While this former 19th-century orphanage turned hippie hostel has slowly evolved into a four-star establishment in the past decade, its recent refurbishment by TeamV Architects and TANK Interior Design has truly transformed the listed landmark into a noteworthy hotel. And, while a park hotel concept is certainly nothing new, this one is not only the first of its kind in Amsterdam but is also actually located inside leafy Oosterpark. It’s an open, accessible space, which seamlessly merges the building’s historic character with contemporary glass, greenery, and gentle earthy hues to suit its surroundings. Following the original architect’s uncompleted floor plans, there’s a new wing with 16 spacious rooms, a new park-facing restaurant (appropriately, called PARK) and meeting spaces. A roster of events and cultural activities are hosted in the restored historic chapel, making the hotel an ideal place to meet creative locals.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Hotel Arena certainly sits pretty just outside the Canal Ring and Plantage but if you’re looking for a very central location, this probably isn’t it. That said, you should also know that congestion is currently a concern in central Amsterdam, and this puts you near enough everything without those crushing crowds.
Attractively turned out (think blonde wood, black steel, cognac leather, bare white walls) and surprisingly affordable, there are 10 room categories, from generously sized doubles to luxurious suites. Tucked away in the closet, you’ll find a kettle, instant coffee, and tea bags, and an empty minibar guests can stock themselves from a nearby supermarket (there are also some takeaway items at the lobby).
The rooms in the new wing have floor to ceiling windows and the best park views.
Attractive bathrooms feature black steel and white marble vanities and metro tiled walk-in showers with adjustable heads. The amenities (Fair Cosmethics Hair & Body Shampoo) were basic at the time of our visit, but we were told that an upgrade is in the works to bring the “choice of amenities” in line with “the expectations of our new guests."
You enter the hotel through leafy Oosterpark, up wide stone stairs, to the glass-walled park-facing reception. Down a corridor with vintage furniture and changing art exhibits on the walls, you’ll find the 24-hour reception area and a dramatic original staircase.
While there are no connecting rooms or triple/quad rooms, most can fit an extra bed. There’s a big grassy field in the adjacent park to kick a ball and a large, sand-filled playground next door, making this hotel a good choice for families.
No. But there is a tennis court that guests can use in the adjacent park (ask for rackets and balls at reception). And Oosterpark is a great place for a run.
Glass-walled pavilion-style PARK café-restaurant offers not only splendid park views but also a generous buffet breakfast table laden with fruit salad, smoked fish, sausages, grilled veg, eggs, and bacon. Should you want to satisfy your sweet tooth in the morning, there are also waffles, pancakes, poffertjes, muffins and, when we visited, chocolate mousse cake(!). For lunch and dinner, the restaurant offers a herb and vegetable-led menu inspired by the Mediterranean.
The large, wood-paneled central bar at PARK café-restaurant serves up a good selection of house cocktails, (local) beers and wine.
Recently renovated Oosterpark was originally laid out in the English garden style by landscape architect Leonard Springer. Today, it’s a popular place for locals to hang out all year round, with several playgrounds, grassy fields on which to picnic and events, including festivals, yoga classes, and boot camp sessions.
Located in a popular residential neighborhood, this hotel offers good access to Oost, Plantage, the Eastern Canal District and the Old Center on foot. Metro access is available at nearby Weesperplein and several trams stop nearby, including tram 7, which will take you to the Rijksmuseum in 10 minutes. There is an underground parking garage (€30 per day), and hip Van Moof bikes can be rented from reception (€15 per day).
Spaghetteria Oost (12-minute walk) offers that most elusive of Amsterdam finds: a moreish meal (pasta, obviously) for a palatable price. More in the mood for burgers and beer? Smokin’ Barrels (6-minute walk) is a must. For leisurely lunches or romantic Mediterranean-style dinners, seek out Elkaar (8-minute walk).
Bar Bukowski (4-minute walk) combines a cool mid-century décor with a great range of local craft beers. If you’d like something a little stronger, head to Henry’s Bar next door. Set in a former police station next to Oostpoort shopping center, artisan beer brewer Brouwerij Troost (14-minute walk) serves Double I.P.A, Smoked Porter, and Weizen along with beer-infused bar snacks that would be a crime to ignore.
WHY WE LIKE IT
Amsterdam’s first true “city park hotel” was designed to add to the Oosterpark landscape, and beautifully succeeds in combining contemporary hospitality with a historic and highly unusual setting.