The red-brick, art-deco façade of Amsterdam’s leading design hotel, Lloyd Hotel, may tell a glamorous history littered with celebrity guests and hoards of wealth, but the building’s biography is far from the extravagance that precedes it today. The October 2010 winner of Time Out Magazine’s ‘Best Hotel’ Award is in a prime location and filled with willing staff, yet it’s the company’s uniquely design-orientated approach to the hotel industry that has got people talking.

A veritable showcase of Dutch design talent, Lloyd Hotel’s vibrant interior is the product of a ground-breaking creative collective comprised of up-and-coming design talent from the Netherlands – suitable given the hotel’s dual role as Cultural Embassy. Whether you’re wanting to rest your head in a room resplendent with grand piano and hot-red sweeping mezzanine staircase, or you fancy meeting up under the faux forestry that constitutes one of the many public spaces Lloyd Hotel offers, this surrealist masterpiece of a building is a treasure trove of ideas just waiting to be explored.

If its walls could talk, they’d tell tales of poverty-stricken emigrants, Nazi conspiracies and the echoed screams of tortured inmates. The hotel opened in 1920 to showers of praise as the most luxurious emigrant hotel in the Netherlands. Funded by Royal Dutch Lloyd, the company’s bankruptcy in the 1930’s led the building into a state of abandonment followed by a chain of prison uses from Nazi resistance jail to juvenile detention centre. In 1989 the building’s harrowed chambers were reconstituted as artist studios and in 2004, the inhabitable art installation Lloyd Hotel was founded.

Robbie Hodges

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