Conservatorium Hotel’s previous incarnations, which include a 19th century bank and a renowned music academy, bring no shortage of historical pomp to the first member of the Set Hotels, a luxury hotel collection with the aim of restoring Europe’s grandest grande dames. But the century-old red brick building underwent a four-year restoration by Milan-based architect Piero Lissoni who worked around strict preservation regulations to sprinkle his modernist point of view across the Art Nouveau interiors: smoked American oak floors in all guestrooms, Asian-accented rugs in the common areas, and a see-through bar for the buzzy cocktail lounge.
In one of its former lives, the heritage building led the revival of Amsterdam’s once derelict Museumplein—though it’s hard to believe that the plush public square, now wreathed by some of the city’s most important institutions of art was ever scruffy. As its own tribute to a suite of illustrious neighbors, which include the Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk, and Van Gogh museums, Conservatorium Hotel showcases a wealth of artwork displayed in its 129 rooms, which double as miniature galleries. Recent collaborations include five Artist-In-Residence suites, featuring work by Dutch talents like Jasper Krabbé, known to incorporate every day materials like envelopes and wrapping paper onto his contemporary canvases, and photographer, Marie Cécile Thijs, whose arresting portraits are strongly influenced by Old Dutch Masters. Conservatorium also hosts an annual summer series that transforms the property’s light-filled lobby—a glass-encased atrium lined with recycled volcanic stone—into an airy exhibition space for local artists, and serves a decadent afternoon tea, where matcha tea tartlets and cherry blossom macarons, ornate and edible masterpieces in themselves, have been known to take visual cues from nearby exhibitions.
As its own tribute to a suite of illustrious neighbors, Conservatorium Hotel showcases a wealth of artwork displayed in its 129 rooms, which double as miniature galleries.
This neo-Gothic manse’s classical-music past is acknowledged in myriad ways too, beginning with the more obvious odes, like a whimsical violin sculpture in the historic wing, and a two-bedroom duplex Concerto Suite, kitted out with a state-of-the-art sound system and Sennhesier HD800 headphones. But there are also subtler nods to its orchestral history, such as a restaurant that occupies the site of a former percussion room. The modern Asian eatery, which dishes up a harmonious omakase menu consisting of flat Zeeland oysters with Japanese plum sauce, and king crab salad on crispy miso toast, is named for an ancient Japanese drum, the taiko.
On weekends, jazz musicians from the Conservatorium van Amsterdam, whose campus occupied the building until 2008, take the stage at the lobby lounge. Yet another example of Conservatorium’s commitment the local art scene, the hotel offers a hefty annual scholarship to some of the especially promising students, who participate in a performance competition each year.
For a change of pace, the onsite bar, Tunes, hosts a live DJ on weekends. Gin cocktails—you'll find more than 40 varieties of the botanical booze, sourced from all over the world—are tasty accompaniments to the smooth ambient tracks. If you fancy a post-prandial smoke, climb the bar’s folded steel staircase—another Lissoni touch—to arrive at the mezzanine-level cigar lounge. The sensory show continues at the Akasha Spa, home to a marble hammam and watsu pool, where a therapist performs shiatsu massage on water, making for an unforgettable grand finale to cap off your stay.
To learn more about Conservatorium Hotel please contact the hotel upon making a reservation.