If you’re looking for a cultural and historical experience as well as a comfortable place to stay in Amsterdam the Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy is definitely the place for you. However strange it is to know that your room may have been occupied by prisoners, this building’s history is as appealing as its wonderfully creative interior design.
Since its construction in the 1920s as a hotel for migrants waiting to board the ships of the Royal Dutch Lloyd, the Lloyd ‘lived’ the history of the 20th century. It served as a refugee camp for Jewish people in the late 30s, a German occupied detention center in the 40s and a youth prison for nearly 30 years from the 60s onwards and until 2001 it was a living and working space for local artists. Lucky for us, the brushstrokes of these artists have left as many marks in the interior of the building as the decades of being used as a prison.
In order to restore the building to its original purpose as a hotel, the dutch architectural firm MVRDV was commissioned and in 2004, after major renovations, the Lloyd Hotel was successfully mutated from a youth prison to a ‘one to five star’ hotel and Cultural Embassy. The interior design of the common areas and suites was a collaborative effort of over 40 interior designers and artists, among others, Claudy Jongstra, Atelier van Lieshout, Christoph Seyferth, Ineke Hans, and Richard Hutten.
The Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy was the first one-to-five star design hotel in the world offering a home to travellers of all classes. The rooms are rated according to design, size and comfort but the common areas are shared amongst all guests fostering a rich cultural experience.
In addition to being beautifully designed (they have Richard Hutten to blame for that), the Cafè-Restaurant has a great menu with simple, yet very well executed, french and southern european dishes. With friendly staff, affordable prices and a lovely Terrace during the summer this is one of Amsterdam’s nicest spots.
The Cultural Embassy promotes exhibitions, conferences and other events which are open to all guests and the local community. There is even a permanent exhibition ‘Lloyd History’ tells the story of past through old photographs, a 1928 video, documents and other objects. Even if you’re not a guest at the hotel, this place is definitely worth a visit!