Our one-night stay in Rotterdam was entirely my idea, something I had to convince Teko to sign onto since, as I correctly expected, he had no desire to spend hotel money in a city he used to call home. With some exerted effort he said yes, after which we were quickly booked for a Saturday night’s stay, something that I looked forward to and was very curious about. An evening in Rotterdam hasn’t happened since we moved to Amsterdam almost 10 years ago, and the idea of staying in what I considered the city’s most interesting hotel in the city’s most attractive neighborhood sounded promisingly memorable. The moment came soon enough, and on a beautiful, sunny day, we stepped in front of the check-in desk, surrounded by memories of the building’s past as headquarters for the Holland America Line, and settled in. One less item off my long ‘if only’ list.
We were sent one floor up, in a room with one of the highest ceilings I can remember, slightly dark, and sadly with no view to speak of. Outside our tall windows all we could see was a narrow vertical space showing the skylight of the room below it and windows of other rooms, which made our room feel rather constricting. It was well-ventilated and, though not a fan of leather furniture and chrome, the nautical-theme gave it some character. There was the nice surprise of a bath for Teko that I hoped made up for his initial hesitation but the porthole window on the bathroom door and a rounded sink were just victims of over-design – one could easily spy someone doing their business on the toilet and the sink was too narrow to be useful when face-washing was called for. Breakfast the next morning was just okay, saved in large part by the setting – it was at the always busy, very characteristic restaurant where a window-side table offered unique views to the water and surrounding real estate, all quite magnetic.
It’s a historic building no doubt, with a lot of shadowy corners that are likely full of hidden stories – though since the travel industry is on its knees right now it could be they’re just trying to save money on electricity. The one night we spent was long enough to find out what made the hotel was made of, an itch has been scratched and a curiosity satisfied. Hotel New York state of mind no longer.