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EXPERT REVIEW A sleek business-meets-leisure hotel in a prime position next to the train station and historic centre, the five-star DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam Centraal is surprisingly green.

Eco


Overall eco rating


Amsterdam’s eastern docks have had a facelift with major buildings including Renzo Piano’s NEMO and ARCAM (architecture centre Amsterdam) and the striking DoubleTree by British architects Bennett’s Associates holds its own.  However, it is the engineering feat below Oosterdokseijland that excites us at EcoLuxHotels.com. 

The mini district heating and cooling scheme serving 8 large buildings on the island could represent the urban energy infrastructure of the future.  It uses heat pumps to provide heating and cooling and long-term storage in the aquifers beneath the island allows interseasonal benefits (heat is sucked out in winter making the ground cool in summer – perfect for cooling).

Amsterdam’s transport infrastructure isn’t quite as radical but is equally impressive.  DoubleTree is just 5mins walk from Centraal station and has bikes available in the lobby, for a reasonable rate, for guests to make the most of the cycle network.

The hotel itself has some super efficient services and DoubleTree’s approach to sustainability can be relied upon to deliver social benefits and reduced impacts from operations – the hotel has already obtained a Gold Green Key standard.

  • Green heating and cooling energy infrastructure – expected to reduce CO2 emissions from heating by >20% and from cooling by >60% compared to conventional systems
  • Energy efficient building design (features passive solar with automated shading, highly airtight with mechanical ventilation and heat recovery, CFL lighting with some LEDs for feature lighting, inverter driven pumps/fans provide variable volume systems)
  • Clever control by Building Management System – raises alarm if energy use is unexpected – allows temperatures in unoccupied rooms to float within wide bandwidth with minimal heating/cooling
  • Super convenient transport links – 5mins from Amsterdam Centraal Station and bike hire at the hotel
  • Green Key Gold standard
  • Dual flush toilets and aerated showers
  • Green roofs provide habitat and attenuate rainwater flows
  • Joint scheme with neighbouring public library lends books to guests

  • Missed opportunity in new build to deploy solar technology – there is no renewable electricity generation on site (gesture has been made to buy 100% renewable electricity although will have little tangible benefit)  When we visited the hotel had only been open 3-months and Corporate Social Responsibility was still under development (we do not doubt that Mint Amsterdam will develop some good projects in due course)

People

The Netherlands has a high standard of living, is known for its liberal policies and is one of the more egalitarian societies in the developed world.  DoubleTree Amsterdam Centraal will be doing more than hoteliers in some parts of the world simply by complying with Dutch laws and consequently there is less emphasis on them to perform in this area. 

The hotel was also still developing a wider corporate social responsibility programme which was understandable given the hotel had only been open for a few months when we visited.

Having said that, the hotel has an innovative link with the neighbouring library to provide services to guests and has set up a monthly neighbourhood drinks where nearby businesses and residents are hosted to foster a sense of community in the new development.   Our knowledge of the DoubleTree brand is that they will find other ways to support the local community by investing in charitable and cultural activities.

  • Hosts neighbourhood drinks on a regular basis
  • Link to neighbouring library
  • DoubleTree Hotels support a wide variety of charitable and cultural institutions as a group and each hotel develops local links

  • It is early days for the hotel to have developed a programme in this area

Animals & nature

The inner city location for the hotel means there is little scope for impacting animals and nature directly. The inclusion of green roofs provides some benefits but really the main thing the hotel can do is to limit its’ negative impacts in the areas of pollution through responsible procurement and management. Mint Hotel Amsterdam follow through in this area with careful choice of cleaning products (EU Ecolabelled Johnson Diversey products have been selected and like many hotels, use of micropore fibres reduce the quantity of chemicals required). Toiletries are from the White Company.

PETA assessment of cruelty free credentials of cleaning products and toiletries to come.

  • Green roofs provide some habitats even though the hotel has no grounds 
  • Responsible choice of cleaning products and toiletries
  • Restaurants offer good vegetarian options – few luxury hotels have vegetarian sausages on their breakfast menu!

  • Arguably the kitchens could use more organic and humanely farmed products

Environment & buildings

As a new build, Amsterdam Centraal has generally capitalised on the opportunity to improve energy conservation and include green technologies.  They have been helped in this by the inclusion of an innovative district heating and cooling infrastructure as part of the regeneration of Oosterdokseiland.  The building itself is intelligently designed to ensure a pleasant internal environment can be achieved with very low energy use.

  • Main heating and cooling supplied from innovative communal ground source heat pump technology with inter-seasonal storage – expected to reduce CO2 emissions from heating by >20% and from cooling by >60% 
  • Energy efficient heating and cooling distribution within buildings - full fresh air mechanical ventilation with high efficiency heat recovery (thermal wheels) – rooms do have small opening windows as well
  • All pumps/fans are inverter driven to reduce energy use when demand is low
  • Building is insulated beyond minimum standards for new buildings to reduce heating/cooling demand e.g. argon filled double glazing with low emissivity coatings
  • Passive solar design further reduces heating demand – large south facing windows have computer controlled mobile shades
  • Building Energy Management System effectively turns off heating and cooling to individual unoccupied rooms
  • CFL lighting with some LED feature lighting
  • Fit out of hotel uses carefully selected suppliers (e.g. wardrobes have built in LED lights, Energy Star compliant iMacs provided rather than TVs)
  • Purchasing policy also reduces environmental impacts (e.g. cleaning products and toiletries) prioritisation of suppliers with eco-accreditation (e.g. external laundry)
  • Water use reduced by dual flush toilets and low flow showers
  • Transport links are great and Amsterdam is a major cycling city – many staff cycle in from neighbouring towns (off street staff parking is provided in the basement) and the hotel hires bikes to guests
  • Green Key Gold Rating – the Green Key label is a bit of a box ticking exercise but this gives confidence that the hotel pays attention to detail for environmental impacts across their operations

  • It is picky to raise this but people can always do more – solar panels could have been incorporated (as in the neighbouring library) or a higher standard of insulation been applied

Reviewed by Tim Starley-Grainger


Luxury


Overall luxury rating*


Sleek and shiny, with one of the city’s best rooftop bars, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotels Amsterdam Centraal Station - formerly Mint Hotel, just renamed - makes a great base for exploring the historic centre and regenerated docks.

The scene

Turn left out of Amsterdam’s main train station, and you’ll walk smack into this gleaming new hotel. On the edge of the city’s historic centre, and right by the ferry to the regenerated docks, the location is perfect for a short break. Despite essentially being a business hotel, its location makes it appealing to leisure tourists, and the lobby and bar is filled with a mix of business and leisure travellers in their 20s to 50s.

  • Right next to Amsterdam's main Centraal train station
  • Two minutes' walk to the historic district
  • Two minutes' walk to the ferry over to the regenerated docklands
  • The rooftop bar is buzzy at night and attracts locals for its unrivalled views over the historic district

  • Being right by the main train station means you'll have to walk past it at night - not always the most savoury of places in the wee hours

The style

This sleek new 553-room hotel is all white, grey and mint-green, with five-star service and facilities. The angular 11-floor glass building juts out over a road at one end, and is tucked behind a canal at the other. Hints of greenery can be seen on the roofs.

Inside, the lobby is always packed with people coming and going, but tucked around the corner, you'll find a surprisingly large guest library, with all kinds of books you can use while you're here. There's also a ground-floor restaurant - packed at breakfast, quiet at lunch and dinner - with floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking a cycle path and a canal.

Surprisingly for a business hotel, locals pop in here - and for good reason. From the rooftop Skylounge - dark-wood floors and angular red seating inside, wooden decking and white chairs and tables outside - you can see right over the historic centre and canals, two minutes’ away.

Rooms are business-like: grey carpets, sleek white and pale-wood furniture, crisp white duvets and white-tiled bathrooms. But the views are noteworthy, with big windows and desks with iMacs in every room. Some of the Club Rooms even have balconies.

  • The rooftop bar offers unrivalled city views
  • The angular architecture stands out from the typical bland business hotel, and part of it juts out to look bizarrely UFO-like
  • The hidden library provides a tranquil place to kick back
  • Great views from the upper-floor guestrooms over the city or docks

 

  • Business five-star but also a bit business bland

The facilities

The rooftop Skylounge buzzes at cocktail hour, and the ground-floor restaurant is packed at breakfast. The guest library is a nice touch, with a surprisingly extensive array of books. Bicycles in the lobby can be hired for guest use, and a small gym means you can stay in shape.

  • Skylounge rooftop bar has great views
  • Guest library is packed with book, including guidebooks
  • Bicycles in the lobby available for hire
  • iMacs in every room

  • No spa or pool
  • The restaurant is accomplished, but doesn't attract locals and caters mostly for hotel guests

We love

  • Rooftop Skylounge with unrivalled city views
  • Location right next to the main train station and historic canal district
  • iMacs in every room

You might not love

  • No spa

Reviewed by

Jill Starley-Grainger


DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Amsterdam Centraal Station

4 Oosterdoksstraat, 1011 DK, Amsterdam

Netherlands
+31 20 5300800

Standard room rates from €169

Eco

Luxury*

"Very spacious and bright rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows, conference rooms and Skylounge - a huge rooftop bar with views" Conde Nast Traveller Russia