Too Cool for School

A former music school turned design-savvy house of slumber, Amsterdam’s Conservatorium combines heritage and cutting-edge hospitality at the heart of the city’s Museum Quarter.

The first thing that strikes guests as they arrive at the acclaimed Conservatorium hotel in Amsterdam is the juxtaposition of past and present. There’s a distinctly residential feel as my car passes through ironwork gates and comes to a stop in an intimate forecourt. The imposing former music school towers above, all red brick, steeples and neogothic glory. Yet, to one side, beyond a line of manicured shrubs, guests sip Aperol Spritzers on the hotel’s expansive, flower-lined terrace, while guests depart on a pair of hotel bicycles, set to explore the city in the best way possible.

Located steps from the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh and Stedelijk museums, to the south of the city’s bustling canals, Conservatorium represents everything visitors love about Amsterdam; steeped in history, elegant and refined yet still playful, the hotel fuses rich tradition with the needs of today’s affluent traveler.

A former music school turned design-savvy house of slumber, Amsterdam’s Conservatorium combines heritage and cutting-edge hospitality at the heart of the city’s Museum Quarter.

Opened in 2011 in an iconic former bank building that later housed the Sweelinck Conservatory of Music before being revived by Italian architect Piero Lissoni, the hotel boasts 129 guest rooms, including 46 beautifully appointed suites. More than half of the guest rooms have been converted into duplexes, with master bedrooms with honey-hued oak floors lofted above intimate living spaces and cavernous oatmeal marble bathrooms with deep bathtubs, wall televisions and double vanities. Lissoni’s touch can be seen in the custom furniture and unashamedly contemporary interiors, especially in the clutch of stunning signature suites.

The towering atrium at the centre of the hotel is the Conservatorium’s heart; here, natural light filters down from glass ceilings and warms the red brick veneer of the original building. To one side of this beautiful internal courtyard, the Brasserie and Lounge offers Dutch executive chef Schilo van Coevorden’s ingredient-driven cuisine, including the northern Europe-inspired Old Masters Afternoon Tea.

A former music school turned design-savvy house of slumber, Amsterdam’s Conservatorium combines heritage and cutting-edge hospitality at the heart of the city’s Museum Quarter.

Past more glass is The Conservatorium Lounge, with its plush lounges, sun-kissed terrace, and extensive gin and tonic menu, served from the nearby Tunes Bar. During weekends students from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam music school perform, continuing the school’s legacy to perfection.

Like any heritage-listed building, Conservatorium has many hidden gems. At the end of a long corridor of polished marble, destination restaurant Taiko serves contemporary Asian cuisine with seasonal menus that are regularly the talk of the town. In the basement is the city’s largest spa; the 1,000sqm Akasha Holistic Wellbeing Centre includes seven treatment rooms, a state-of-the-art fitness centre manned by personal trainers, a private hammam and watsu pool, and one of the most beautiful underground hotel swimming pools in the world

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About Author

Nick Walton

Nick Walton

Nick Walton is a leading travel and lifestyle journalist, magazine editor, publisher, photographer, travel commentator, and media trainer, based in Hong Kong. He is also managing editor of Artemis Communications, the titles of which include Ultimate Encounters, Alpha Men Asia, and The Art of Business Travel.

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