However, in the evening, the restaurant comes alive. Overseen by executive chef Tim Golsteijn, a five- or seven-course chef’s menu will cost between €75 (S$116) and €100 (S$154). The food, characterised by worldly influences and the flow of seasons, is all very good. Though if any dish turns you off, the chef is always ready to please and will be more than happy to switch it out for you. Seats with front row seats of the kitchen are also available in the Chef’s Room.
The refined 16-suite hotel sells the full package: a one-Michelin-starred restaurant, whirlpool bath, steam rooms, and the luxury of quiet in the heart of Amsterdam
Dam Square in the heart of Amsterdam is undoubtedly one of the busiest areas in the Dutch capital.
Situated on the doorstep of the Royal Palace, where state soirees are held occasionally, and only a stone’s throw from major tourist attractions such as the flagship departmental store, De Bijenkorf, and Madame Tussauds, the area hosts busloads of tourists every day and can get overcrowded during peak seasons.
This is what makes Hotel TwentySeven the sanctuary that it is. A regal building just across the road from the Dam, the hotel by two-time winner Hotelier of the Year, Eric Toren, is arguably one of the most luxurious in the city.
Stepping through the arched doorway and through the metal gates, I was whisked away from the madding crowds into a haven of quiet and solitude.
Hotel TwentySeven is part of the Koninklijke Industrieele Groote Club (which translates as “Royal Grand Industrial Club”), a business and social club set within a historic building dating back to 1913.
The famous (or maybe infamous) club was built as a private meeting place for businessmen and tycoons during the Dutch boom days. The club still claims the two floors below the hotel – which takes up the third to seventh floors – and remains very private. One could try, but hotel guests won’t be allowed in.
Still, there’s plenty to explore on the four floors that house the hotel, which touts itself as “not a hotel” but a “destination”. It’s got bespoke and butler services to impress even the most critical of cynics.
I was warmly welcomed by the doorman and the concierge desk before being taken up to the third floor check-in area.
Stepping out of the lift feels like going back in time, and yet, strangely, into the future. While the exterior of the building is decidedly 19th century, the interiors by award-winning Dutch designers Wim van de Oudeweetering and Cris van Amsterdam still hold an Old-World charm. They ooze a discreet elegance in the furnishings and the opulent velvet wall coverings from Pierre Frey, and yet still have modern touches here and there.
The layout of the floor is very much like a private residence. A stairwell, from which dangles a plethora of hanging lamps that change colours, takes up most of the common space.
The check-in area is essentially a customer service desk set between the hotel’s Michelin-starred Restaurant Bougainville and The Bar; with only 16 suites there isn’t a need for more.
Each suite features very different layouts, adjusted around the existing structures, although the lavish furnishings and style of each room remain consistent.
I’m assigned the Rooftop Loft Suite on the 6th floor, a two-storey flat with two comfortable bedrooms, and escorted by a personal butler. Thank God for him. It would otherwise have been difficult to cart my heavy luggage up the narrow curved staircase.
I’m welcomed into the suite with a generous choice of coffees, speciality teas and liquors. There’s even a proper wine cooler chilling some pretty impressive labels.
The living area on the ground floor is a cosy little corner with round windows offering a view of the Palace and Dam Square. The windows have double-glazed soundproofing so you are cocooned from the outside bustle.
The designers have made full use of the odd nooks and crannies. There’s a little coffee table under the staircase and sometimes armchairs in unconventional places, but it all adds to the homely appeal of the flat.
Given Amsterdam’s slight gloomy weather, the living room probably could have done with a little more light in the evenings, but with the large bedroom upstairs, it wasn’t so much a problem for me.
The two bedrooms – a smaller one on the lower floor and a bigger, brighter one upstairs, both came en suite, with large jacuzzi bath tubs and showers that double as steam rooms. You might find the steam room handy; the hotel is too small for a spa.
Heritage buildings often present quite a lot of limitations to hotels, sometimes making it impossible to make changes to the layout or the structure. So while it was a surprise to find a whirlpool bath in the corridor to the downstairs bedroom, it added to the quaint fairy tale-like charm of the place.
Unfortunately, when upstairs in the bedroom, I found my windows facing a white wall. It’s not the greatest view, but the huge television made up for it. Everything was controllable with the tablet computer by the bed, making it almost unnecessary to roll out of bed once you’ve settled in for the night.
The one-Michelin-star Restaurant Bougainville is the only restaurant on the premises that doubles up as the breakfast room. Modest in size and though usually a quiet affair during the mornings, I was never without good company, not with huge photos of stars and models such as David Bowie and Cindy Crawford adorning the wall.