City Guide: Rotterdam, Netherlands

It wasn't until too long ago that Rotterdam was just a little-visited stop on the Netherlands' tourist trail. Despite its vast size, Rotterdam's concrete-covered city centre and shabby suburbs gave visitors little reason to stick around.

Recent years, however, have seen the city blossom into a chart-topping travel destination. Driven by smart renovation projects and new, cutting-edge architectural works, Rotterdam has reinvented itself as a design capital of global significance. Even the gritty city centre has been polished up: its post-war industrial buildings and dingy townhouses now harbour creative studios, craft-beer breweries and sleek boutiques showcasing the city's homegrown talents with pride.

hotel

Room Mate Bruno

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Occupying a former warehouse of the Dutch East India Company, Room Mate Bruno offers guests vibrantly coloured rooms with heaps of space. Its bold interiors mix raw concrete with nautical touches (hinting to the building’s rich history) and quirky elements like the spray-painted blue palms in the lobby lounge. Bruno’s location, right behind Rem Koolhaas’ iconic De Rotterdam building, puts you smack in the middle of Kop Van Zuid, where gleaming high-rises and historic depots house highlights like indie cinema LantarenVenster and the legendary Hotel New York. Better yet, the hotel is connected to the Foodhallen and will even deliver your order up directly to your room.

Address

Wilhelminakade 52 3072

This image is on holiday

hotel

Hotel The James

Rotterdam, Netherlands

Don’t let The James’ velvet chairs, boutique looks and chic logo fool you: this new three-star property comes with a surprisingly wallet-friendly price tag. Located in the Coolsingel district, within walking distance from the Central Station, it’s a perfect base from which to explore the city. Rooms are snug, decorated in black, gold and a touch of retro. Amenity wise, the basics (coffee machine, minibar, WiFi) are covered, and there’s even a small gym. It’s nothing fancy, just very good.

Address

Aert van Nesstraat 25 3012