The nhow Amsterdam RAI Hotel is a striking building along the Zuidas (southern axis) of the Amsterdam Ring (A10) highway. With its three triangular blocks stacked atop one another, each at a different angle, it looks like a Rubik’s cube in play. I often passed it when it was being constructed and it never failed to intrigue me. It was completed just as the COVID-19 pandemic struck so I never got to check it out… until now. I treated myself and my partner to a weekend there to celebrate our anniversary. So, what was it like to stay at nhow Amsterdam RAI? Well, here’s my review:
My stay at nhow Amsterdam RAI
Designed by OMA, a world-renowned Dutch architect firm, the nhow Amsterdam RAI has 650 rooms, making it the largest hotel in the Netherlands. Its design was inspired by the advertising column in front of the RAI convention centre. I’m not a fan of big hotels, however, I was excited to stay in this unique building.
The perfect location!
Situated next to the RAI Convention centre, various train/metro stations and the A10 highway, nhow Amsterdam RAI (map) is a stone’s throw away from the Zuidas financial district, just 10 minutes by metro to the city centre and 10 minutes by car/train to Schiphol Airport. In addition, the best sights of Amsterdam are within easy reach, making it perfect for business people and tourists alike.
Check-in was swift and the front office staff were friendly and helpful. During the booking process, I opted for a room with a city view. I was allocated room 1101, which had a city view, but, as I later discovered, the views from the higher floors (18 and above) are much better.
The room itself was bright and spacious, and I loved the little design touches, such as the fish in the bedside tables, the old-fashioned telephone and the cool kettle. The bedside reading lights were well-designed too, as you could adjust both the height as well as the angle of the lamp. Love it when cool design is coupled with handy functionality!
The bathroom was of a decent size with a fabulous rain shower and refillable toiletries. The king-size bed and pillows were incredibly comfortable – I slept very well that night!
There was also a small fridge, which I later filled with wine and snacks I purchased at the small shop on the ground floor. Above the fridge were a coffee/tea making corner, with a kettle and espresso machine.
I started my exploration of the hotel by taking the lift to the 17th floor. There’s a restaurant there where guests can enjoy breakfast and dinner. I found a striking restaurant with fantastic views of the city and the suburbs; I even spotted the Utrecht skyline, some 30 kilometers away! The restaurant also has three outdoor terraces, each with a different view.
I didn’t have dinner there but breakfast the next morning sure was a treat. It was a Sunday morning and the breakfast buffet was large and varied. There was also a station with sparkling wine (cava) and ingredients to make a Bloody Mary. Nice! The food was great but the view was definitely the highlight!
As I explored the hotel, I found 3 gyms (!) on the 9th, 16th and 19th floors. On the first floor was a large lounge and bar, as well as the Guest Relations counters. This is the most colourful space in the hotel, with brightly coloured Asian-African-Middle-Eastern-inspired figures and motifs covering the walls and floor. My partner and I found a corner, ordered some wine and simply watched other guests taking photos and selfies of this cool space.
One architectural detail that caught my eye as I looked at the building from the outside were the circular ‘skylights’ under each protruding section. I searched for these inside the building and they were exactly what I thought they were: glass floors. They can be found on various floors such as the 18th floor.
We had a lovely stay at nhow Amsterdam RAI Hotel. It has a lot going for it: a fantastic location, great views, comfy rooms, a very cool interior and terrific staff. My only concern is the size of the hotel, with its 650 rooms. I wonder, considering the relatively small reception area and the lounge/bar, how it’ll be when the hotel is fully booked. That said, whether you’re visiting Amsterdam as a tourist or for business/convention purposes, or if you’re looking for a weekend/couples getaway, the nhow Amsterdam RAI certainly is a hotel for all reasons. Check the rates for nhow Amsterdam RAI (Booking.com).
Read about how I celebrated my 50th birthday in Amsterdam