When I see a small octagonal tower surrounded by red brick houses, I stop in amazement: this was going to be one memorable night in my own princess tower!
Hotel de Windketel is located in Amsterdam’s eco-friendly neighbourhood, in Westerpark. The centre of the area is located only a few minutes stroll away and here you will find, for example, restaurants, cinema and “slave-free” chocolate shop Tony’s Chocolonely.
Windketel stands serenely in the Watertorenplein square, next to a shining white water tower. The square is quiet: cars will not bother you here as we are in Amsterdam’s first car-free neighbourhood.
Soon one of the hotel’s owners, Liesbeth, arrives to let me in. Hotel de Windketel used to belong to Amsterdam’s water works: in those times, a copper pressure kettle used to be located in the small free-standing tower. Now, guests can rent the octagonal tower for 325 € for a minimum two-night stay – thanks to a group of residents who formed a coop to transform the little town into a luxury hotel.
The tower was built in 1897. The huge red brick building you see in front of the tower dates from the same year: here, a massive pump engine belonging to the Amsterdam water works used to attract visitors from near and far. Now, there is a delightful restaurant Café Restaurant Amsterdam in the building.
Liesbeth opens the door and I step into the tower: a cottage-like atmosphere greets me warmly. A well-equipped kitchen is located a few steps below the ground. A big wooden table dominates the space. Hotel de Windketel was renovated and refurbished in 2013 and now, the space oozes Dutch design coolness and sustainability.
When I climb the slightly winding stairs to the second floor, I feel like I was visiting the Moomins! A special thought must have been put into decorating the octagonal tower, but if there had been any problems, they have been solved with and elegant and homey ease.
The space in the living room is dominated by a round carpet, which reminds me of a cut tree trunk, and an inviting looking Montis sofa. On the third floor, you will find the bedroom adorned with two skylight windows. Luckily, there are two bathrooms in the Windketel; one downstairs in the kitchen, the other one upstairs on the third floor.
The architect responsible for transforming the former pressure kettle into a luxury hotel is Paul Westerman. At the end of the 1990s, a group of local creatives made living quarters out of a former warehouse in the square. Looking out their windows, they saw the little tower, and an idea started to form. The group decided to act, and got a permission to change the tower into a hotel. Hotel de Windketel opened its doors in 2003.
Windketel is a self-service apartment, but if you are a holiday-maker who doesn’t wish to cook, there are plenty of restaurant options to choose from: just opposite you’ll find the afore-mentioned Café Restaurant Amsterdam, and a few minutes stroll away, in Westerpark, you’ll find various options for food and drinks alike. The picturesque area of Jordaan is also only about fifteen minutes walk away, and tram number 10 whisks you into the city centre in a jiffy!
But I decide to stay in my little princess tower for the night. After being on the road for so long it is a luxury to be able to skip the restaurant menus and cook in my own kitchen: tomato pasta, a glass of red wine, hot shower and a little moment of reading, and I am ready to climb into my bed. I pull the blanket to my ears and say goodnight to quiet Amsterdam.
Thank you Hotel de Windketel, for transforming this cynical Finn into a princess – even if it was only for one night!
P.S. I wish to thank Hotel de Windketel for the opportunity to stay in this elegant and historic hotel. Amsterdam’s Hotel de Windketel is part of my series exploring Europe’s historic hotels and stylish stays. The collaboration does not affect the content of my writing, as I choose only culturally and/or historically significant hotels for the series. By this, I wish to ensure inspiring and atmospheric moments for my readers on their travels.
2 night minimum stay, starting from 325 €