Maximise your Avios, air miles and hotel points

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam (Global Hotel Alliance / The Set Collection)

Links on Head for Points may support the site by paying a commission.  See here for all partner links.

This is our review of the Conservatorium hotel in Amsterdam, part of The Set Collection of independent hotels.

After enjoying a night in the Hotel Cafe Royal in London I couldn’t say no when The Set Collection invited me to try their sister property in Amsterdam.

In many ways the hotels are remarkably similar – conversions of beautiful historic buildings, architectural design features with subterranean spas built in prime locations of the city. You wouldn’t blink an eye staying here after staying at the Hotel Cafe Royal, although you might at the pricing.

The Set Collection also includes Hotel Cafe Royal in London and Hotel Lutetia in Paris which Rob reviewed last weekend.

All three hotels are members of the Global Hotel Alliance loyalty programmeclick here for our guide to GHA.

The Conservatorium website is here.

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

Where is the Conservatorium Hotel?

A lot of hotels in Amsterdam are located in the city’s historic canal district. Not so the Conservatorium, which is located just off Museumsplein, the city’s major museum district and home to the Rijksmuseum (Old Masters), the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedlijkmuseum (modern art).

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

Whilst you are not within the canal district itself, you are just a short walk away – it’s literally down the street, on the other side of the Rijksmuseum.

The location is no better or worse than the canals – just different. If you want to go shopping then it is arguably better – Hermes, Cartier, Louis Vuitton etc are less than five minutes’ walk away on Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat. It is just as easy to roll out of bed and hit the museums in the morning before they get too busy, too.

The area is also exceptionally easy to get to from the airport. Most people who stay at the Conservatorium are likely to just grab an Uber, taxi or private hire car. It is just as easy and fast to hop on Bus 397 from Schiphol (make sure to tap on and off) which takes you directly to Museumsplein. From there, it is literally 100m down the road. The whole thing takes about 35 minutes.

When it comes to getting round, you have Museumsplein station for buses and trams, or you can soak up the views and walk into town.

Inside the Conservatorium hotel

This is an old part of the city, although not quite as old as many of Amsterdam’s 17th century canal houses, and was developed in the late 19th century.

The landmark neo-gothic Conservatorium building was originally built in 1901 for the Rijkspostspaarbank before becoming a home to the Sweelinck Conservatory of Music. The building itself is reminiscent of St Pancras in London, albeit a bit more stout and not quite as intricate.

Inside the front of the building you’ll find a mini-mall of high-end boutiques selling shoes, fragrances and the like. These were surprisingly busy and clearly popular with locals, rather than just hotel guests.

To get to the lobby, simply walk around the hanging violins and down into the main courtyard:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

In 2011 the building was transformed into a hotel with the addition of an ultra-modern glazed courtyard designed by Italian architect Piero Lissoni. It is quite spectacular:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

A glass box appears to float above in the centre and is home to a number of function rooms.

Check-in is on the left and was quick and easy.

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

I was offered a glass of champagne and I admired the collection of service bells (and what I assume is a cowbell!)

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

Once everything was sorted I was asked if I wanted to be escorted to my room. I declined which was a mistake, because my room was one of two on a mezzanine on the third floor, tucked away in the corner of the building. Thankfully, a member of staff came to my rescue.

On your way you can admire some of the lovely heritage tiling:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

Room numbers are really quite discreet, inlaid into the stone doorsill:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

Suites at the Conservatorium hotel

I was given a so-called ‘Grand Junior Suite’ at the hotel. At 55sqm, it is more than double the size of the smallest room types which are 23sqm. Looking on the website, the layout of this suite type can vary and occasionally includes open-plan duplex rooms. Mine, however, was a conventional corner suite:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

Immediately on the left is an open walk-in wardrobe, with access from both sides. A backlit panel of milky glass emits a lovely warm glow. I wish I had this at home! (As an aside, my luggage arrived very quickly – virtually the same time as I arrived in my room, which was great.)

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

On the other side of this is the king bed, with an armchair and reading light in the corner:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

The bed was lovely and comfortable. There are ample sockets on both sides, as well as controls for the lights and the curtains, which are electric.

There is a free-standing TV opposite the bed which reminded me of the monolith at the start of 2001: A Space Oddysey. It can be turned on its base. Annoyingly, it wasn’t smart and we weren’t able to airplay anything form our iPhones which was a little annoying.

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

The view from my room was of the Stedelijk Museum:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

On the other side is a corner set up with a sofa and two chairs:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

Copies of Vogue, GQ and Conde Nast Traveller were available.

Next to the sofa is a large, oval dining table / desk, and there is a plethora of sockets and input/output ports on the wall next to it.

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam


Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

The mini bar and fridge are integrated into the headboard/wardrobe unit:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

The mini bar was fully stocked with a range of alcoholic and soft drinks, snacks and the like. The coffee machine was Nespresso. There were no tea bags as far as I could tell.

The bathroom is behind a mirrored door and is clad in lovely travertine stone.

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

There’s a large free standing tub:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

Forget twin basins – this bathroom features a wide basin as long as the entire back wall:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

The toilet and shower are in separate cubicles. Toiletries throughout are by Etro.

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

I couldn’t fault the suite, bar the TV which can’t stream or airplay content from other devices. It is spacious, comfortable and stylish, with warm, natural finishes in wood and stone contrasted with glossy beige-brown panelling and mirror doors. The room controls are intuitive and practical – no fumbling with the AC or light switches in the middle of the night here. It all makes sense.

A turn-down service comes every evening to prepare for the room for the night and close all the curtains, which I always appreciate. They leave a little card on the bed with tomorrow’s forecast and two prosecco-flavoured gummy sweets.

The spa at the Conservatorium hotel

One of the highlights with staying at the hotel is the spa, which is underneath the glass-clad modern courtyard. This is operated by Akasha, as is the spa at Hotel Lutetia in Paris. There is a pool with a dedicated lane for swimming laps, as well as a hot tub, hammam and sauna:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

There were always around 5-10 people around when I visited. Unfortunately, there just aren’t quite enough loungers: just five, plus another four padded chairs.

Breakfast & Taiko dinner

Breakfast is served in the Conservatorium Brasserie, which is the main restaurant in the glass atrium of the hotel. It is a stunning venue and wonderfully light in the morning thanks to the glass roof:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

Breakfast is a hybrid. For a reassuringly expensive €52, you can help yourself from the buffet and opt for one of the a la carte options, which include omelettes, eggs benedict / florentine / royale etc. Of course, I went for the eggs royale which I have to admit were the best I’ve had in months:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

The buffet spread is impressive too, and beautifully presented. A whole side is dedicated to pastries, breads, rolls and other baked goods:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

Another section was home to a colourful selection of cut fruit, yoghurt, salad and cold cuts:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

Overall, I thought the selection was good without being ludicrously over the top as you’d find at a Dubai brunch, and the quality was all very high. The only thing missing, I thought, was sparkling wine, which you have to pay extra for.


The hotel also invited us to try their upmarket asian fusion restaurant Taiko, which was buzzing on a Friday night. Once you check in for your reservation your arrival is ‘drummed in’ by a drummer on the corridor down to the dining room, which adds a bit of drama to the affair!

The room is very moody:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

Every year, apparently, the restaurant hones in on a particular ingredient and this year it is the ‘Year of Rice’. We tried the eight-course tasting menu (€135pp). Wine pairings (€85pp) and sake pairings (€95pp) are also available.

I won’t bore you with every dish, except to say that they were all delicious and beautifully presented. The only comment I do have is that some of the dishes – the two ‘main’ courses, fish and meat – took a little too long to come out. We spent over three hours here – a delightful three hours – but three hours nonetheless.

The sushi was spectacular:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

As was, to my surprise, the deconstructed nasi goreng:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

The wagyu four ways was also delicious, and comes raw (tartar), grilled, braised, and as a gyoza:

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam

Two desserts were on offer. I was blown away by the genmaicha ice, which came with dried citrus and other bits and lots of liquid nitrogen!

Review: The Conservatorium hotel, Amsterdam


As you would hope for a hotel of this calibre (and price), my stay at the Conservatorium hotel was virtually faultless. The only two catches were a mix-up at breakfast one morning and the lack of any airplay or casting on the room TV – a bit of a oversight in this day and age.

The rooms, and indeed the hotel as a whole, embrace the heritage of the building whilst not being afraid to reinvent and modernise key areas. I particularly loved having breakfast in the stunning modern atrium: a reminder every morning that we were in the middle of Amsterdam.

None of this comes cheap, of course. Rooms at the Conservatorium Hotel start from €750 for a standard, entry level room. You can expect to pay more at peak times, whilst my suite starts from €850 / night. You will earn Discovery Dollars in Global Hotel Alliance from your stay – up to 7% back depending on your status – and can also redeem here.

You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.

Comments (32)

  • Timothy says:

    My thoughts are that this article and others concentrates on the top end market as often do the airline reports. Having had in November a really poor in terms of food and service both ways with Qatar airways flight to Australia in economy it would be good to share more of the lower cost experiences

    • Rob says:

      We’ve never reviewed long haul economy and won’t start now!

      • Harry T says:

        Economy is always sh!t, the point of this site is to find ways of not flying Y, or to find out the best products if money isn’t an issue.

        • Rob says:

          Rhys couldn’t do 300+ hours of flying per year if 50% of it was long haul economy!

          • Niall says:

            I do! <50% long haul though is economy just about.

          • RichK says:

            Surely it’s his job, that he gets paid for? I thought this was a business, that published articles of interest to your readers, not a paid for review site?

          • Rob says:

            We believe that other websites are available which review long haul economy flights and 3-star hotels.

    • Richie says:

      Doha to Australia is a very long flight sector, there’s no surprise that the experience wasn’t great.

    • Niall says:

      I agree, I think Rob’s mentioned business class flying for Rhys but hasn’t really addressed the upper end hotels. With so many hotel rewards now based on cash prices, I’m not really sure that it being aspirational or the London based wealthy readers is enough of an explanation. Perhaps in the next survey you could ask the price readers pay and how often for hotels.

      ‘If you want to go shopping then it is arguably better – Hermes, Cartier, Louis Vuitton etc’ feels also a little out of touch.

      • Rob says:

        You can reclaim VAT now on EU shopping – lots of shopping tourism from the UK to Europe.

        Bottom line is that we’re not giving up a weekend (as Rhys did here) to review a cookie cutter Hampton in Dresden unless it is accompanied by a large cheque.

        • Lady London says:

          Was it then Rob? accompanied by a large cheque…

          As a fan of Hampton, I would be particularly interested in that review.

        • Niall says:

          Not exactly asking for reviews of all the Hamptons, just for a better balance of hotel reviews which would be likely stays for majority of your readers. I don’t think that’s very unreasonable / didn’t expect this to be a point of contention.

          • Rob says:

            We’re not spending £250 on flights and taxis to Europe, and using 2-3 days of staff time, to visit a 3-star Hampton which looks exactly the same (because the rooms are all made in the same Chinese factory offsite) as every other Hampton …. If we need to be somewhere anyway and we stay in one then we’ll do it, but otherwise not.

          • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

            You could always write a review and post it in the appropriate hotel chain forum or in the destination forum should you desire to put in the effort.

        • Ken says:

          And you should be declaring items for both VAT and duty (depending on origin) when you import them in to the UK.

      • Swifty says:


        • Rob says:

          Do you seriously think we should use 2-3 days of staff time and £250+ of travel and subsistence costs to review a cookie cutter 3-star hotel somewhere in Europe? Who really wants to see pictures of a standard Holiday Inn / HI Express / Hampton room and breakfast, literally identical to the last one you visited?

          They are literally a waste of pixels. I did two stays at Hampton York last year but it never crossed my mind to write about them, except in passing. Ditto 10-15 other ‘dull as ditchwater but did the job’ hotels I used. We did Hampton Bournemouth and Hampton London City and that’s more than enough for a year! One of those I was in anyway and one is 15 minutes walk from our office.

    • Lady London says:

      How bad was Qatar in Economy, @Timothy?

      Can you tell us more? It will help me, for one, keep my eye on trying to stay in J if I can know how bad QR was for you in Economy.

    • Ant says:

      As someone who flies as a family of 4 to Australia at least once per year in economy my learnings are that it’s just going to be a tough travel day no matter who you fly with – just go for the cheapest with a reasonable connection and spend your savings once you’re there.

      I’ve connected through Dubai, Singapore, BKK, Taipei, HK, Seoul, Beijing, KL, Shanghai and probably others. It’s a tough day no matter who you’re flying with.

    • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

      Nothing to stop you posting a review in the relevant airline board yourself!

  • Harry T says:

    This actually looks pretty damn good. I am keen to try this one at some point. I agree it’s odd that they didn’t have Chromecast or similar.

    • Richie says:

      Which hotels have casting facilities to room TVs?

      • Harry T says:

        Most of the modern or recently refurbed Marriott hotels for starters. A recent example was W Edinburgh.

        • Richie says:


        • Rob says:

          Fairmont Windsor Park had it last month. It is getting more common. In truth I don’t the TV on these days on 80% of stays so it could be more widespread than even I think.

          It’s not a cost thing I suspect – our relatively simple home TV has casting.

          I’ve even seen hotels which have Netflix on the TV and you can input your home log-in and password to watch.

    • Numpty says:

      I have a spare Fire Stick that I take on trips, whether it’s an Air BnB or a hotel have always been able to plug it in and connect.

      New LG TVs for hotels will soon come with AirPlay 2 enabled.

  • Willmo says:

    ‘Best eggs royale I’ve had in months’
    This made me laugh.
    Although I can’t say I’m much different.

  • The Savage Squirrel says:

    Having been past a few times, but never in, I’ve got to say that looks stunning and might make me swerve off the pavement and inwards. Internal architecture looks superb and room itself treads the line perfectly between feeling high-end but not too showy in a way that the sister Paris property’s dull luxury-Travelodge vibes simply did not.

  • Simon C says:

    I’ve a mental image of Animal from the Muppets launching into a 30 second drum solo every time a new diner approaches. Also loving that they choose an ingredient to hone in on, and plumped for rice. Guess for previous/next year would be noodles.

  • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

    “When it comes to getting round, you have Museumsplein station for buses and trams …”

    Station? There are various bus and tram stops surounding Museumplein I wouldn’t call them “station” !

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Please click here to read our data protection policy before submitting your comment

The UK's biggest frequent flyer website uses cookies, which you can block via your browser settings. Continuing implies your consent to this policy. Our privacy policy is here.