Perfect 48 hours in Amsterdam by Jurgen van der Zalm

Day 1

08:00 hours

I start the day at “Healthclub Jordaan”. A Gym in the heart of the famous Jordaan district. An hour of sweating under the guidance of my personal coach, Mike van Hoorn. In this gym you work out with Amsterdam’s finest: from born and bred Jordaan people to fit girls and from gym rats to expats, everyone is welcome, just leave your ego at the door.

09:30 hours

Time for breakfast @ Bakers & Roasters. A glass orange juice for the vitamins and a chocolate powershake! The powershake is made from milk, peanut butter, banana and protein powder. Followed by two free-range eggs sunny-side-up on hot buttered toast with bacon, along with one avocado and a mini stack of pancakes & organic Canadian maple syrup. One of the best breakfast spots in town!

11.30 hours

One of my favourite activities on my days off is visiting exhibitions in Amsterdam, like inspiring modern and contemporary art. You can and will find these rare artworks at  Moco Museum in Amsterdam.

14.00 hours
Lunch time! From “Museumplein” you walk within 15 minutes to one of my favorite lunch spot in town, “Dignita“. De Hoftuin is hidden behind the Hermitage at the Amstel in Amsterdam. Dignita has been located in De Hoftuin for 4 years now. A place where you can enjoy an extensive lunch and escape the hustle and bustle of the city. Their menus highlight the seasons and reinvent traditional brunch classics with a twist. They focus on serving you the freshest food with every attention paid to detail they also use locally sourced ingredients and that’s what I like the most!

15:30 hours

One of my favorite streets in Amsterdam: “The Utrechtstestraat”. The special thing about the Utrechtsestraat is of course its central location in the middle of the Grachtengordel, but what I like the most is that all shops are specialists. Many family businesses that attach great importance to quality, service and hospitality. My regular stops are @ “Tromp”, a true Amsterdam cheese shop, and a quick stop @ “De Gouden Ton” for a nice bottle of wine.

17.30 hours

When the weather is nice, I like to go to the “Rembrandt park”, I live within 5 minutes from this beautiful park. And if you ask me, this is the most beautiful park in Amsterdam. Here you find the locals. It is large, very green with giant trees and streams. There is no restaurant, so a perfect place to relax on a blanket with cheeses from “tromp” and the cooled bottle of white wine from “De Gouden Ton”.

20.00 hours
For dishes that will make you lick your fingers, one of my favorites bistros is “Cafe Cliche” in Amsterdam-East. It feels like your second living room.

 

22.30 hours
Saturday night is perfect for a visit to the Hoxton, where it is always busy, they have a nice cocktail menu and the atmosphere is always relaxed. Before you go home, do not forget to take a photobooth session!!

 

Day 2

09.00 hours
for my groceries I always go to “landmarkt”, there you will find only fresh products, direct from the farmer, gardener, butcher, fishmonger and baker. On the way back I make a quick stop @ the “Bakhuys”, this is a place in the city where a family business bakes authentic bread in a wood-fired stone oven. You can also sit there, preferably in the morning sun on the small terrace.  Drink a delicious cup of coffee and do not forget to order a Muesli/nuts bun, these buns are the best in Amsterdam!

10.00 hours

Everybody who knows Amsterdam, knows the Albert Cuyp Market! The Market is originated in 1905 and is one of the favorite locations for locals, but also for tourists, students, day trippers and entrepreneurs. The Albert Cuyp Market is located in one of the most popular areas of Amsterdam. You can experience authentic Amsterdam atmosphere, humor and “gezelligheid” in the streets. I make a quick stop @Osaka ball, the Japanese munchies foods, you definitely need to try the Okonomiyaki, Takoyaki and ramen!

11:30 hours
Towards the 9 streets! This cosy neighbourhood is full of boutiques that opens at 11:00 AM. Along the way,  I  always enjoy looking at the beautiful canal houses. One of my favourite Boutiques is @ Hud Amsterdam. When I pass by, I always walk in quickly. And never come out empty-handed. The owner is always friendly and up to date with the latest trends!

12.00 hours
Time to go to the barber @ van de Hare. You can find me every 2 weeks at this place. This is really a moment of relaxation for me. This barbershop was founded more than 85 years ago. Van de Hare Amsterdam Barbers is located in the heart of Amsterdam near Dam Square and combines a rich history with contemporary Amsterdam flair

14.00 hours

Lunch time! For the best Dim-Sum and Bejing Duck you go to “sea palace” along with a nice pot of jasmine tea. This is the largest floating restaurant in Europe. You just find a piece of China in Amsterdam next to the Amsterdam Central station.

17.00 hours

Sailing with a classic boat from “classic boat dinners”. This is a small shipping company, consisting of two beautifully restored classic boats. My favorite is “The Muze”, the captain can pick you up wherever you want. And he will cruise you through the Amsterdam canals, filled with historic treasures. This is the perfect way to explore Amsterdam from the water.

19:00 hours
After the boat cruise I go to Cafe Parlotte. A very cosy wine cafe in the middle of the Jordaan with an exceptionally wine list. You can easily sit here for 2/3 hours with a drink while enjoying tasty dishes.

21.00 hours

NNea pizza, you won’t eat a pizza like this anywhere else in Amsterdam. And while you’re in this part of town just walk around the corner afterwards and get 3 scoops of pistachio ice cream @ Massimo Gelato, WoW!

 

 

The perfect 48 hours in Amsterdam by Roel Ruijs

My Ideal 48 hours in Amsterdam, arrive early, drop your bags and head into town! I do have to warn you, my list contains a lot of sweets, I love to eat! Maybe that’s why I cycle a lot! So my first advise would be to rent one of our “The Dylan X Roetz” Circular […]

The perfect 48 hours in Amsterdam by Michael Wigman

Day 1

What is a better way to start the day than with breakfast at Moak Pancakes? And if you’re a not really a breakfast person, crab a coffee at Koffiespot at the Elandsgracht.

Nothing is more Dutch than cycling, so get on your bike and cycle along the shops and maybe stop by one of my favourite shops: Hutspot, Samsoe & Samsoe, X Bank, Baskets. When you are tired of cycling, have some food and drinks at De Leeuw Zuren, The Cow Project, Ebbe Groenten, Vindict, Ton Overmars or De Logie!

There’s no better way to get to know Amsterdam than by boat. Have a boat tour with Nico and get lunch at Bar Brasserie OCCO to eat on the boot. When you set foot on the ground again, go to Foam and continue with an art gallery tour. After, get on your bike again and cycle to the Foodhallen for some late afternoon drinks and local delicacies and end the evening with dinner at Scheepskameel, Kien, Kaagman&Kortekaas or Gebr. Hartering. If you don’t want the night to be over yet, have some late-night drinks at Club NL or Paradiso!

Day 2

Again, start your day with some good breakfast at Berry. If you need a coffee after yesterday’s late-night, I would recommend Lot 61.

Bike through the city to explore the small streets, take a break at one of the benches on the canal side and see the boats go by. Got hungry? Have an early lunch at New King, an authentic Chinese restaurant in the heart of Amsterdam. To make the day complete, visit a match from Ajax at the Johan Cruyff Arena. The stadium is best reached via public transport.

Today we dine at Par Hasard, where everything is possible. From fries with mayonnaise at the bar to a 4-course dinner with the most delicious wines. And if you are looking for the perfect brown bar to end the evening, look no further. Let’s go to Café de Doffer in the Runstraat and when the lights in the pub turn on, it is time to go home.

The Perfect 48 Hours In Amsterdam by Stewart Rowberry

Day 1

The 3 best ways to navigate Amsterdam is by walking, bike or by boat. The city has a very good public transport system but there is so much more to see on foot. After breakfast, head down the Keizersgracht, taking in the beautiful Dutch architecture on reaching the Nieuwe Spiegelstraat (the antique neighbourhood) turn right and head towards the Rijksmuseum. In a short walk from the Rijksmuseum, (depending on your taste) there are also the following museums: Moco, Van Gogh & the Stedelijk (please buy your tickets online with a time slot) 2 hours would be sufficient in each museum.

Looking for some great lunch options? Check out MOMO, Rijks, the Seafood brasserie or the hotel Conservatorium Brasserie.

Once the second museum is completed walk towards the Pijp and maybe have a drink in one of the numerous cafe/bars by the Albert Cuyp market or stroll through the market and try and find a bargain. When you turn left at the end of the market continue walking till you reach the Utrechtsestraat, a lovely shopping street with clothing stores, delicatessen, music (cd & lps) and restaurants. this will automatically bring you to the Rembrandsplein with it’s sculpture of the Nachtwacht and it’s Grand cafes and bars. If you prefer a typical brown cafe continue walking to Spui and sample a Dutch beer and “bitterballen” at Cafe Hoppe (one of the oldest brown bars in Amsterdam). Dinner after a long day can be enjoyed with a short walk to the following: Johannes, Bussia, Sagardi, Indonesian Kitchen, Breda, MOMO and Kaagman &Kortekaas.

Day 2

Why not rent a bike and see the city as a “Amsterdammer”, cycle to the Jordaan and visit the Anne Frank museum. Then bike through the canals and the interlocking streets to get a real feel of Amsterdam life and take coffee or lunch by the Westerstraat / Lindengracht at one of the many cafes, Cafe Thyssen, Daalder, Boca, Pancake Bakery….. Afterwards bike to the 9 Streets which consists of Amsterdam’s boutique stores of local designers and others, Samsoe Samsoe, Hester Van Eeghen, Cowboys To Catwalk, Skins, Replay, Felippe K, Kaaskamer ….

At the end of the day, you have to of course experience Amsterdam by water, take a boat trip with Captain Nico for at least 1,5 hours to get the perfect experience and he will explain the Amsterdam history whilst you enjoy a glass of wine from his excellent wine list or maybe something non-alcoholic onboard his beautiful antique salon boat. Dinner can be enjoyed at the hotel restaurant Vinkeles, restaurant 212, Incanto, Izakaya.

An interview with Désirée Stoops

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!

 

The perfect 48 hours in Amsterdam by Joeki Genet

Day 1

Best thing after waking up is to treat yourself with a coffee in Oud West at “Trakteren”. Stroll through the nine streets in direction of Spui and visit the American book center or Hoogstins Bookstore in the Kinkerstraat. Feeling a bit hungry? Enjoy some sourdough bread at Bakery Levain et le vin or if you prefer bagels, try one at Flo’s Appetizing!

Rent a bike and cycle towards the Noordermarkt. At Saturdays it is worth to visit the Farmers Market for fresh biological products or go around the corner to the Lindengrachtmarkt for your weekend groceries.  On Monday morning the Noordermarkt has flea market for vintage clothing and other unique products.

Have a delicious sandwich at Smallworld or sit on the terrace of Café Thijssen and order a “tosti”.  In the mood for a local beer? Café de Tuin in the Jordaan is perfect to have some drinks with friends before you go to an early concert at Melkweg or Paradiso. Of course an Ajax match at the Johan Cruyff Arena can’t be missed from the list.  Have dinner after at  Kien at Witte the Withplein and end the evening in Cafe ‘t Loosje or Club NL.

 

Day 2

In need of a good coffee to start this day? Take a coffee to go at Lot61 and visit one of the many boutiques in the 9-streets or one of my favourite shops; Fillipa K, Baskets, Sneaker District, Paul Smith. If you would like to take something home for your loved ones, buy some flowers at the Pompon or go to the Logie for a beautiful bottle of wine. Reload during brunch at Wilhelmina and try the Reuben or Floris sandwich! After, take a long walk in the beautiful Vondelpark or just sit on a bench an watch the day go by. Have some “bitterballen” or a Special beer at Brewery ‘t Ij / Blauwe Theehuis. Too early for a beer? They have some delicious hot chocolate as well.

Bar Parry is a perfect bar to start your evening with some good wine and some snacks. For dinner go to the Golden Brown bar which is one of the hottest spots on the Westside of Amsterdam and it’s known for their good Thai food. Or if you are a fan of Ramen, try some at Betsubara or Otemba!

 

An Interview with Eddy Bierman

Concierge

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.

 

 

Jouke’s Choice: Cheese

It is time for ‘’cheese’’ in this new issue of The Dylan Mag. And the honor is mine to tell you about it.

My name is Jouke. I have been working at Restaurant Vinkeles and Bar Brasserie OCCO since 2011 and since a couple of years I am the one who is responsible for all the different kinds of cheeses we serve in our Restaurant and Brasserie. I took this responsibility just because I am crazy about cheese. You can wake me up for every kind of cheese actually.

Cheese is a beautiful product, available in different kind of milks and countless varieties: fresh cheeses, young and old cheeses, blue cheese, with an ashy layer, creamy and soft, sharpness, you name it. Even the craziest cheese you can imagen is being made in the most fantastic way. The most familiar milks which cheese is being made from are of the cow, the goat and the sheep. But there are also examples of the ones from the buffalo, horses, donkeys, camels, reindeers and yak milk.

Cheeses are being made all over the world. Why do we limit us in Vinkeles to only Dutch cheeses? The answer is simple; everywhere across the world you can consume French or Italian cheeses. Dutch cheese, except for a few Gouda’s or Edammers, aren’t available in other countries. With great pleasure we want to share the knowledge about our pearls of the Dutch cheeses, something we are proud of.

For example think about the goat cheeses of Hanneke Kuppens from Zevenhuizen. She is involved from the beginning until the end and that is something you taste. We will always serve a piece from Hanneke’s creations. Just as the Remeker cheeses of Jan Dirk van de Voort from Lunteren. This farm produces on a biodynamic way since 2004 and I think this is the way that the most beautiful, hard cheeses of our country are made.

The last year I have become familiar with the cheeses of farmhouse the Oudwijker in Lopikerkapel. They make a lot of cheeses from among cow- and buffalo milk. All the cheeses are remarkable, piece by piece. Come and enjoy of the Colosso or the Fiore! These names doesn’t sound Dutch, because they learned the technique in Italy. Although they make it on their Utrechtse farm and on their own way.

There are many more and we like to get inspired. We work closely together with the Kaaskamer, a cheese store on the corner next to the hotel. The two owners are really enthusiastic who will let me taste all new cheeses. This in combination with the different seasons gives us a nice regularly change on our plateau.

The cheeses are presented on two large shelves in the size of the table. The wow-effect that the guest have when I show them our plateau is such a great feeling. Guests don’t have to be modest, they can choose as much as they want and we’ll come back with their favorite cheese just to enjoy one last piece. It’s served on marble of different sizes. Also the confiture and types of bread are served on these marble plates. The table is full and that looks so good, for a perfect photo moment.

With great pleasure I welcome you in Restaurant Vinkeles and I hope you will agree that a piece of cheese is a must after the main course…

 

 

An Interview with Sjoerd van der Veen

Maintenance

What do you do at The Dylan and how long have you been here?

I work in the maintenance department at The Dylan. My background and skills are in carpentry and that’s primarily what I do. Many people are surprised that a hotel has a full time carpenter. But in 5-star-hotel like The Dylan, there are always projects for improvement in order to uphold the standard and luxury experience for our guests. A project that I might work on is a new closet for a room or structures for the foyer, for example.

All together I’ve worked at The Dylan for six years, however I left for a while in between in order to gain new experiences and sharpen my skills.

What’s the best part of your job?
Realizing projects in my own workshop. I love when a design or planned change to the hotel is suggested and I can think about the best approach. Watching as it all comes together is such a fantastic experience.

So there is a lot of creativity involved?
Definitely, from both sides, so from management and from my end. Mixing it together and seeing the result is very rewarding.

On an average day, do you collaborate a lot or do you tend to work alone?
It’s a bit of both. The technical service manager could approach me at any time with a project that needs to be handled right away. Then of course we have longer term projects that require constant communication between teams. Next week, for instance, we will be renovating a few showers and after that some rooms are getting new floors. We are never sitting still.

What does a typical day on the maintenance team look like?
On the maintenance team we have altogether five people and we all start our shifts together, which is very nice. We start the day with a coffee and twice a week one of us goes to the bakery to get some gevulde koeken, then we share what we did the evening before, check our emails. Most of the time we know what the day ahead will look like. If there is work in the kitchen, we have to start early because at 11 am the cooks are preparing lunch.

On a normal day, housekeeping might call and report something that needs to be checked out in a room. In a hotel there is always something. But if there is nothing urgent, we focus on our longer term projects. And even then no day is the same.

How do you contribute to the mission of giving guests an unforgettable stay?
We are always upgrading the hotel, in and outside of the rooms. Together the maintenance team ensures that The Dylan looks perfect at all times. I love the building so it’s a real pleasure to uphold it.

What is the most challenging aspect of your role?
The most challenging thing is getting a job done in time. Many unexpected things can happen that might delay a project, but we always try to turn it around in time. It’s also important to ensure that everyone is happy with a result, especially keeping the guests in mind.

That’s always challenging with hospitality.
Indeed! I actually never thought I would work in hospitality when I’m older. And The Dylan is the perfect hotel to work at.

What’s your favorite place in Amsterdam to recommend to guests?
That always depends on what they are looking for, but I genuinely enjoy every part of Amsterdam. Just cycling through the city and discovering hidden streets. In Amsterdam there is so much behind every building, every door has a story behind it. You can always find something interesting to discover. I really like this and encourage guests to just explore. The Amsterdam forest is also an enchanting place to visit, so I would certainly recommend going there this Spring.

 

 

An Interview with Joeki Genet

Guest Service Assistant & Concierge

What does your role at The Dylan entail and what does your typical day look like?
I am both a Concierge and a Guest Service Assistant at The Dylan. As a Guest Service Assistant, I am responsible for the welcome, the check-in, the guests’ needs during their stay, the check-out and the goodbye. And as a Concierge, I also tend to all arrange the things outside of the hotel. These tasks are arranging private tours and museum tickets, limousine transfers, making recommendations and reservations for a restaurant, giving suggestions on how to spend the day and much more.

My day starts with reviewing the notes on guests, so who has checked in and who is checking out, reviewing what they have requested and preparing for whatever that might be. We are in touch with some guests already per email, to arrange an itinerary or any special wishes before they arrive. During the day, new things might come up, so it’s good to always be prepared for that.

You make recommendations to guests – how do you stay informed about things going on in Amsterdam?
There are always new things popping up. I stay informed by cycling around the city or talking to friends and colleagues in the business. It’s important to keep your eyes and ears open and to be curious about what is going on.

Is it challenging to give recommendations when so many people look ahead online?
Yes, it can be. Luckily I am a born-and-bred Amsterdammer. The internet is very informative, but there are some things that just the locals know, like places of the beaten path. Some people like to stick to the evergreen sights and attractions, but others want to see Amsterdam from a different angle. I try to understand each guest and what they might like and make as personalized recommendation as possible, which is something the internet cannot provide. It’s also easier to trust a local’s recommendations over an online review.

What’s your favourite part of your job?
I always compare what I do at The Dylan to professional team sports. You have to be a team player and work together to win. And you’re not going to win if you don’t work hard. It’s like playing for Ajax or the New York Yankees: You need to have professional people and you need to perform every day, day after day.
The absolute best feeling is when we do our utmost best. When guests tell us they had a wonderful stay, when they come back to stay with us or when they recommend us to others, that is motivation to keep performing at our level.

And what’s the most challenging?
To always work at 100% or higher. I believe there is always room to improve, even if it’s just in the little things. If you see something that can make the job easier or the guest happier, try to do it the next time. Always try to optimize and make your job more perfect, through communication or through processes. A little thing can make a big difference to make the guest experience even smoother.

In your opinion, what makes an excellent Guest Service Assistant and Concierge?
It is crucial to understand people, to know them without actually knowing them. To have a feeling of who you have in front of you. You have to pick up certain signals. One guest might like to go to the newest nightclub with loud music, but the other might enjoy a hidden restaurant that’s quiet and cosy. The second step is to always be a step ahead. Just like in chess.

What’s the most fun / interesting / memorable request you’ve ever had?
Every day is different and every guest is interesting. Nothing too crazy has happened yet, but there is still time for that!

What would you recommend to guests to do and see in the new year?
2019 was the year of Rembrandt, so this year I recommend visitors to also discover the smaller museums which have fantastic exhibitions. I also really hope that it will snow this winter and that the canals will freeze over. It’s such a beautiful and romantic sight, to see people ice skating over the canals. You can enjoy traditional pea soup and sip a hot chocolate with cream. January is the kick-off of the tulip season and on the 18th everybody is invited to pick their own free tulips on Dam Square.