On 27 June, Volkshotel, Amsterdam, opened its doors to much anticipation from the Amsterdam public. The building has a rich history, De Volkskrant – one of the Netherlands’ biggest newspapers – operated from there for 42 years. After the newspaper moved out, the building was transformed by the Urban Resort Foundation into workspaces for hundreds of creatives. This element still exists within the new Volkshotel, but to a lesser extent: 85 workspaces can be found in the Broedplaats VKG in the back wing of the building.

The interior of the multipurpose hotel was predominately the task of Dutch designer Bas van Tol. Nine ‘special’ rooms were subject to an open call for designers with the winning creatives designing one room each. Room 302: Ms Big is included in one of 163 standard rooms designed by Van Tol. The one time photography ‘darkroom’, is now a simple guestroom. Worn tiles on the floor are the originals and crude illustrations on the wall were drawn by one of the newspaper’s original illustrators.

The most adventurous of the nine rooms, quite literally, is Room 305: Edmund, named after explorer Edmund Hillary. A central wooden structure, inspired by mountains, houses a double bed, a shower and, on top, a bath surrounded by a landscape of cacti. Unfortunately, the designers, Jos Blom and Jasper Eustace, drew the short straw on the view – overlooking a dull, flat roof, guests are deprived of the panoramic views enjoyed by many of the other rooms. A touch of humour is added to all rooms by Amsterdam-based illustrator Gijs Kast whose witty hand drawings adorn the toiletries.

The three day line-up of events on the opening weekend showed the establishment’s intentions to be more than just a hotel. Handy maps given out ask: ‘why go to Dam square, when you have Amsterdam East at your feet? Why, indeed. While the hotel is still only is in its opening stage – parts of the building are still unfinished – the extensive map only serves to emphasize the merits of staying East-side.