Photo Courtesy of Lloyd HotelThe Lloyd Hotel has undergone many transformations over the course of its long history. Originally built in 1921 as a luxury hotel for Europeans migrating to South America on Royal Dutch Lloyd ships, it sits comfortably on the Eastern Docklands waterfront in Amsterdam. When the hotel went bankrupt in 1935, it was used as a refugee center for Russian Jews fleeing race riots. When WWII arrived in Amsterdam however, the Germans occupied the building, and used it to detain prisoners from the resistance. Even after the Germans were ousted, the building continued to function as a prison, making history in 1965 as the first to separate juvenile delinquents from adults. The metamorphosis didn’t stop there however, during the 1990s; rooms were rented out to artists as studios. After this long and colorful past, the Lloyd Hotel earned its place as an iconic Amsterdam landmark and in 2004 was reopened as a boutique hotel. Don't you just love a hotel with an interesting history?
Over 50 designers and artists worked alongside architects MVRD to restore the hotel to its former glory. A few original aspects were retained from the old days, such as a number of the original designs along with pieces of the original tiling. The Lloyd is the first hotel in the world that has rooms ranging from one to five stars. The 117 rooms are all equipped with wifi, comfortable beds, and are “steeped in Dutch interior design traditions;” a pleasant change from the former detention cell décor, we’re sure. The one-star rooms (which don't really concern us, but for the sake of cultural enlightenment, we'll make mention of them) stay close to the 1921 design and have shared restrooms, while the five-star rooms are luxurious and each have something unique to offer, like a grand piano or a swing hanging from the rafters. Likely in order to move away from the bland prison furnishings, the Lloyd has works of art strewn about in the most unexpected places. For instance, you may find bespoke curtains obstructing your view, discover a cardboard copy of your car the morning after you’ve left it parked in the hotel garage, or come across an unframed photograph leaning against a stack of books in the library.
The Lloyd also considers itself a Cultural Embassy, putting on events that attempt to link guests and their respective cultures to their Dutch location. Mostly free, the events include art exhibits, musical performances, and speakers all seeking to educate hotel guests about the cultures of the world. The hotel also encourages guest interaction, making this exchange of ideas natural. Guests are not only provided with opportunities to explore their surroundings intellectually, but also physically, using bicycles supplied on request. The Lloyd also provides a number of guided tours, where guests are informed on the history of the building as well as served refreshments. The tours, categorized by the types of beverages or food served range from $18.82-$33.74 per person.
The Restaurant at the Lloyd features traditional French, Dutch and Southern European cuisine. The cooking team prides themselves on fresh, homegrown produce and locally sourced meats and dairy ingredients. Even the mayonnaise is made on site, something the building’s former inmates would probably kill for. There is also a vibrant red bar which, keeping with the theme of cultural enlightenment, offers Basque Country’s favorite appetizer, the pintxo during happy hour. Depending on what dates and what room you choose, prices can range anywhere from a little under $100 to over $300 a night.