After years of designing, discussing and planning, the time has come at last: Van der Valk Zuidas is welcoming its first guests. Kristien van der Valk: ‘Everything’s coming together now.’
Five months ago, it was Adriaan van der Valk who gave us the guided tour – Kristien’s brother, who was responsible for the construction project. Of course, the unique corners and all the glass were visible then, but it was nothing compared to what it looks like now. Kristien van der Valk, who was ultimately responsible for the interiors, is happy with the result.
‘Our aim was to create a mixture of architect Wiel Arets’ industrial style on the one hand and the warm atmosphere we’re known for on the other’, explains Van der Valk. ‘I definitely think we’ve succeeded.’ She is particularly satisfied with the fifth floor, where the check-in desk, bar and à la carte restaurant are all in one open space. ‘It’s great to have a nice hotel room at your disposal, but you also want some life and activity. You can find that here. And although each area has its own particular function, there’s a certain unity to the space.’ Van der Valk Zuidas will primarily focus on business guests. ‘For example, we offer private dining for groups, meeting rooms and a conference floor.’
Although Van der Valk was able to make the final choices for the interior, she was not short of good advice. ‘There are quite a few experts in the family, haha. I was happy to make use of their knowledge and take it into account in my decisions.’ Van der Valk was also able to count on some great partnerships, with interior architect Ineke Roosen and various suppliers. ‘The good thing is that we’ve been working with most of our partners for years and ultimately, they’re best placed to give advice on the use of materials.’ While Van der Valk is happy to be welcoming guests, she has clearly enjoyed the intensive collaboration with brother Adriaan over the last few months. ‘I’ll now be joining my brother Martijn and his wife Maxime in running the hotel. Our youngest brother Koen and niece Sarah also work here.’
Van der Valk is looking forward to the guests’ arrival. ‘Of course, that’s what you’re doing it for: all of our work is now coming together. And we did a test run with the entire family yesterday, including uncles, aunts, nephews and nieces. We always do this just before an opening: We all meet up for a meal to test things out. It’s an opportunity to experience the atmosphere and see how the new team is getting on.’ It went well. ‘We were also able to test out whether all our ideas for social distancing actually worked.’ That was also given the thumbs up. ‘Of course, it’s not ideal, but I think we can still guarantee our hospitality without sacrificing on quality.’
In the next two months, July and August, the hotel will not be running at full capacity. Van der Valk: ‘We plan to build up slowly.’ This was a deliberate choice because of coronavirus. ‘We’re taking our time to ensure that our guests feel safe at a distance of 1.5 m and most of all to make sure they have a great stay.’ Even if you are not a guest, you’re welcome to take a look. ‘We aim to make this hotel something like the living room of Zuidas, where local residents are also welcome to enjoy lunch.’ For now, lunch is being served daily on the first floor until the brasserie opens in September. By the end of the summer, Amsterdam Zuidas will also have completed the landscaping work at ground level.