Reopening in 2016, Pulitzer, Amsterdam has a long and intriguing history. In 1960, Peter Pulitzer (grandson of Joseph Pulitzer, the founder of the world famous Pulitzer Prize) spotted an opportunity in Amsterdam’s historic canal houses. Purchasing 12 of the houses, Peter set about creating a five star hotel experience.
Pulitzer’s doors first opened in 1970 and over the next 30 years, Peter continued to purchase the neighbouring canal houses until a total of 25 properties made up Pultizer.
Although now 47 years old, the hotel recently gained a whole new lease of life. From 2015 the hotel began to undergo a phased renovation that would both modernise and enhance the heritage of the properties in order to create a luxury hotel experience that celebrates the very best of the city and its history.
With a prime location as well as extensive business facilities, including 10 meeting and event spaces, Pultizer appeals to a range of travellers’ needs. With a service that is described as “upscale with a dressed down Dutch attitude”, Pulitzer is the perfect accommodation for those looking to really understand the city they are staying in.
For those looking to drink in Amsterdam’s main attractions, Pulitzer is a short walk from landmarks such as the Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum and Dam Square making it the perfect base for first time visitors.
Overlooking the city’s famous canals, the hotel is situated within the Nine Streets district, known to locals as De Negen Straatjes. This area is considered by some to be the city’s most photogenic neighbourhood and is crammed with chic vintage stores and stylish coffee shops as well as upmarket designer boutiques.
The 25 historic canal houses that make up Pulitzer were built during the 17th and 18th centuries, a period which is considered to be the Netherlands’ Golden Age. These canal houses were the homes of upper class wealthy merchants who made their money during this prosperous period, meaning that the buildings were finished to exacting standards.
The age of the buildings that make up the hotel plus the fact that the hotel lies within a UNESCO heritage zone presents a number of restrictions. However, after a long application process, permission was granted to build a facade which has taken the silhouette of a traditional canal house but with a contemporary twist that both complements and enhances the historic buildings.
Prior to the recent renovation work, there had been an attempt to impose consistency onto the Pulitzer’s interior design. Now, however, the interiors are a celebration of the character and charm of the canal houses and their unique history. This change in tact both taps into today’s guests’ preference for personality in their hotel accommodation and gives the buildings a chance to really sing.
The creative director behind the project was South African designer Jacu Strauss, a former senior designer at Tom Dixon’s research studio and the man behind Mondrian London. “The rooms are all very different,” he explained in an interview with CLAD. “One part of the building is narrow, and then it suddenly becomes wide, you have to go up and down stairs to navigate it, I find that very charming, and I really wanted to highlight the fact that this building is unique.”
In order to celebrate the heritage of the buildings within the interiors, each on the 25 canal houses was thoroughly researched so that Strauss could emphasise the history through the design and incorporate a little of the people who originally inhabited the spaces. “The whole story of the Pulitzer is about trying to imagine who lived here over the centuries,” he says. “It’s about what they may have left behind.”
In order to capture this centuries old tale, the hotel is brimful with antique pieces and collectable artworks as well as quirky contemporary design flourishes by local designers such as Piet Hein Eek. The two styles work harmoniously and create a feel that is in synch with Amsterdam itself and that kicks against the uniformity of traditional corporate chain hotels.
The palette too is a balance of contrast. Soft greys are used on the walls throughout the hotel and are enlivened by rich pops of colours through the luxurious upholstery of inviting armchairs, vibrant drapery and statement rugs. These contemporary touches are a striking complement to the natural wooden beams and exposed brickwork that feature through the property’s communal spaces.
Rooms & Suites
With a veritable warren of corridors and rooms in every size and shape, the design challenges presented by Pulitzer are considerable. “It took me about 18 months to really understand this property,” said Jacu Strauss. “I’ve come here every week for the past two and a half years, and I have stayed in every single one of the 225 rooms. It was all part of making sense of the property, of living and breathing the city and understanding the context of the hotel.”
With the renovations complete, Pulitzer now offers a number of different room categories from a “cosy room” to a “generous king” all the way through to the four “collector’s suites”. As in the communal spaces, the palette in the rooms is primarily muted and simple with playful bursts of colour introduced through the soft furnishings. Some of the rooms are bright and airy with a loft style scheme while others are moody and cosy. The exposed natural beams are present in many of the rooms, harking back to the history of the spaces and reminding guests of the canal houses’ original purpose. The furnishings are a combination of vintage finds and custom built contemporary designs.
Although all of the rooms are finished to exacting standards with stylish Tom Dixon lighting and elegant detailing, the collector’s suites are extra special. Inspired by the previous inhabitants and their possible passions, these rooms are for; The Art Collector, The Music Collector, The Antique Collector and The Book Collector.
The themed suites are luxurious, decadent and packed with character. The Art Collector boasts an eclectic array of breathtaking artworks while the Music Collector showcases a wall of trumpets as a fabulous focal point. Meanwhile the Book Collector is as true to its name as possible with a private library and a quirky archway of books.
While there are significant differences across the room categories in terms of their size, all of the rooms are furnished with a few distinctly Dutch touches including a bicycle repair kit and delicious stroopwafels.
Food & Drink
Pulitzer offers three eating and drinking venues to ensure that there is an option to suit every occasion. Pause is the hotel’s cafe and, with its biophilic design, it is a true haven of tranquility amidst Amsterdam’s hustle and bustle. With floor to ceiling windows that look over the hotel’s stylish courtyard – complete with heated seats, Pause is a beautiful spot in which to do just that; stop and take a moment to appreciate your surroundings as well as a meal. Popular with both guests and locals, particularly for brunch and morning coffee, the menu at Pause offers a range of breakfast options and light bites including soups, salads, quiches and a selection of pastries made on site.
Jansz. is Pulitzer’s main restaurant and is named after 17th century craftsman, Volker Jansz who owned four of the properties that now make up the hotel. The restaurant’s menu has been created with his philosophy in mind; that luxury is most enjoyable when it is shared. With a simple yet elegant menu that revels in the finest quality ingredients, Jansz. serves a range of lunch and dinner options inspired by cuisines from around the globe with a Dutch twist. Dishes such as egg white frittata and beef tartare with quail eggs make up the lunch menu while dinner options include dover sole meunière, lobster risotto and lamb ratatouille. For extra special occasions, private dining is also on offer in the hotel’s elegant Copper Rooms in which guests can host dinners for up to 16 people.
For those in search of libations, Pulitzer’s Bar blends old world glamour with an extensive cocktail menu offering both classic and contemporary options. Pulitzer’s Bar’s interior was overhauled in 2016 and now invites visitors to relax and unwind in comfortable armchairs and opulent mood lighting. From the spicy Gazpacho Snapper to the aromatic Bohemian Evening, there are drinks to suit every palate as well as range of Dutch bar snacks to keep things on an even keel.
Pulitzer Amsterdam: www.pulitzeramsterdam.com