Rotterdam’s 4-star Hotel New York is housed in a century old monumental building at the west end of Wilheminapier. Find out more about this historic landmark and what is on offer for non hotel guests…
On the south bank of the River Maas in Rotterdam, dwarfed by ultra-modern buildings, you will find, what used to be, the head office of the Holland America Line which today is a renowned hotel.
In 1871 the company Plate, Reuchlin & Co was formed by Antoine Plate and Otto Reuchlin, with the aim to provide a good passenger steam ship service from Rotterdam to America to accommodate the growing number of Dutch and other Europeans who wanted to emigrate in search of a better life.
In 1873 the company was named Nederlandsch Amerikaanse Stoomvaart Maatschappij (‘Netherlands-American Steamship Company’); in 1896 it was renamed the Holland-Amerika Lijn (‘Holland-America Line’) for which it had come to be known. The first ship departed Rotterdam for New York in 1872 and by the turn of the 20th century the company had already transported nearly half a million people to America.
Architects J. Müller & C.M. Droogleever Fortuyn set about designing a new head office for Holland-America Line which was then built on the Wilhelminapier in 1901. It very soon became clear that more office space was required and in 1908 the building was extended. In 1916 it was further extended with the addition of the octagonal tower on the north side and in 1919 it was matched by another tower on the south side plus a new facade on the west side. The iconic lettering “Holland-America Lijn” was also added, which still graces the building today.
Air travel had an enormous impact on the business and in 1971 the last passenger steam ship, the “Nieuw Amsterdam II”, left the Wilhelminapier in Rotterdam en route to New York. The company then made Caribbean and Mediterranean cruises their core business and in 1978 relocated its head office to America. In 1989 the business was taken over by Carnival Cruises, although Holland America Line still trade as its sister company.
The former head office was put on the market in 1984. The transformation of the building into a hotel was the first business venture in the area and so began the regeneration of “Kop van Zuid”, with the aim of making the entire area an extension of Rotterdam centre.
The hotel was opened in 1993 and shortly after, in 1996, the Erasmusbrug was completed which enabled far easier access to the area from the city centre. The hotel is also served by a water taxi and in 1997 the metro station “Wilhelminaplein” was opened. Hotel New York has now earned the status of a “monument building”.
Happily many of the original features have been saved and on entering the reception area you really get a feel of the interior architecture during the early 1900s.
Hotel New York now has a four-star rating with rooms and suites which are individually decorated.
The hotel gained some free publicity when Dutch singer Anouk wrote an album whilst staying there, aptly titled… Hotel New York.
The gift shop is placed at the entrance to the restaurant where you can pick up some unusual keepsakes.
The lofty “grand café” style restaurant offers spectacular views over the River Maas and on a fine day it is a delight to eat al-fresco.
Whilst I was visiting Hotel New York, this Portuguese frigate (part of NATO) was in port!
In addition to the extensive menu there is an Oyster bar, and for those with a sweet tooth, the pastries are from the hotel’s own bakery. So when you are enjoying your oysters with a glass of wine (although I believe that beer is the recommended tipple with oysters) you might wonder about life as it was back in the early 1900s.