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When we talk about the places we call ‘special stays’, we mean those places that fill you with as much excitement as the actual location you’re travelling to. That was the case with Hotel de Windketel. I was already looking forward to returning to Amsterdam after more than a decade away from the city I’d loved in my late teens. And when I laid eyes on this unique hotel in the city, my heart was set on it.
A unique hotel in Amsterdam
The Hotel de Windketel is a beautiful apartment housed in a little freestanding octagonal brick tower that used to house a giant copper kettle for the waterworks. When the old factory and all its buildings were being converted in the 90s, a group of creative residents decided they wanted to make use of the little building they all looked out onto. They established a co-op, hired an architect and finally opened in 2003. The result is an ingenious little hotel located in one of Amsterdam’s most interesting and up-and-coming districts.
Dutch design hotel
The star of the Hotel de Windketel is its design. The first architect who worked on it, Paul Westerman, came up with a crafty design that converted the little tower into a 48-square-meter three-storey dwelling. There’s a kitchen, dining area and WC on the bottom floor, a lounge on the second, and a bedroom with en-suite bath and WC on the top floor. Every space is meticulously thought out from the built-in bath tub to the spiral staircase, and the way the doors fold open to maximise space. From the outside, you may think it tiny, but inside feels spacious and light. It’s also very cosy with underfloor heating on the ground floor.
Focus on sustainability
The whole place was renovated and refurnished in 2013 to make it more sustainable and up-to-date. The owners are dedicated to Dutch design and the Hotel de Windketel is decorated with impeccable style. I like this line on the hotel’s website: “We continue to refresh the interior with the work of young and older Dutch designers, just because we enjoy it.” This sense of love and passion for the project really comes through when you’re in the hotel and adds to the pleasure of staying there – you feel a part of something special.
The Westerpark area of Amsterdam
Another thing we enjoyed about the Windketel is its location in Westerpark, a quiet little area best known for its huge park on the site of Amsterdam’s old gasworks. It’s an exciting site of reclamation and is now filled with all sorts of creative events from concerts to fashion shows to food markets. The gasworks building itself is an interesting cultural attraction with a cinema, theatre, TV studios, restaurants, bars and cafes.
The waterworks area where the Hotel de Windketel stands is across the street from the gasworks, and is known as the ‘Eco neighbourhood’ and is a proud car-free zone. The hotel is in the centre of an space called the Watertorenplein (Water Tower Square) and can be easily identified by its tall space-like white water tower that stands next to the Windketel. The square is a quiet residential area that’s also home to Cafe Restaurant Amsterdam, a popular restaurant housed in the converted former pumping station of the waterworks. The architecture of the restaurant, with its high ceiling and huge windows, is a fantastic setting for a meal, or you can also sit outside beside the canal. It’s interesting imagining how these buildings used to provide the city’s water. The Windketel itself, built in 1897, was there to regulate the pressure as the water was pumped through the station from the reservoirs.
The Jordaan area of Amsterdam is also only a short 10-minute walk away from the Windketel and there’s a tram stop right outside. Tram number 10 can take you to all the major sites as well as the Central Station.
The Hotel de Windketel is the perfect candidate for our Special Stays series and we loved every little detail. We highly recommend it for a unique stay in Amsterdam where you can bask in Dutch design while getting to know an area outside of the main tourist hub, while still being close enough for it to be convenient. It’s an ideal weekend break.
How to book a stay at Hotel de Windketel
You can book your stay at Hotel de Windketel online. Friendly Liesbeth is the main point of contact in the co-op and will show you in when you arrive and tell you about the area. It €325 for a two-night weekend stay or €375 for a three-night long weekend. A cheaper option is to stay mid-week Monday-Friday for four nights at €375.
Address: Watertorenplein 8c 1051 PA Amsterdam Netherlands
Other places to stay in Amsterdam
For some more budget options in the city, check out this list of the best hostels in Amsterdam by my good friend Kash at the Budget Traveller.
If you’re planning a trip, don’t miss our useful travel planning tips pages, based on over 15 years’ experience travelling.