Interview general manager of Canal House Amsterdam
Tonight the official opening of the Canal House will take place. The Hunters were invited earlier by the General Manager of Canal House for a tour and diner in the Hotel. During a delicious diner we interviewed the General Manager. Following the result of the interview.
What did you do before you started working for Canal House?
I’m working in the hotel industry for years. I worked for many different hotels, from hotels with 100 rooms till hotels with 900 rooms. Experience I have in all areas, from openings, till carpentry. I opened about 7 new hotels, some of them got expanded or transformed to new formats. Most of the experience I took up in Shanghai were I lived for 7 years. I started in Shanghai when the disease SARS started. In the beginning it was a hell of a time, the rooms were covered on average for only 5 %. People were afraid to go outside, to travel. Fortunately, this changed and ended fantastic a couple of years later. In Shanghai the openings of the hotels are very extravagant. Nothing is crazy enough.If you want a successful opening it is important to be extravagant. For one of the openings we build a ski on the stairs and showes professionnal skiers jumped in the hallway of the hotel.
What I really liked about working in all different kind of hotels is the diversity. Stressfull it always is, but all for different reasons. Reasons are because the size of the hotel and the corresponding big team to take care of. For smaller hotels the details are really important, and different opinions to keep in mind. All these experience were useful for my new challenge: Canal House.
We are very happy with the results and are glad to hear all the positive feedback. We took quite a risk, because we openend the hotel immediately after the rebuiling without a practice period first. It lasted three years to renovate and transform the hotel and we are still not ready. The garden needs to be contructed. The idea is to build a terrace, a special place where the guests can have a lunch or afternoon drinks, a quiet place in the middele of the centre of Amsterdam. The transformation was a difficult project because of the old building. We wanted to keep as many as possible of the characteristic parts of the building.
The hotel is a combination of modern and characteristic parts, could you tell us a little bit more about the design?
Canal House is located in the cultural centrum of Amsterdam. The buidling and the neigborhood are breathing history. We wanted to keep this in hour. The building is beautiful with al the characterisctic parts, it was important to keep the same structure. These parts are reflected in the mirrors, the ceiling and paintings from the previous hotel. Besides the characteristic parts the design is trendy. There is a lot of design in the hotel. The combination of both styles and the choice of the colors black and purple (colors you see everywhere from chairs till ties and clothing of the staff) create a glamorous and modern look. These colors radiate warmth. The guests need to feel home and need to be comfortable. Another part of the hotel, in which you see the combination between modern and tradition are the rooms. The rooms have the authentic fire places, and in the same time their is an open bathroom with the consists of the latest designs. For the interieur of the hotel we worked together with Concreet and collaborations with designers like Marcel Wanders and Moooi design (for the lightning), Vitra (for the furniture).
Canal Hous is a hotel but is it also possible (for people not staying in the hotel) to have dinner of have a drink at the bar?
Absolutly, that’s the approach. The bar and lounge are open for everybody. The bar and the bar area isn’t very big, so we prefer not to have large groups. Also te keep it cozy and domestic. The bar is a perfect place for a cocktail or coffee. It is possible to arrange a party or a event for a large group but then you have to rent the bar and lounge.
We just had a delicious diner. Could you tell us more about the kitchen, food and menu?
First of all we choose to build a open kitchen. Guest are passing by the kitchen to go to their rooms, so they could have a view in the kitchen. The policy of our kitchen and menu is different comparing many restaurants and hotels. Many guests travelled a long time before the arrive in the hotel. Many guests suffer from a jet lag, they feel like it’s morning while it’s evenening. At that time the only thing you want to eat is just a simple sandwich, in a lot of hotels is eating a sandwich not possible in Canal House is it. We have one menu, which is available the whole day. About the food. Healthy, fresh and organic ingredients are the keywords. The dishes all are inspired by the local products, with an European touch.
Spread the word, Canal House is open, feel free to come inside to have a look, a drink or a dinner in our restaurant.