Hamish Kilburn, Editor of Hotel Designs, takes the complimentary ferry across the harbour from Amsterdam Central to explore Amsterdam Noord, an emerging neighbourhood that is home to YOTEL Amsterdam, where stylish hospitality thrives…
While the city of Amsterdam is famous, among other things, for its iconic architecture – the wafer-thin canal houses are truly a fusion of rich history, innovation and cultural diversity – there’s more to destination’s vibrant hospitality scene beyond its postcard-perfect scenes.
In recent years the city has experienced a dynamic urban landscape transformation, with one corner of the city seeing, perhaps, the biggest change. Amsterdam Noord is a ‘playground’ of hip bars, festivals and it is even home to Europe’s tallest swing, which suspended atop A’DAM Tower. The area, which feels distinctly local when walking around, is an ever-evolving cultural hub. This is why, in 2019, it became the perfect location for YOTEL to drop its first city hotel in the Netherlands.
The 202-key waterfront hotel sits in what feels like a rustic neighbourhood – not too dissimilar to Shoreditch in London 15 years ago. “From the offset, the local community stressed the demand for more green spaces and hospitality venues,” said Dirk Dekker from the B-Corp Amsterdam-based developer, Being. “We wanted our design [of YOTEL Amsterdam] to reflect those needs.”
Under the watchful eye of Being, the design of the hotel was undertaken by Amsterdam-based architecture studio, Studioninedots, which was keen to ensure that the architecture and the interior design scheme – conceived in collaboration with Toronto-based DesignAgency – connected in a playful language.
On the outside, YOTEL Amsterdam blends into its industrial setting. Its façade is made up of titanium-coloured recycled aluminium panels where their colour and composition create an ever-changing display of light and shadow – it reminds me of a rubix cube.
Inside, after a seamless check-in experience (with members on the team close by in case ‘self check-in’ is not your thing), guests arrive into what I would describe the heart of the hotel, the public area, which shelters a spirited vibe. “We designed the hotel as five different, interconnected volumes in a park-like setting,” said the designers from Studioinesdots. “Varying in height, function and atmosphere, they are concentrated around a series of courtyards.”
The design scheme, which feels relaxed and extremely comfortable throughout, is deeply rooted into the fabrics of the city, while it also effortlessly reflects the major transformation that the area is undergoing. Nowhere in the hotel is this more apparent than in its restaurant, Deck, which was refurbished in spring 2023. Despite the space not needing to try too hard against the harbour backdrop, the interiors feel at one with its location. Under an exposed ceiling, the restaurant is layered with a contemporary lighting scheme together with blue and white accented tiles that help to frame the open kitchen.
For a lifestyle brand to really flourish in the competitive hotel design arena, it has to offer something new. In YOTEL’s case, new comes in the form of its future-facing guestroom design. YOTEL’s cabins, as they are commonly referred to, are meticulously designed to maximise space utilisation without compromising on comfort and style.
The design ethos of these rooms is entrenched in a minimalist and functional approach – but that doesn’t mean they can’t also be stylish and fun. The colour palette in YOTEL rooms often revolves around soothing neutrals, mixed with the brand’s go-to purple hue, creating a serene atmosphere that contributes to a relaxing guest experience. However, it is the incorporation of high-tech adaptable lighting controls that make these rooms enjoyable to be in.
For a brand that is known for looking into the future, taking risks and projecting new ideas that make business and hospitality sense, Amsterdam Noord is the perfect location for YOTEL Amsterdam – a hotel that, through colour and design, answers to a different rhythm in the city of Amsterdam.
Main image credit: YOTEL