Amsterdam Design Report: Conservatorium Hotel, Part 2

Irwin Weiner ASID - When talking about interior design influences, it's important to give full props to "hotel style." Boutique design hotels innovate decor and heavily influence residential design, so staying at Amsterdam's beautiful Conservatorium Hotel was a luxurious treat and a bit of spying into designer Piero Lissoni's vision for home decoration. Yesterday's post covered the impressive public spaces. Remember the soaring lobby courtyard? The glass shelves that displayed contemporary design books and groupings of white Dutch ceramic pottery surrounded the tops of trees poking up into the lobby. I explored underground to see where the trees were planted. The answer: in the gym, with a great view of indoor nature from the treadmills!

While downstairs, I explored the world-class Akasha spa. As I indicated yesterday, many of the doors are clad with the same stone as the walls, and they were so heavy to open, but what a stylish detail! The pool area is famous in the design community. It's a blue water gem, bordered by a living wall of tropical plants. The air was hot and humid, perfect for relaxing after a massage. Jay and I indulged in a massage the afternoon we arrived in the hotel; pure bliss, and we relaxed in a darker waiting area just off poolside, looking at bubbling fountains, drinking water and tea, and picking at bowls of mango, strawberries, and prunes.

One spa treatment we were curious about (maybe during our next visit) was the Watsu pool. You float in the pool, guided by a therapist who helps you relax. It sounded like a rebirthing process, very primal and emotional. But we just loved the room, filled with a shallow pool facing a cascading waterfall wall and closed off by Japanese-style sliding doors.

Outside the spa area, I spied a lovely cascading chandelier in the area outside the public restrooms. The fixture hung over a round marble "fountain table," with little bubbling spurts of water around the edges and floating flowers.

And speaking of chandeliers, the elevator lobby inside the original music academy building housing the guest rooms boasted a lovely violin-LED chandelier, a wink and a nod to the building's former life. Note the arches - there were arches everywhere and beautiful tiling in the hallways.

Finally, let's talk about our room. It was an unusual two-story suite. The bottom floor had a wall of LED-lit closets next to the master bath. The glassed-in bathing area had a soaking tub next to the shower area, an unusual combo, and a mirror featuring a built-in TV.

There was also a seating area with a contemporary sofa and the same kind of super-low-rise coffee tables we found so charming in the lobby. A writing desk and a large TV completed the scene. Here's the view from the room's second floor balcony. Note the two-story blackout drapes and shades, both motorized, and our view of the lobby. 

Underneath the stairs going to the upper-level bedroom was a Dutch tableau, tongue in cheek, of wooden shoes and pottery, mirrored upstairs by a collection of Delft pottery plates hanging on the wall. In a starkly modern suite, these fun touches added warmth and a strong sense of place.

I really liked the sense of style in the hotel. From the lobby to the rooms, the upholstered furniture was kept extremely simple and minimal. There were no "designer patterns" on any of the furnishings. Perhaps a pop of color, but mostly brown and gray and beige. And comfortable, above all else. You'll see up in the bedroom that the furnishings were also minimal and zen-like. A yellow metal valet, an orange wing-back chair, and a red night table were accents in an otherwise neutral room with stone and cream walls, simple monochromatic bed linens, and a long wooden bench on the other side of the beds, perfect for spreading out all our "stuff." And another TV (three in the suite in all, plus four phones - one in the main bath, one in the upstairs bath, one by the beds, and one on the desk). There are one-level hotel rooms at The Conservatorium and much posher suites than ours, but we really enjoyed our stay. It was always a wonderful and stylish place to come home to after long days spent exploring Amsterdam.