The big trip

Hotel The Noblemen, Amsterdam review: innovative design meets old world charm

A boutique canal house that turns Dutch history into a luxury experience

Opened in 2021, Hotel The Noblemen takes its name to heart and has an interior that demonstrates serious artistic flair. It’s all down to the opulent and stylistically unabashed vision of Dutch designer Stef van der Bijl, who has a reputation for restoring and repurposing antique and industrial objects to suit a luxury environment. 

Each of the 13 rooms that make up this 17th century boutique Amsterdam canal house, which overlooks the Leidsegracht, is dedicated to a different seminal character from the Dutch Golden Age. Ornate, elaborate and fabulously imaginative, each room is a super luxurious cabinet of curiosities, equipped with a giant and exquisitely handcrafted leather-bound four poster bed, constructed on site due to the narrow dimensions of the staircase. There’s no lift here, but this only adds to the authenticity of the stay – the house’s first owner was a marble merchant called Isaac Foucquier, so every squeak and creak is a reminder of the rich ancestry that permeates every corner of this historic building. In fact, part of the ground floor space is still clad in Foucquier’s original marble slabs. 

Inside magical rooms 

Staying at Hotel The Noblemen is an education in the visionary thinking that helped to shape the modern world. It’s also a lot of fun. 

The Rembrandt van Rijn signature room, a grand suite on the third floor overlooking the canal, is a wooden wonder room with oak panelled floors and an original timber-beamed ceiling. One corner has been designed as a tribute to the artist who apparently painted at least five people connected to this property. This creative nook features a deconstructed self-portrait montage and a glass-encased taxidermy pheasant – a nod to one of the painter’s favourite still life subjects. A tobacco-coloured leather sofa and a gleaming standalone brass bath complete this decadent and whimsical interior along with light fixtures cast in the shape of paint palettes.

The Noblemen hotel Amsterdam

The Rembrandt van Rijn signature room

Even more unusual is the Herman Boerhaave room dedicated to the namesake physician, botanist and scientist who was dubbed the “Dutch Hippocrates”. It features luxurious floral brocade armchairs, an ornate black marble fireplace, a standalone brass bath and antique oak furniture as well as some more unconventional additions, including a full-size metal skeleton in a glass display cabinet and a miniature herb garden at the foot of the bed. This is the only room with garden which has another bath for romantic hot soaks in winter. 

Those passionate about naval history should stay in the Michiel de Ruyter room, named after the most famous admiral in Dutch history who valiantly fought the English and French during the Anglo-Dutch wars. The centrepiece is a giant antique replica of de Ruyter’s ship which took more than 40 years to complete. The maritime theme extends to a boat-shaped bath and a large “captain’s wardrobe” which opens thanks to a mechanism installed in a large wooden ship’s wheel that fastened to its doors. The only snag is that you and your guest may squabble over who gets to be the helmsman. 

Other names that decorate the doors include pharmacist, zoologist and collector Albertus Seba; prolific arms traders Louys and Hendrick Trip; explorer/seafarer Abel Janszoon Tasman, after whom Tasmania in named; and physicist/astronomer Christiaan Huygens, who was the first to discover the rings surrounding Saturn. Each door opens up into richly decorated and dedicated space full of intriguing artefacts, antiques and bespoke furnishings that encourage the mind to wander. 

The Noblemen Hotel Amsterdam

The Albertus Seba signature room

Why stay here 

Apart from immersing yourself in history, The Noblemen has a decadent breakfast menu. The food is delivered to your door since there is only one small communal area on the ground floor for coffee. It’s no flaw: staff carry up large ebony trays crammed with delicacies; a baroque feast of fresh pastries, exotic fruits, eggs, bacon, and miniature sugar-dusted pancakes, along with silverware filled with freshly ground coffee. It’s hard to leave the place, especially when you discover that the hotel has a small spa complete with sauna and Turkish hammam.

What to do 

Located in the middle of the picturesque De 9 Straatjes (9 Streets) noted for its unusual independent boutiques, cafes and eateries, you won’t struggle for things to do. The hotel also has great taste when it comes to fine dining recommendations: links to top eateries Cecconi’s, Vinkeles and the Lion Noir all feature on the hotel’s website for easy booking.

Hotel The Noblemen, Leidsegracht 14, 1016 CK Amsterdam, Netherlands; hotelthenoblemen.com

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