TRAVEL - INTERVIEW
Thursday, February 7, 2019
TRAVEL - INTERVIEW
by Melisa Kaya
It is not difficult to understand why Sir Hotel opened its first hotel in Amsterdam. The Sir Albert Hotel is located in the De Pijp district of Amsterdam. As in all parts of Amsterdam, it is possible to specify a canal or bridge near Sir Albert to describe its location, this is the Diamond Bridge for Sir Albert. Sir Albert welcoming its guests in its historical building with its black and white-weighted rooms, the Study where guests can have a nice time, and Izakaya where they can live different gastronomic and entertainment experiences. I talked with Sophie Huisman, Hotel Manager at Sir Albert Hotel, about the features of Sir Albert Hotel and Amsterdam.
Sophie, before talking about Sir Albert, could you tell us about your background and your career in Europe Hotel Private Collection?
After finishing the Hotel Management School in Maastricht in 2011, I was very sure that I wanted to start my career in the Hotel industry. Previous internships taught me that the position of Duty Manager/ Guest Service Manager was a perfect fit for me so I applied for the job at the Park Hotel Amsterdam (the first hotel of Europe Hotel Private Collection). After 2,5 year in that position, I became the Front Office Manager in the Park Hotel. It was fantastic to see all the group develop and opening all the beautiful property’s.
After almost 6 years in the Park Hotel, I continued within the group and I became the Operations Manager of Sir Adam, which is located in the Adam Tower in Amsterdam North. This also incredible hotel gave me again so much pleasure. This hotel is all about music, creativity and has such a cool style.
After only 7 months I was asked to take over the position of Hotel Manager at Sir Albert, which I proudly agreed on and here I am!
Sir Albert Hotel
Sir Albert is located in the heart of Amsterdam’s De Pijp district. Please tell us about your location and the advantages of being there.
For those who don’t know this area, “de Pijp” is located in the south part of the city. It makes Amsterdam sound big but it’s actually not. Amsterdam south is a bit of the more wealthy part of the city. Apart that is famous for its beautiful architecture, Albert Cuyp Market and the Museum District. We are just a couple of minutes walk from the famous Rijksmuseum. So it makes it less hectic to be located here but it is just perfect for a city trip. There is a huge variety of restaurants and bars in this area and you can really be among the locals.
Sir Albert Hotel - The Study
Could you tell us about Sir Albert and the overall concept?
Sir Albert is the first-ever Sir Hotel and holds a special place in our hearts. The building has an iconic history since it used to be a diamond cutting factory. Many features such as the high windows are a reminder of that history. Even the bridge next to our hotel is called the Diamond Bridge in honors to the rich history of our building. These days, we try to evolve with the neighborhood. That’s why we decided to have artist Adele Renault paint a heron mural on the side of our building, as the heron is the unofficial mascot of the Albert Cuyp neighborhood.
Sir Albert Hotel - Sir Deluxe
Sir Albert has stylish rooms and suites. What type of different rooms and suites do you offer to your guests? Could you tell us about their design features and essentials?
Immediately when you enter our “Study”, you will feel at home. This feeling you will also have in our rooms. The use of colors, various materials, books, and art make you feel cosy and comfortable.
We have 4 different room types; Boutique, Deluxe, Suites, and Residences. When you book a residence, you have the possibility to have a living room in your room with a beautiful wetbar where you can create your own cocktails.
One thing must also be said, and all our guest will confirm this, we have the best beds in the city. You simply don’t want to leave because of these beds.
Sir Albert Hotel - IZAKAYA
Sir Albert is host to IZAKAYA that offers Asian gastronomy experience to its guests. Could you tell us about IZAKAYA?
Izakaya is already for many years a true hotspot in the city. The fine dining cuisine never gets boring and we see a lot of guests coming back on a regular basis. The vibe is always very energetic. From Thursday to Sunday night there is always a DJ and Izakaya is also famous for their Supreme Brunch, every last Sunday of the month. This is not your average mother’s brunch but a fantastic party on a Sunday afternoon.
Sir Albert Hotel - the Studio
What are the privileges that you offer to companies that want to organize their meetings and events in Sir Albert?
At Sir Albert, we have one meeting room that we call “the Studio”. This meeting space is located a few doors form the hotel. This already makes it unique. Guests have their own fridge, coffee and tea facilities and restroom there. We have a very flexible set up there so we can offer dinners, meetings, receptions, yoga sessions etc.
Food & beverage wise we have options from various restaurants there. On the Albert Cuypstraat, we have two more restaurants so we can offer the incredible delicious burgers from The Butcher, fantastic Pizza from “our new kid on the block” Toni Loco and of course Izakaya.
How could your guests spend time at Sir Albert?
We have a gym at our disposal with a personal trainer, we often have cool events at the hotel on a monthly basis such as books & booze, Wine O’clock, we offer a unique service called “Sir Explore” in which we show off our city as if you were a local. In Amsterdam we offer for example an Amsterdam by night tours in which Jackson (the host) shows you all the best-hidden bars in town, we have a vintage shop hopping tour, a joint-rolling course, and much more. We also offer Sir Explore in all other cities in which we have Sir Hotels such as Ibiza, Berlin, Hamburg, and soon Barcelona.
Sir Albert Hotel - Sir Deluxe
What kind of additional services do you offer for business travelers?
What is most important for a business traveler? A good shower, a great bed, a desk, and good High-speed internet. We got all of it. But what we also find very important, being that home away from home.
My team is very much aware that even if you travel a lot for work, you can still check in with a certain amount of stress or that it is not so nice to always have to leave home. So the first thing we do is, sit them down, offer them something to drink and get to know them and find out what their needs are. How can we make them feel special? We have many regular guests and we know exactly what their favorite room is, what they like to eat or drink, how their family is doing etc.
Then having parking close by with a valet service (which we have) and cool bikes to rent, is just a basic.
Do you have any advantage packs or loyalty program that you offer to your regular and long-term guests?
Yes, we have. We do not have a loyalty program with saving points but we do have flexible and corporate rates for our returning guest. And since we know our guest so well, we are very flexible in providing them what they need.
Sir Albert Hotel - Sir Residence
How can travelers make their individual or business/group reservations?
Always the best rates through our own website sirhotels.com
What are the most famous attractions near you?
We are just a 5-minute walk from the Museum Square where you can find the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, Het Stedelijk Museum, there are canal boats laying next to the hotel and of course, we have the Albert Cuyp Market in our street.
Sir Albert Hotel
If you have only one weekend in Amsterdam as a first-time visitor, in this limited time, what are the best things to do?
Hmm difficult to say but I would say:
- A canal boat tour. This gives you a perfect overview of how the city is built and you can really enjoy the beautiful buildings
- Visit the Jordan area and maybe combine it with the Anne Frank House (you need to buy the tickets in advance)
- The Rijksmuseum is a definite must. This is our national museum and already the building is breathtaking
- Sir Explore, really a cool way of seeing the city as a local and be with the locals.
- When the weather is nice, be with the locals in the park. For example The Vondelpark
- Buy a “Stroopwafel”(typical Dutch caramel cookie) on the Albert Cuyp market
- Eat a Bitterbal, available in most bars
But the most important thing, take time to watch the beautiful buildings and the beautiful people.
How do you describe Amsterdam in one sentence?
Amsterdam always sounds big, but it is like a beautiful village where we are very open minded and welcoming.
Thank you Sophie for your time.