Earth Day is an annual event celebrated around the world on the 22nd of April to demonstrate support for environmental protection. More than a billion people celebrate Earth Day to protect the planet from things like pollution and deforestation. By taking part in activities like picking up litter and planting trees, we’re making our world a happier, healthier place to live. The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, when an United States senator from Wisconsin organized a national demonstration to raise awareness about environmental issues. Rallies took place across the country and, by the end of the year, the U.S. government had created the Environmental Protection Agency. By 1990, Earth Day was an event celebrated by more than 140 countries around the globe.
The Dylan Amsterdam believes that good hospitality should be combined with attention for our surroundings. We acknowledge that our industry inevitably impacts the environment and our society and we try to minimize this as much as possible. Therefore, The Dylan Amsterdam collaborates with Earth Water. This water is served in the restaurant, can be found in minibars and the fitness room. Earth Water donates a 100% of their net profit to finance water projects for a better world.
Next to the collaboration with Earth Water, The Dylan Amsterdam works with local products, for example, Dutch cheeses from De Kaaskamer, Lobster, Oysters and seaweed from the Oosterschelde and Tomasu Soy Sauce made in Rotterdam. And the most sustainable way to discover Amsterdam is by bike. Our Roetz bikes are handmade in Amsterdam and made from materials that got a second chance and are available for guests to use.
The code phrase Mr Sands was used in public transport to alert staff and other agencies, such as the police, to an emergency or potential emergency such as a fire without alerting the public and creating panic. The code is believed to originally come from theatres, where ‘Mr Sands’ is used as a code announcement when a fire breaks out. Inspector Sands’ surname stems from the use of sand buckets, which are sometimes used to extinguish fires.
The location where The Dylan is located was a theatre in 1637, also the first municipal theatre in Amsterdam. On May 11th 1772 the entire block burned to the ground during a performance. A canister filled with candle wax caught fire and set the sides of the stage on fire. Many people lost their lives in the panic that followed.
Who: Désirée Stoops
Position: Senior Guest Service Assistant at The Dylan Amsterdam
How long have you been at The Dylan? And can you describe your role?
This year is actually my fifth year at The Dylan. My role is quite varied, which I really enjoy. I love being busy with all kinds of things. As the Senior Guest Services Assistant, GSA for short, I am responsible for all of the reception tasks – so check-in, check out, registration work and assisting as a host. But I am also the certified trainer for new front office colleagues and trainees. I take the lead whenever we have a new member joining our team, acting as their guide and point of contact during their training. Together with the HR department, I also do interviews for new front office trainees.
Have you always wanted to work in hospitality?
Since I was a child, it has always been my dream to work in a hotel. I don’t know why! I’ve just always wanted to do what I do. I studied hotel management in Antwerp and my love of hospitality was solidified during my traineeship in Amsterdam. Hospitality is really my passion and I go to work every day with a smile.
What does a typical day look like?
First things first, arriving at work means checking emails, confirming the arrivals and departures of the day, and to see if there is anything special on the agenda. When I am at reception, the full day begins already with conducting check-ins and check-outs, answering the phone, helping guests. When there is a trainee, they shadow me during the day and I guide them through their role until they are fully trained. I teach them how to be a receptionist in a five-star hotel. And every trainee is different, so that makes it fun and challenging to get every trainee to the high standard that we maintain at The Dylan.
I assume you work closely with the concierges?
The two people in the front office are the GSA and the concierge, so we work closely together on a daily basis. It’s very important to have a good working relationship because it’s our goal to reach that high level of service, and that can only happen if we work as a team. We want to have the guest 100% happy and we always want to be one step ahead of them in order to surprise them throughout their stay. So we are always communicating to make the process as smooth as possible.
Can you walk us through the typical arrival and departure experience of a guest at The Dylan?
As a GSA, I accompany the guest throughout the whole process of their stay, starting with the welcome and ending with the goodbye. When the guests arrive, the concierges go out to meet and welcome them, to assist with luggage, and to guide them to the front desk where the GSA will be waiting. Our check-in process is quite flexible, we offer the guest to have a seat so that they can enjoy our beautiful welcome refreshment. This is usually a drink and a snack prepared daily in our kitchen, and it’s different depending on the time of day. For example, in the morning we could offer tea with a delicious madeleine, and in the evenings a fresh drink and classic Dutch herring.
During the check-in, we confirm all of the guest’s details, including if they booked any tours or reserved a table at a restaurant. Afterwards, we show them to their room, pointing out all the hotel amenities they might make use of during their stay. Some guests have many questions, others prefer to arrange things themselves. We try to keep preferences for each guest in mind during their stay to accommodate them personally.
To prepare for check out, we ask guests if they want a wake-up call or for us to arrange a taxi. The check out then is as smooth as possible. If everything is settled, they can almost just walk out. All in all, it’s an exceptional experience, which is very important for people who are on holiday.
In your opinion, what makes the experience at The Dylan so unique?
It’s the staff and the product working in tandem. As soon as you walk into The Dylan, you’re not in the busy city anymore, you’re in an oasis, a beautiful, historic building where you can truly relax. The atmosphere is quintessentially Amsterdam, with the canal just out front, bikes passing by as you lookout. And every room of the hotel is exceptionally designed, every corner reveals something comfortable.
All of the staff at The Dylan go the extra mile. We keep each other accountable and help push each other to maintain the service at the highest quality. We always try to be one step ahead and make the guest feel at home in a warm, happy atmosphere.
What is your favourite part of what you do?
Definitely making the guest happy. When I see that they appreciate our service and care, that’s the most rewarding feeling. It’s really nice knowing that we all did a good job.
What is your most memorable story involving a guest?
There are so many good ones! But one that really stands out is when we had a VIP guest staying with us. I was on the night shift and she called down for the room service menu, with many lovely dishes – but she said she just wanted a sandwich with peanut butter! It’s not on the menu, but we had some in the staff kitchen. But I thought, ‘We can’t give that to her, it’s from the staff kitchen!’ But I called her up and she was totally fine with it, she just wanted this sandwich. So I made her this really nice peanut butter sandwich and she was so happy. Sometimes it’s those little things that give the most joy.
What are your favourite places in Amsterdam to recommend?
One current favourite is this restaurant called Choux near Central Station. I went with my family and we all loved it and still talk about it. I like all of the local bars, the kind of typical Dutch cafes where you can have a beer and some bites. You can find me in Michelin star restaurants and breweries – I love trying everything and that makes it easy to recommend places to our guests. One place I love – and not just because I work here – is Vinkeles. It’s simply fantastic and I am already looking forward to eating there again. It’s convenient that I work so close!
Who are you and how did you start the company?
Delùsh is a perfume house that focuses specifically on the development and distribution of interior perfumes. In its current form, Delùsh has been around for about six years now, although our journey started much earlier. As a team, we have always had the intrinsic motivation to let elements found in nature play a meaningful role in man-made environments. This ambition stems from the admiration we have for nature and every animal, plant or phenomenon that occurs on our planet. Also the fascination for the way man is able to shape the world around him plays an important role in what we do.
For us, the challenge is to create scents that complement interiors designed with care and dedication. Each of our fragrances is designed to bring the interior to life. If the interior has the intention to radiate intimacy, or is it just a bombastic decor, it is our job and conviction to create a scent that is an addition to any specific interior.
What makes the fragrances of Delùsh different from other fragrances?
We regularly choose ingredients that, due to their complexity in the sourcing and production process, even high-end skin perfumers prefer to avoid. By colleagues in the trade we are often declared crazy. Are we? Maybe a bit, at least for us rule number one, no concessions! When we believe that a certain ingredient is necessary to create a tone in a fragrance, we are obliged to add this ingredient to our stand. Recently we were convinced that given the customer’s background, the precious ingredient saffron could not be missing from the formula.
Not making concessions also means that we take the time to add a final version to our library. Most fragrances are ‘tweaked’ over and over again at least to a version that we as a team fully support.
How did the collaboration with The Dylan start?
Delùsh is always looking for partners where we can really add value to their concept. Partners who make an effort to create a specific setting in which they would like to receive their guests.
For us, The Dylan is an exemplary example of a hotel in which everything is right, including the perfect hospitality mix between restaurant and hotel. The attention that has been put into every detail makes The Dylan a desirable partner for us as well. It is therefore extra special that we have developed our own fragrance line in collaboration with The Dylan.
Why is scent important to a hotel?
A good hotel is characterized by the fact that neither cost nor effort is spared to offer guests the most comfortable stay possible, which leaves an impression on them. So is The Dylan, where love and attention has been put into every detail perceptible to the guest. The delicate bedding, the tactile experience from the chair in the lounge to the ornamental plasterwork in the ceiling, in everything is focused on providing an extraordinary experience for the guest.
When so much attention has been paid to the creation of the interior in which virtually every sense is stimulated, scent is a fairly logical addition. It is important to emphasize here that scent should only be an addition to the characteristics of an interior and never a means in itself. It is a subtle way to underline the values of the hotel or characteristics of the interior.
What is your favourite scent from the collection and why?
Let’s start by saying that the scent Green Tea & Fig that is spread in The Dylan is a very beautiful and pleasant scent. The ingredients next to the green tea and fig such as basil, cucumber and jasmine are responsible for the fresh but distinguished fragrance experience. Given the character of the hotel a very fine match.
When new fragrances are added to the library, this creates a lot of enthusiasm for everyone in our team. Last week we added the scent Mastic Tree & Pistacia to our collection. This scent ended up at number 1. Mastic Tree & Pistacia is characterized by the exceptionally green, nutty scent of the rare Greek mastic tree and fresh pine. The spicy notes of ginger and Sichuan pepper give the fragrance a modern character, while the warm tonka bean leaves you in a hint of elegance.
In short, I don’t really have a favourite, but any fragrance that gives an interior its ‘breath’, as far as I’m concerned, over and over again, is my favourite!
Each year Condé Nast Traveler reaches out the Readers’ Choice Awards. This year over 715,000 travelers have submitted their vote. Since people cannot travel and the vote is based on memories this years’ edition is even more special. Ratings are based on various aspects, like service, food & atmosphere. The Conde Nast Traveler Awards (former Readers’ Travel Awards) started in 1998 in the UK and a year later Readers’ Travel Awards associated with Condé Nast Traveler. It are the longest-running and most prestigious recognition of quality within the travel industry.
Condé Nast Traveler Readers’ Choice Awards are divided in different categories. In the category Northern Europe the best 25 hotels are listed, including 9 Dutch hotels. The Dylan Amsterdam has ended in the third place of the category Northern Europe and with that is ranked as the best hotel in The Netherlands.
The Dylan Amsterdam is proud to be ranked best hotel in The Netherlands. René Bornmann, General Manager of The Dylan Amsterdam said, “We are incredibly proud to be recognized as a Top 3 Hotel in Northern Europe, and as best hotel in The Netherlands”. Employees of The Dylan are grateful that their hard work, to make every moment of our guests a memorable moment, has been rewarded. They’re very grateful for the recognition and would like to thank all loyal guests for their votes and support during these unusual times.
What does your role at The Dylan entail and what does your typical day look like?
I am one of three concierges who work at The Dylan. I am there for the guests, to meet their needs and fulfill any wishes they might have, like if they want to book a restaurant or a flight or arrange transportation. Whatever their request, I am there as a concierge to take care of it.
What did your career look like before The Dylan?
I started out as a doorman at the Golden Tulip hotel in the centre of Amsterdam. After a year I became a starting concierge, I was fourth in line of the concierges. I worked myself up as a department head and then worked in that role for seven years. It was quite challenging, I had a department of about ten people. Balancing this responsibility along with those of my personal life became overwhelming, so I decided on my own to reduce my role to be just a concierge and not the head of the team. The hotel manager at the time understood and appreciated my honesty. So I became a concierge again.
Do you prefer this change?
Definitely. I love my role as it is now. After a year or two as a concierge again, my colleague Michael asked me to work at The Dylan. So I was at the Golden Tulip for twenty years and then now twelve years at The Dylan. It’s a big change to work for a hotel with several hundred rooms to one with only forty or so. There is more contact with the guest and you can give great personalised service. That’s difficult in a hotel with two hundred rooms. There it’s like a factory.
You make recommendations to guests – how do you stay informed about things going on in Amsterdam?
The Dylan is one of the most well-known hotels in Amsterdam, so a lot of event organisers come to us and inform or invite us to new experiences, like restaurant openings. On top of that, we are three people in the concierge team, so we keep each other informed. It’s a team effort. Since everyone has their personal interests and different networks, we bring those together.
What’s your favourite part of your job?
The people, for sure. I understand people quite well. I can recognise quite quickly what kind of guest I have in front of me and what their needs are, what they want out of their stay. Of course it’s not 100% accurate, but I can definitely read my guests and this helps to tailor their experience.
And what’s the most challenging part?
I always hope that guests enjoy their stay and that they leave satisfied by the entire service throughout the hotel. That’s how we keep our guests coming back. Our service level in every department is incredibly high and we all work together to keep it that way. Everyone wants to do their job well and that’s the challenge every day.
In your opinion, what makes an excellent concierge?
You have to be a listener and truly understand what a guest needs. You must do your best and always try to go above and beyond. It’s important to see the little details that make an entire stay memorable, from the limousine pick-up at the airport to the welcome, the rooms and also the goodbye. The guest can feel if you do things with passion – even if something doesn’t go as expected – so the more fun you have at your job, the better you are at it.
What’s the most fun / interesting / memorable request you’ve ever had?
Over so many years, of course there are many memorable guests and situations. As a concierge, I get a variety of questions or requests. One that stands out is during the release of the new 101 Dalmatians movie, a guest asked where would be the best place in Amsterdam to find a puppy! And then I start researching to find a solution to the request. Of course there are more simple wishes. If a guest tells me a little bit about their expectations and I recommend a certain restaurant, and after they return and tell me it was exactly what they had hoped for, then that’s a great feeling.
What would you recommend to guests to do in Amsterdam?
What I always recommend to guests who are new to Amsterdam – and it doesn’t matter where they’re from – I tell them to first not make any plans. First just walk through the city and explore. I have several good routes they can take. It’s a much different experience of the city, much more purposeful and you can really take in the surroundings and the sights. Then after a first exploration, I recommend renting a bike and then experiencing Amsterdam in that way. There is so much to see and so much variety, and that’s what makes the city so special.
The architect, Jacob van Campen, was commissioned to build a stone theatre in 1632.
Van Campen was inspired by classical Italian architecture, as was later shown when Amsterdam Town Hall (the current Royal Palace on the Dam) was built. He must have been mainly influenced by the Teatro Olimpico in Vicenza, a building by the hand of his great mentor and presumed teacher, Andrea Palladio. The theatre was already too small within thirty years, though it was possible to appreciably expand the complex by the purchase of several neighbouring buildings.
The play “Gijsbrecht van Aemstel” was performed during the opening ceremony in January 1637. This play was written by Holland’s greatest poet, Joost van den Vondel. Its success was enormous and formed the basis of a tradition that has come down to us in the present century. “Gijsbrecht van Aemstel” has been performed in Amsterdam every January since then. Many national and international companies have performed it over the years. Many Dutch plays were performed, and also ones written by Shakespeare, Molière, Voltaire and Corneille.
It is of particular note that Ariana Nozeman was to make her debut here in 1655 as the first woman on the Dutch stage. She made her debut in 1655 in the drama ”Incomparable Ariana”. Men used to play all the female roles before this time. She is credited as the first ballet dancer in The Netherlands. She was often seen on stage together with her husband Gillis Nozeman either as a couple or as antagonists. Their daughter Maria Nozeman (born 1652) followed in her mother’s footsteps; she entered the stage at the age of six years.
The Nozemans supplemented their theatre incomes by running an inn called The Camel on one of the Amsterdam canals.