Music and history at the American Hotel
TEXT: MAYA WITTERS | PHOTOS © THE AMERICAN HOTEL
The American Hotel has been an Amsterdam landmark for more than 100 years. Now, a few changes are afoot, as the establishment gears up to become the Netherlands’ first Hard Rock Hotel in 2020. It’s a logical choice, according to general manager Claire van Campen: “Music has always played a central part in the American Hotel’s history.”
The beautiful Art Deco building at Leidseplein has not only been receiving guests since 1902, it has also served as a central meeting spot for Amsterdammers. Many locals have stories of first dates or special celebrations at its iconic Café Americain. Understandably, some of these long-time patrons might be concerned about the adoption of the Hard Rock brand, but it’s a perfect match for the American Hotel, explains van Campen.
“The Hard Rock brand puts great stock in the individuality of the hotel. Their support has made it possible to restore historic elements of the building. The lobby, for example, was remodelled in the 70s in a style that isn’t in keeping with the rest of the hotel. We are now restoring it to its original Art Deco style, with wood floors and a mahogany reception desk.”
The musical element, too, will only reinforce the hotel’s historic character. “Since we are located right between some of Amsterdam’s foremost music venues, we have been lucky to welcome hundreds of musicians throughout the years. Our former barman, who has now retired, made a habit of taking photographs of all these artists. The photos, of which there are now more than 200, grace the walls of our bar.”
The music in the hotel is, of course, nailed down to the last detail. In the bar, music is picked according to the present guests, while the lobby and café have playlists adapted to the time of day to evoke a certain atmosphere.
The Hard Rock brand will also serve to enhance the already unique style of each hotel room. All the rooms are being fitted with underfloor heating and rain showers in the bathrooms, as well as new furniture. In addition to current services like Nespresso machines in each room, guests will be able to borrow a record player or even a guitar once the Hard Rock brand is adopted. The American Hotel, in short, will make you feel like a rock star.