Discover Benelux, Issue 31, July 2016

Page 16

Discover Benelux | Amsterdam Highlights | Dam & Nieuwmarkt

TOP LEFT: Abaca Corporate:Barbara Zonzin TOP RIGHT: Abaca Corporate: Barbara Zonzin RIGHT: Ewout Huibers BOTTOM RIGHT: Ewout Huibers

‘Where stories are yet to be written’ Hospitality 2.0 TEXT: EMMIE COLLINGE

A boutique hotel that is part of one of the world’s largest chains might raise eyebrows, but the bracingly new INK Hotel Amsterdam from Mgallery by Sofitel in the Dutch capital has won over locals and tourists alike with its refreshingly hip take on hospitality. First opened in June 2015 after a fine renovation by Concrete Amsterdam, the repurposed former publishing house draws design cues from its heritage, with a sleek, bold aesthetic, tastefully positioned typewriters as well as aptly chosen materials such as brass and wood. “Hence the name INK Hotel,” interjects Moreno Forte, the hotel’s amiable director of sales and marketing. “Originally the HQ of the Dutch national newspaper De Tijd, newspapers were written and printed in this very building. Now it is a place where stories are yet to be written.” The 149 rooms to suit six different budgets are tidy and fresh, with standalone marble baths and a ton of heart-stealing features. But it is this hotel’s superb amicability that enraptures guests: staff are on first name terms and there is an open-plan lobby, 16 | Issue 31 | July 2016

deliberately chosen instead of a standard reception. Staff have an insatiable appetite to organise events like the weekly Tuesday Juiceday, where cold-pressed juices and inventive healthy salads are the order of the day and the monthly Thirstday (‘come thirsty, leave happy’). Forte explains their new approach to hospitality: “All of this is to listen to the stories of our guests to make their experience a lot more personal.” Given that Amsterdam is not short on boutiques, swish cafés and trendsetting designer wares, the Sofitel hotel chain had a task on their hands when it came to INK and its Pressroom restaurant and terrace. Clearly chosen the right path, with a host of awards heaped on them and an ever-growing clientele list with 300 international guests most nights of the week. “INK Hotel Amsterdam has a unique interpretation of time and hospitality. Most of us have seen half the world already so when we do travel, we look for something unique. We are not easily pleased and sometimes called picky,” he continues

with a wry smile, “but when I first walked into INK, my initial reaction was: WOW – this is hospitality 2016.” At the time of writing, the close-knit team were waiting for the result on 23 June of the Dutch Hotel Awards 2016, “the ‘Oscars’ of the hotel world”. Forte explains that the nomination alone confirms what a beautiful story they have written over the past year.

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