Ah, Amsterdam; city where neighbours share favouite reads via communal bookcases under the awnings of historic red-brick apartment blocks; where feline-loving locals erect road signs in the style of official "give way" ones to warn cyclists of cats crossing; and where the Hoxton has just gone double Dutch with the opening of its second outpost in the city: the Hoxton, Lloyd Amsterdam.
The 136-key stay has taken up residence in an iconic Eastern Docklands property originally commissioned by the Royal Holland Lloyd Shipping Company in 1921 to house passengers setting off for a new life in South America. Having cost eight times more than initial estimates, its construction contributed to the shipping line's subsequent downfall, but that loss is our gain: soaring ceilings, art deco period details and a solid amount of living space form the backdrop to an uplifting makeover by AIME Studios - the same design agency behind canal district-based The Hoxton Amsterdam. Pattern is everywhere, in a warm palette of corals, reds and ochres. The hotel's all-Dutch art collection represents both big-name and emerging artists, and the building's exterior features a dedicated space on which some of the city's leading graffiti artists will be given free rein to create large-scale murals.
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In communal areas - including a big, south-facing open-air terrace - laptop-toting locals from the hotel's laid-back waterside neighbourhood rub shoulders with visitors from far and wide. The vibe is palpably purposeful: during our stay, we looked out of our bedroom window and saw billowing French flags and a film crew shooting a scene starring a bad-ass blonde in black boots, coat and beret. Which is apt. Creative, sustainable and offering stylish accommodation at an affordable price point, the Hoxton revolutionised the hospitality industry when it launched the OG in Shoreditch in 2006, and is still looking fresh today. Ready to jump on the Eurostar and go check out The Hoxton, Lloyd Amsterdam for yourself? Here's what to expect.
No two are identical. Hox staples "Cosy", "Roomy" and "Biggy" are all here, along with the new "Biggy Double Up" category, which, with a second king-size bed, will suit those travelling with friends. "Biggy Bunk Up" rooms, with a double bed and curtained bunk beds that evoke nautical sleeper berths, will work for parents with kids in tow. All of them come stocked with artisanal teas and coffees and the Hox's own Blank products in bathrooms.
What's for breakfast?
More than enough to power you up for a day of exploring by bike (available to hire through reception) or on foot, from quinoa seed granola to potato and onion latkes with eggs and beef merguez sausage.
How about lunch and dinner?
Head to the Breman Brasserie for an all-day menu of comfort classics with a South American slant: think spiced aubergine croquettes, tuna ceviche (whipped up in front of diners at the seven-seater raw bar), langoustines, lobster and the BB cheeseburger, served with Reuben sauce, pickled cabbage and fries.
Is there a bar?
Set in the old ticket office - preserved as it was in the day - Barbue (pronounced "Bar-bweh") is a collaboration between the Hox and Tato Giovannoni, founder of Floreria Atlantico in Buenos Aires. Grab a stool at the sexy, horseshoe-shaped bar and embark on an odyssey of Argentine amargos - a dark brown bitter with a herbal flavour that grows on you (quickly).
As with its sibling hotels, Lloyd Amsterdam prides itself on its strong relationships with neighbours. Here, you'll find a running club from black-owned streetwear brand Patta, and design shop Best Of, which sells bespoke candles by Very Goods Studios, hand-painted mugs from shop-studio hybrid Pansy, merino wool scarves by Studio SKARV and sneakers from Baskèts.
What are the hotel's eco-credentials like?
Ahead of the game, across the board. Look out for the "good to know" facts and figures dotted around the hotel (and on the website). Don't look out for single-use plastics - there aren't any.
What about accessibility?
The hotel is accessible via the step-free rear of the building. Some of the Biggy rooms are wheelchair-friendly.
What's the crowd like?
The Amsterdam friends you've always wanted. This is not London. Say hello!
Within a short walk I can find…
Amsterdam's oldest windmill (now a brewhouse), window shopping galore (start with the gorgeous Czaar Peterstraat) and water: the hotel is right on the IJ, the lifeblood of the city. With the Dutch capital being so compact, even Centraal Station is just a 10-minute bike ride away.
Things I should know
Owner Ennismore's Dis-loyalty travel and food membership - offering huge discounts at more than 75 participating hotels and 150 restaurants and bars - has this month unveiled new Dis-loyalty Drops. Quick-off-the-mark members can grab limited-edition goodies - from £5 rooms across five cities to a festive dinner party for 10 friends in London, Paris or Miami - at crazy-low prices (or even free). Because who doesn't love a drop?