designers at the company Moooi.

Form may not always follow function but what the heck!
One site claims that the Lute Suites are providing “…modern elegance and high functionality.” I don’t know about that. There are a lot of quirky details but you can’t find a proper hook for your jacket. Each suite has a kitchenette with a Nespresso coffee machine. Wanders did not always go for the most practical solutions but little impracticalities like ‘How do you find an electric outlet that works?’ are outweighed by the fact that you feel good staying here.

Finally, a word about food.
Without the restaurant, no Lute Suites. However, the five-course tasting menu offered by the Lute Restaurant completely failed to impress me. Note to chef Jeroen Groot: A serving of duck stood out. But the rest? Naah. A nicely designed place with kind waiters dressed in Paul Smith suits won’t be enough to attract foodies from the city center. Breakfast was a positive surprise, though. A knock on the door right on time and the box pictured above was delivered and after breakfast, a morning stroll along the river was a nice start to the day. There are six more suites to try so I’m likely to return one day – I just hope that the kitchen have stepped up their game by then…

Lute Suites
De Oude Molen 5
1184 VW
Ouderkerk aan de Amstel
The Netherlands

Click here to book the Lute Suites through TabletHotels.com!

LOCATION:
Do yourself a favour: Download and print out this document, (it’s in Dutch), and hand it to your taxi driver. It will save you a lot of trouble. It should take you some 15 minutes by car from Schiphol Airport and 20 minutes by car from Amsterdam City center if you’re not travelling during rush hour. Click here for the pdf.

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