What is it? Built as a bank in the late 19th century and later turned into a music school, the Conservatorium took a quantum leap in 2011, when it sprang back to life as a hotel. The northeast side was glassed in to create a penthouse, meeting rooms and an atrium brasserie and lounge (below) that is now widely hailed as "Amsterdam's living room". The melding of ancient and ultra-modern falls not far short of perfect, with hi-tech folded into a decades-old superstructure and garnished with an utterly Dutch brand of hospitality that balances efficiency with charm. No ifs, buts or any other conditionals - this is a fabulous hotel.
And the rooms? As a historic building, the Conservatorium's façade - including its elongated arched windows - could not be altered in any way, so about half its 129 rooms and suites are duplexes. There are more than a dozen room layouts, all with a natty contemporary design and bespoke furnishings. Wi-fi and multi-channel televisions are standard nowadays but what other hotel would consider adding a crushable city map that doubles as a bike-seat cover to its minibar stock?
Will we want to eat here? You could spend all day in the lounge/brasserie - and a swathe of executives, high-net worth travellers, ladies who lunch until teatime and sundry others with a fondness for superlative food and drink in congenial surroundings do just that. The crowd segues out onto the terrace in warmer months. Afternoon tea is a highlight any time of the year, with the East India Company's finest brewing in the pot and northern European snacks such as herring on rye bread facing off with apple and raisin scones. Slightly more formal, Taiko has an open kitchen and décor with more than a passing nod to Japanese aesthetics. Chef Schilo van Coevorden specialises in Asian and world classics and the sommelier is as clued-up on sake as he is on sauvignon blanc.
The bar is called Tunes and it dances to the syncopating rhythm of gin and tonic. Forty types of gin (Tanqueray Rangpur and Geranium Dry are favourites) stand behind the transparent bar, with half-a-dozen tonics. Asian tapas and sushi play counterpoint to the alcoholic roster while an in-house DJ spins at the end of the week.
What lies beyond? There's an exceedingly smart gym and spa on site, of course, as well as the exclusive Van Baerle shopping gallery, and more megabucks retail therapy in nearby streets such as PC Hoofstraat. But the Conservatorium's trump card is the out-of-this-world-class museums a crayon-toss from the main door, as well as the Royal Concertgebouw hall, which has exquisite acoustics few other venues can match. The 47-hectare Vondelpark is more or less on the doorstep and pancake-flat Amsterdam's other attractions are easily reached by tram or bike; bakfiets - an electrified cycle/box-seat combo - can carry four small kids.
What's the bottom line? Room rates start at €545 (HK$4,736) a night; pre-booked breakfast from €29.50. For details, visit conservatoriumhotel.com.