Since the beginning of the 21st century, the lodging industry has become increasingly over-supplied with big monopolies of hotel brands. Nevertheless, travellers nowadays expect more than simply comfort and convenience. An increasing number of travellers prefer to be “surprised”. When planning trips, they seek properties that are noticeably different in look and feel from branded hotels. Boutique hotels are believed to have been invented in the early 1980s. Two of the first boutique hotels in the world opened its doors to the public in 1981. In 2016 the following primary features of boutique hotels, are all about architecture and design style. The distinction, warmth, and intimacy are keywords in the architecture and design of boutique hotels. Boutique hotels are not boxed into standards; the definition and expression of a theme is a crucial path to success. Today I am introducing you to The Dylan Amsterdam where I stayed as part of Luxury Month Amsterdam, a hotel that fits perfectly in the boutique category.
The 40 room Dylan Amsterdam opened its doors in 1999 and it is situated within the “grachtengordel”, the city’s central canal-belt, and is just a stone throws away from Amsterdam’s most interesting shopping district, called “The Nine Streets” (“De Negen straatjes”). This area of 9 streets is full of quirky shops and wonderful eateries. The Dylan is located on the Keizersgracht, which is one of the three circular canals in Amsterdam. Whilst at the Dylan make sure to visit some historic canal homes, which are stunning, I managed to see a historic house at Museum van Loon, a 10-minute walk.
Right from the moment I entered this historical hotel, I knew I was going to experience modern European luxury at it’s best. The interior design within this hotel was exquisite and for me the perfect place to showcase my photography skills. What I noticed during my stay was lots of people taking photos of the hotel or themselves within the hotel setting. So don’t be afraid guys to dress up.
There were so many places to sit around at The Dylan and each one had a very different feel. One of the reception rooms which had a long table can be booked for a private dining event for up to 14 people, with Michelin starred restaurant Vinkeles serving the food. I used this room to work in during the day as it inspired me, to continue my quest in the world of luxury, this is one of the reasons I just love Boutique-hotels. My favourite photoshoot time was The Dylan’s Living Room, a great place to get some Haute Couture images.
The Dylan Amsterdam’s living room had a nice open fire and huge mirrors, this is a great area to chill out in when the weather is bad. It had a fantastic warm feel about it. The living room was connected to the Bar and Brasserie Occo, which I was going to try for lunch later. At the other end of the bar was the entrance to restaurant Vinkeles which was also the breakfast area.
Outside was a lovely courtyard with tables and chairs, and this is a great place to eat and have a drink from the outside cocktail bar.
If you are into fashion photography the Dylan is perfect for photoshoots, on a fashion and lifestyle point of view there are so many Haute Couture themes you could produce within this boutique hotel, my creative juices were running on overdrive.
Serendipity Collection – Unexpected Good Fortune
I was given a Junior Suite with canal views from the Serendipity collection. The rooms in the Serendipity collection were renovated in partnership with Remy Meijers, a well known Dutch interior designer. The suite was 45 m² in size and on entering I instantly fell in love with the different shades of browns. The queen bed was very comfortable and I adored the bed linen with its silk patterns. The lighting within the room was very romantic and the huge windows were lovely for me to look out onto the canal.
The room had a cosy feel to it and the artwork and decor were simple but powerful. I liked the Bose stereo, it suited the room and it was great listening to, whilst drinking a glass of red. The mini bar had a wealth of choices for me to choose from. The wooden floor throughout the room was just stunning and added to the warm overall feel. I adored the huge light not far from the bed, which made it feel like a home away from home. The working desk was excellent and with as much coffee at hand, I started my working day early with a nice fresh brew.
I liked how The Dylan had fresh orchids and flowers within the room and also in all parts of the hotel. The different mixtures of textiles, wood and fabrics gave my room a real sense of luxury. I had a brilliant sleep and even though you’re right in the hub of things, it was amazingly quiet.
I am a lover of big luxury baths especially ones that are all about natural marble, and I was not disappointed here. The bathroom layout was massive and very relaxing.
My room was a great example of boutique hotels, which introduce different themes in each guestroom, making every single stay unique so even return guests can have a different experience.
I was shown two suites, the first one was the duplex style Jacob van Kampen suite which is also part of the Serendipity collection. This suite had a 20 feet high ceilings with massive windows overlooking the canal. The bedroom area was upstairs and provided a good view of the good-sized living area. Once again a perfect example of boutique hotels.
The other signature suite I was shown was called The Dylan Thomas Suite which came with its own private access. This more colonial style suite overlooked the hotel’s courtyard.
Bar Brasserie OCCO
The Dylan had just introduced the new all-day Bar Brasserie OCCO, which is a stylish yet a casual alternative to the Dylan’s Michelin Star restaurant Vinkeles. This was a perfect way to spend my summer Sunday afternoon, sitting in the secluded garden in front of the Dylan. The clientele here varied and I also noticed a lot of local people were eating here which is always a good sign. In fact, a lot of passers-by were turned away, so make sure you book your Sunday lunch here otherwise you won’t get a table.
I noticed one couple eating here and he brought in a huge bouquet of flowers, which reflected the atmosphere of the restaurant. This was an excellent example of luxury experiences in 2016, where guests feel at home. The menu was small which kept things very simple. I was impressed by the endless attention to details throughout the servings and this is why I would definitely recommend dining here. I could see by the locals eating here that it was certainly a favourite pass time for them. The following dishes were chosen by me and the flavours were fresh, exotic and very tasty.
The breakfast setting was very stylish and it was situated in an old bakery, I noticed the old ovens in the wall. The food selection and presentation were of a very high standard. There were plenty of healthy options available. For me, breakfast starts with a good coffee and I was impressed with my cappuccino, strong and hot. The fresh juices were different and I chose a beetroot juice which was refreshing. For speciality tea fans out there make sure to try the Bali tea.
Although no standard definition of boutique hotels has been agreed upon, and the sizes of these types of hotels vary considerably, most boutique hotels do share some common characteristics. As with any other hospitality product, the success stories of boutique properties begin with fundamentals such as location, product quality, market demand and a clearly defined marketing approach. In light of these factors, boutique hotel creators detach their creations from what we have known in the past regarding standard hotels. The attention to detail in the Dylan Amsterdam was superb, the showcasing of fresh flowers that blend into this timeless luxury stay was why it is one of my favourite boutique hotels to date. This hotel is individual, it is rooted in Amsterdam’s history, and is located in a great central area. The rooms were so inviting and homely that I never wanted to leave. If you’ve never stayed in a boutique hotel before, then The Dylan Amsterdam is a perfect way to embrace the concept. For people familiar with boutique hotels, you will not be disappointed.
- Room reviewed: Junior Suite – Serendipity Style
- Website: dylanamsterdam.com
- Address: Keizersgracht 384, 1016 GB Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Phone: +31 20 530 2010