Green With Pride

A mid-19th century children’s hospital was converted into Hyatt Regency Amsterdam, with the design inspired by the city’s public gardens

By Vinita Bhatia

In a vibrant part of Amsterdam, a children’s hospital dating back to the mid-19th century has been reborn as Hyatt Regency Amsterdam. This is the Hyatt Hotels Corporations’ third hotel in the city, after Andaz Amsterdam and Hyatt Place Amsterdam Airport.

Architect Frits van Dongen of Van Dongen-Koschuch managed the conversion and restoration for this adaptive-reuse project very intelligently and sensitively. Acknowledging the city’s expansive and enviable foliage, the interiors are garbed in shades of green. What’s more, you cannot escape the floral and botanical artwork dotting the hotel, a silent acknowledgment to the public gardens.
The façade has been restored with glazed ceramic cladding panels in golden yellow and various green colours (a nod once again to Hortus Botanicus, the botanical garden in the city’s Plantage district) and through the striking window units, developed and produced by Royal Tichelaar. This makes the hotel stand out in a street where the government policies disallow commercial establishments from displaying any prominent signage.
Toni Hinterstoisser, cluster general manager of Hyatt Regency Amsterdam and Andaz Amsterdam explained, “Our hotel is very inspired by the Plantage Area, hence, the green accents are vital to the overall design. Open spaces and nature create a space where people can relax, while staying as authentic as possible. The Plantage area is a historical green and open destination, hence, we told our designers that we wanted to bring the neighbourhood into the hotel.”

The hotel has two F&B outlets – Mama Makan restaurant and a bar by the same name. The brightly lit restaurant has a large cage-like cabinet that encompasses bar, chef’s table and a show kitchen. The bartender whips some interesting cocktails that are infused with botanicals, spices and herbs. But the real action of the hotel takes place in the lobby.
Traditionally, lobbies in business hotels are very functional in nature. However, architects and interior designers are now transforming them into social hubs. In the case of Hyatt Regency Amsterdam, the lobby has been reconfigured as a communal space, with relaxed seating set flush against windows that look out to the street. Talking about this, Hinterstoisser said for Hyatt Regency Amsterdam this informality was a necessary element, as the brand wanted to distinguish itself from other players.
“The lobby is an extension of the guest room. Within Hyatt Regency, connections are vital. We want to create energising experiences by connecting our guests to who, and what, matters to them most. An open fluid lobby, functioning like a living room enhances the possibility to do so,” he said.
According to him, travellers today are looking for different things. They see a hotel as an extension of their total experience, not just a place to stay. Work-life balance is getting more important for these people, especially when they are on the road. “I believe people want to have choices. At Hyatt Regency Amsterdam, we want to offer this free and fluid space to our guest in a way that they decide how to use it. Nothing is forced,” Hinterstoisser added.
This explains why the lobby is an uninterrupted, flowing space with natural daylight streaming from the front and the back of the room. To give guests a relaxing feeling on crossing the threshold of the hotel, Concrete, the design company that worked on the interiors, used a combination of wood, natural tiles and soothing light fixtures. Additionally, green rugs are used in the lobby and across various seating areas, to give people a slightly outdoor-sy feeling.
Hyatt Regency Amsterdam has done a fine job of going all out to pay homage to nature. And from the design perspective, this does come like a breath of fresh air.

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