TRAVEL - INTERVIEW
Wednesday, February 6, 2019
Robbert van Rijsbergen
TRAVEL - INTERVIEW
by Melisa Kaya
The historic building dating back to 1613 is home to The Dylan Amsterdam. Due to the unfortunate events experienced over time, only the main entrance gate maintains its historic form, but it has lost nothing of its historical spirit. With its carefully decorated 40 rooms and suites, The Dylan Amsterdam offers a very special atmosphere. During their stay, guests can make use of the concierge service on every occasion and enjoy the advantages of being in one of the most beautiful places in Amsterdam. In addition to all this, guests can live gastronomic experiences at the Michelin-starred restaurant Vinkeles. I talked with Robbert van Rijsbergen, Director of Sales and Marketing at The Dylan Amsterdam, to learn more about The Dylan Amsterdam.
Robbert, before talking about The Dylan Amsterdam, could you tell us about yourself and your career?
I studied Hotel Management in The Hague after which I started my career in Shanghai during the World Expo in 2010 there. After that I moved back to Amsterdam for some 3,5 years, working for a 5* palace hotel. I then decided to move to Brazil, and worked for luxury travel consortia Virtuoso there for some 3.5 years. I had a great time in Brazil, managing Virtuoso’s membership, and working on marketing, event and professional development projects. I moved back in August of 2017 to join The Dylan Amsterdam. What I love about working for The Dylan is that we have a lot of freedom, as we are independent and can take big and small decisions quickly, which makes it a very dynamic environment.
The Dylan Amsterdam
The history of the building that hosts The Dylan Amsterdam dates back to 1632. Please tell us about your building and its location.
The site of The Dylan is one of the most historic locations in Amsterdam. It all goes back to the year 1613, when construction workers began excavating the fifth canal, the ‘’Keizersgracht”. Five years later a wooden building was constructed and a theatre was founded in the building, called the “Duytsche Academie”. In 1632, the architect Jacob van Campen was commissioned to build a stone theatre. In this theatre performances as Gijsbreght van Aemstel were played. On the 100th anniversary of the theatre, in the year 1737, it was Antonio Vivaldi himself who conducted the theatre’s orchestra. Many well-known guests visited the theatre, including the Prince of Orange, the Russian Tsar and the Elector of Brandenburg.
The building caught fire in 1772 and completely burned down. Only the present ’’Van Campen’s’’ doorway (main entrance gate) was spared and reminds us today of this location’s rich history. In 1773 the site was sold to one of the Regents of the Roman Catholic Church charities, known as the Old & Poor People’s office. This foundation retained ownership until 1998, when the building was completely renovated and reopened as Hotel Blakes. In 2004, the luxury boutique hotel changed from name to The Dylan Amsterdam.
What do you enjoy most about your building?
The most special part is for me are the people inside the building. The building itself has lots of great stories and rich history, tied to the Dutch Golden Age but what really makes me smile every single day are the many engaged colleagues.
The Dylan Amsterdam - Front Courtyard
Could you tell us about The Dylan Amsterdam and the overall concept?
The Dylan Amsterdam is a privately owned five-star boutique hotel on the prestigious Emperors canal. The hotel is recognized for its contemporary meets classic design, personal service and as a beloved destination of those who appreciate quality. It’s a true boutique feeling, we don’t use any hallway signage and every guest is greeted personally at the door.
The Dylan Amsterdam has four different room styles. Could you tell us about your rooms and their features?
The Dylan Amsterdam consists of 40 rooms and suites, all individually designed in four different styles and hand painted in a variety of colours.
The Dylan Amsterdam - Amber Room
The Amber rooms and suites are the newest addition to the hotel and designed by Studio Linse (studiolinse.com). Amber is inspired by the precious gemstone itself-which has been appreciated for its healing properties since Neolithic times- the stylish new rooms which overlook the hotel’s secluded garden feature a warming palette of amber tones present throughout the soft furnishings. The stylish interior seamlessly blends the ‘old and the new’ and hosts a number of custom-made contemporary pieces crafted from a variety of luxurious materials including marble, wood and antique brass, all with a distinctly retro feel.
The Dylan Amsterdam - Loft
The authentic Amsterdam style can be found in the Loft style double rooms and suites. While entering the room it will take you just a few stairs to see the bright white walls combined with beige accents, the minimalistic furniture, but most importantly the original wooden beams.
The Dylan Amsterdam - Double Room - Loxura
The style of these rooms is based on the copper-coloured Loxura butterfly. The Loxura butterfly’s natural colorations are found in the copper antique mirrors surrounding metallic green leather headboards with mother-of-pearl detailing. A signature piece in these rooms is the wooden drinks cabinet, designed exclusively for The Dylan Amsterdam, finished with silver leaf inside and mother-of-pearl handles.
The Dylan Amsterdam - Serendipity
Luxurious fabrics and the generously appointed layout contribute to an impeccable balance of contemporary design that remains true to the strength of the rooms’ heritage and charm. The Serendipity style is offered for the double rooms, duplex rooms, junior suites, and suites, and are all designed by Remy Meijers (remymeijers.com), a well-known Dutch interior architect.
The Dylan Amsterdam - Restaurant Vinkeles
The Dylan Amsterdam is host to Michelin Star Awarded Restaurant Vinkeles. Could you tell us about Vinkeles and the Chef?
Restaurant Vinkeles (vinkeles.com) is a destination unto itself. Awarded a Michelin star since 2009, the delicate French cuisine offers an excellent mixture between classic and contemporary styles. Set in a sunken dining room surrounded by original 18th-century wood ovens that once served as a bakery for the Catholic Poor Peoples Office with views overlooking the garden, the restaurant offers an intimate and elegant setting blending the old world of Authentic Amsterdam with the new, refined style of today. Executive Chef, Dennis Kuipers, and Chef de Cuisine, Jurgen van der Zalm, use only the freshest ingredients for their seasonal menu, which showcases their strict dedication to purity of flavour and presentation. Often described by our guests as "exciting, modest and refined".
The Dylan Amsterdam - Bar Brasserie OCCO
And there is another gastronomic place in The Dylan Amsterdam. What kind of experiences can your guests live in Bar Brasserie OCCO?
Bar Brasserie OCCO (occo.com) is a distinct cosmopolitan eatery with menus highlighting handcrafted cocktails and creative cuisine drawn from local Dutch influences and producers. A perfect, more casual alternative to Restaurant Vinkeles. Open throughout the day for breakfast, lunch, High Wine, dinner and for a small bite. The menu offerings range from perfectly brewed Illy-coffees, freshly pressed juices and brioche French toast in the morning to a late night bar bite of roasted garlic shrimps and Dutch carrot-ginger croquettes. Additional lunch and dinner highlights include French pacific oysters, Caesar salad with shrimps and the 100 gram Wagyu, Gunma A5 steak. One of the most popular servings from Bar Brasserie OCCO is The Dylan Amsterdam’s very own take on the afternoon tea: High Wine. The High Wine is a food and wine pairing experience, featuring a selection of four wines with matching amuse style bites.
What are the privileges that you offer to companies that want to organize their meetings and events in The Dylan Amsterdam?
At The Dylan Amsterdam, we like to make all meetings and events special and unique. We offer personalized service, tailor-made proposals and individual solutions for every type of event. All event spaces are equipped with air conditioning, Wi-Fi and offer the opportunity to display a presentation through a projector or LCD screen. Femke and Myrthe, who work in our Events Department really go the extra mile for our meeting guests and iron out as many details beforehand so service is smooth. We have loads of returning business.
The Dylan Amsterdam - Vinkeles Patio
How could your guests spend time at The Dylan Amsterdam?
Each guest is different, but typically we see a lot of couples that are visiting The Dylan for a romantic getaway and do a lot of walking in the 9 streets area, discover one of the many museums (Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh, Amsterdam Museum, Stedelijk Museum etc etc) or may dive into the Jewish History of Amsterdam or the Dutch Golden Age.
You have increased the level with Les Clef D’Or Concierges. Could you tell us about your Concierges?
Michael Wigman and his team have been a part of The Dylan Amsterdam for over a decade. They are able to provide our guest with any request (that is ethical and not illegal).
The Dylan Amsterdam - Jacob van Campen
What kind of additional services do you offer for business travelers?
For business travellers, we do offer several services. First of all, we have different function rooms, which can be booked for a meeting or event in our hotel. Besides that, we do offer free Wi-Fi and we have some quiet spots to work in our hotel. All our guests also get pampered by the genuine and kind service of our Les Clef d’Or Concierge Team. They can take care of every detail during your stay, whether it being a transfer, guided tour or a reservation for a special dinner at Amsterdam’s most sought after restaurants.
Do you have any advantage packs or loyalty program that you offer to your regular and long-term guests?
Being a part of SLH we have the SLH INVITED loyalty program.
The Dylan Amsterdam - Luxury Suite - Dylan Thomas Room
How can travelers make their individual or business/group reservations?
Individual and group reservations can be made via our Reservations Team. They can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or via +31 (0)20 530 2010. Carol who manages our Reservations Department has been with the hotel for 15 years, so knows each and every room inside and out.
What are the most famous attractions near you?
The hotel is just a stroll away from the city’s main attractions like the Anne Frank House, flower market, Van Gogh museum, Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk Museum and the Canal Museum. When walking through the hip and trendy neighbourhood ‘9-streets’, guests may discover the galleries, boutiques, bars, and eateries. The perfect location for a getaway in Amsterdam.
The Dylan Amsterdam
If you have only one weekend in Amsterdam as a first-time visitor, in this limited time, what are the best things to do?
The best thing to do is to spend the weekend at The Dylan Amsterdam and to discover the hidden treasures of Amsterdam’s past and present. I would recommend to visit one of the museums in Amsterdam as Rijksmuseum or Van Gogh Museum and to experience the modern French cuisine with its international twist at Michelin awarded Restaurant Vinkeles. To discover the capital of The Netherlands, I also recommend you to have a look in our Concierge Choice for that month in the Dylan Mag.
How do you describe Amsterdam in one sentence?
Its a cosmopolitan village in a 17th-century decor.
Thank you Robbert for your time.