I’ve slept in water towers, chateaus, tree houses and tents, so a hotel that used to be a gunpowder factory sounded promising.
Just 20 minutes outside of Amsterdam, in the idyllic village of Ouderkerk an de Amstel, Peter Lute created Lute Suites. A haven for culinary connoisseurs and design aficionados, the property rests on the grounds of a former 18th century gunpowder factory located right on the river.
To produce gunpowder you need 3 ingredients (something I am not going to explain further in this blog – google it if you really want to know). You mix them together and the outcome is a blast, literally. Simple recipe.
To create a unique hotel the recipe is not that simple and preparation is also not that easy. In the case of Lute Suites I guess the recipe would read something like this:
Find 1 idyllic location with a historic character (riverside for extra flavor), add 1 passionate chef (Peter Lute) and combine with the creativity of 1 famous Dutch designer (Marcel Wanders). Conceptualize 7 individually designed suites, blend with Dutch designer furniture (Moooi) and sprinkle over the refurbished buildings. Top with lovely staff and classy guests – done. The result is a big bang and a wonderfully hip escape.
And for those with classical tastes: Lute Suites also refers to Johann Sebastian Bach’s famous 18th century composition for the lute.
Cool atmosphere – hot chairs
It all started seven years ago when Peter Lute opened Lute Restaurant, which soon became a popular hot spot with the Amsterdam in-crowd. Artists, celebrities and Royals enjoyed Peter’s Michelin star worthy creations. I am not sure which dish was my favorite: the Risotto with Cod cheeks and a poached egg covered in ash (yes, ash!) or the truffle soup with Dutch cheese cream and truffle caviar. Perhaps the scallop tartar with goose liver crème, served on mysterious oak wood’s smoke… A touch of molecular cuisine, a wide selection of excellent wines and views into the open kitchen contributed to an overall great experience.
On warm summer nights you can take a nightcap in the Zen style courtyard next to the pond. Otherwise, I suggest the bar with its amazing Michael Baas Smoke Chairs.
One of Peter’s regular guests, Dutch designer Marcel Wanders, became a friend over the years and together they contemplated the restaurant’s expansion. The result is two funky boardrooms as well as 7 individually designed suites, which finally opened five years ago. Each one of the duplex suites combines the building’s historic characteristics with modern design features and subtle reminders of the industrial nature of the compound’s original designation.
Tonight, Suite 1 is mine. The living room really feels like just that – a living room: next to the TV and Hi-Fi set is a selection of CDs and artsy DVDs (including David Lynch’s all time classic Mulholland Drive), complemented by local coffee table books and magazines. Of course you have a mini bar as well, but I prefer calling it “my personal wine selection”: a wine fridge with contents ranging from white wine demi-bouteilles to my beloved Krug Champagne.
The living room leads to a large open bathroom with an amazing freestanding tub. Apart from the BVLGARI amenities a small bag of complimentary La Prairie products is provided for you and your skin. My favorite however are the bathrobes: with their large hood and LUTE embroidered in large letters on the back I feel like a prize fighter as I step out of the bathroom, ready for breakfast (which is served exclusively in the privacy of your suite in a custom-made box (reminding me of an ammunition crate). Or on the terrace if you prefer. Perfect.
A flight of stairs leads up to a bedroom, which is integrated in the roof structure. Thoughtful details complement the design once again, including a pair of funky wicker slippers. Other suites feature similar characteristics while each remains an individual design piece. Being Marcel Wanders’ first hotel design project, it laid the foundation for his hotel designs.
And while I sit back and enjoy my amazing breakfast to the sound of Bach I look forward to the next big bang, knowing that Lute Suites will surely be hard to beat.