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One of Europe’s most unique luxury hotels, in a converted Amsterdam crane, is becoming a popular haunt of rock stars and visiting DJs, but started out as a long and costly renovation for its owner.
Visible for kilometres across the River IJ, the canal city’s main natural waterway, the 50-metre-high Crane Hotel Faralda with its long jib that was once used by the NDSM ship building company, was bought six years ago by a developer who restored and converted it into a studio and party venue that has three lofty hotel suites at the top of the tower.
Edwin Kornmann Rudi says he “saw the old harbour crane not as a piece of crap, but as a monumental structure” that potentially “had a lot of space inside”.
Having succeeded against other interested bidders with his hotel pitch to the municipal burghers, who he says were keen to have “what they call the Eiffel Tower of Amsterdam” usefully repurposed, Kornmann Rudi – ordinarily a developer of medical clinics and hospitals – then spent four years and a motza on the enterprise.
“Compared with (more conventional) hotel hospitality suites, these were excessively expensive”, he says.
Not only did he have to dismantle, transport away and restore the steel crane parts, the three stacked and two level suites, which have bedrooms, ensuites and lounge areas with distinct decor themes, “cost €3.9 million ($5.9 million) each!”
“But in a raw industrial area they’re very spacious, very luxurious and very unique. That’s the appeal”.
Add the 360-degree views of wide water, the medium and low-rise profiles of a city with a World Heritage listed 17th-century heart, the cloud towers looming up on all horizons, and it adds up as to why, since it officially opened last year, European and rock royalty and overstaying DJs have been happy to part with $1212 a night for a sleep over, Kornmann Rudi says.
As for naming names of famous guests “what happens in the crane stays in the crane”, he said.
To hold a party in the 60-square-metre studio that can cater for 71, the quoted daily rate is $2280, and to hire the whole crane, including the suites – “Free Spirit, “The Secret Suite” and “Mystique” – plus the spa, will set you back close to $10,000 a day.
At the nearby and equally recent Hilton Hotel Double Tree, you can pay $135 for a room with a view. Kornmann Rudi politely calls his competition “more ordinary”.
Paying customers who’ve reviewed The Crane Hotel use apt phrases like “a high-end experience”, “out of this world” and “a once in a lifetime experience”.
The developer says to make all of that a proposition for the good folk who prefer alternative options when travelling, and for himself, to save and restore an iconic piece of Amsterdam’s modern industrial heritage “it took real problem solving skills and a lot of guts”.
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