Lyrics by Selina Julien
A host of boutique hotels have sprung up in the city in recent years with the pre-pandemic opening of Slaak Rotterdam in autumn 2019. Discreetly tucked away on the east side of the city centre, just 10 minutes from the train station central, the Slaak offers travelers a wonderful taste of local life.
Marriot’s Tribute Portfolio design hotel offers 74 luxurious rooms and charms guests from the start with its remarkable bronze sculpture called Courier in a hurry above the entrance. It’s a clever nod to the former newspaper office that once occupied the 1950s building.
Friendly and knowledgeable staff set the tone for the stay. The informal check-in desk perched outside the elevator is quintessentially laid-back and Dutch, with a warm welcome, a city map, and plenty of recommendations including local sights and great restaurants.
The cute little touches around the hotel — such as the old-school typewriters in the lobby and the record player with Kind of Blue by Miles Davies, the best-selling jazz album of all time proudly displayed – celebrate both its rich publishing history and jazz roots.
Jazz has played an important role in Rotterdam’s history, from artists traveling the port city through the Roaring Twenties to hosting one of the most established jazz festivals in the world. International guests and Dutch music connoisseurs make the annual pilgrimage to the North Sea Jazz Festival held at Rotterdam’s Ahoy Stadium every July. The festival reflects the city’s vibrant culture, a culture that the hotel has ingeniously integrated into its own history.
Rooms are a chic mix of retro-inspired furnishings and contemporary amenities with a jazzy twist. There are five room categories to choose from. The Slaak Loft features stunning floor-to-ceiling windows, a huge bed covered in premium white bedding, a dining table, a leather lounge chair, and a matching armchair. It is a bright and comfortable space to relax, especially when natural light floods it.
The bathroom is tiny – think of the rain shower and the sink opposite (there is a separate toilet). It suits many travelers to enjoy a more spacious living space than a bathroom, but those who prefer to soak in a bath after roaming the busy streets of Rotterdam should book The Slaak Executive or The Slaak Suite. Fluffy bathrobes and slippers are available on request and there are full-size bottles of designer toiletries, Bakai – another jazz reference since musician John Coltrane recorded a 1950s hit of the same name.
Little guests should carry a sense of humor because the Netherlands is the land of giants, and the design of the hotel – from the hanging space in the closet to the mirror in the bathroom – reflects this. . More storage and mirrors would be a welcome touch, especially given the cozy nature of the bathroom.
Food and drink
The Slaak is more like private apartments than a hotel as it is a real social hub. Locals head to Didot 34 restaurant and bar (named after the font used by the newspaper) for an all-day meal with a menu featuring a variety of international dishes. Breakfast is plentiful and nothing short of excellent – fluffy American-style pancakes and omelettes are made to order – and there’s a great selection of meats, cheeses, cereals, fruit, breads, pastries and freshly squeezed fruit juices. The open kitchen is bustling most mornings, but the weekends are when the space really comes alive.
While rooms have modern amenities like a Nespresso machine, 49″ TV, and Marshall music box, there’s plenty to keep guests busy, but people watching at the bar are much appreciated. An interesting mix of creatives with laptops and hotel guests gravitate towards craft beers and specialty cocktails, making the salmon-and-gold accented bar the perfect place to soak up the vibe, especially with a Mango Basil Smash cocktail.
The various incarnations of the building over the years have always maintained a community spirit, which the hotel has been keen to preserve. The Slaak’s cultural ambassador, Annemiek Baljon, hosts pop-up art exhibits, jazz nights, and parties for in-house patrons and locals alike, which fuels the neighborhood’s vibe.
In a word
Like a home away from home, Slaak’s loyal guests love its sanctuary-style rooms, exceptional food and cocktails at Didcot 34, and gracious, enthusiastic staff who ensure everyone enjoys a first-class stay. class.
The Slaak Loft is from 169 euros excluding breakfast in low season.
Address: Slaak 34, Kralingen-Crooswijk, Rotterdam, The Netherlands
Call: +31 10 312 0640