This is probably not exactly a news flash if you're also knocking about Amsterdam at the moment, but it is hot. No, it is seriously BOILING.
And while we adore our city here, this kind of weather always has us dreaming of holidays, of cool, crisp hotel sheets & tucking away chic miniature toiletries in our suitcases as souvenirs to remind us of our travels once we've returned home. Our founder, Stephanie van Rappard, is currently luxuriating by the seaside in Greece, but the rest of the gloobles fam is taking this heatwave as a cue to treat ourselves to a little staycation. First thing we'll do? Check into Villa Nicola.
We had a little chat with Werner Nijenhuis, Villa Nicola's owner, about our favourite "city b&b", his go-to spots in Amsterdam & so much more.
gloobles: Hi Werner! So good to speak to you. For those of us who've never been, how would you describe Villa Nicola?
Werner: I created Villa Nicola to be a meeting place. A place for people to connect with one another. A place for travellers, for photographers to fill their viewfinders, for books to be launched, films to be made, for early risers & coffee lovers, and to make everyone feel like they are staying with friends. Upon arrival, you are greeted with fresh coffee or tea, beautiful flowers, designer fragrances & candlelight. Each of these things make every visit to Villa Nicola a unique one that will always be remembered. Our canal house is nearby to the super charming café & shopping street of the Utrechtsestraat & the cosmopolitan De Pijp neighbourhood, but it feels very private. Villa Nicola offers two suites, both with their own unique personalities, the peaceful & botanical Garden Suite conservatory is light-filled, with French doors that open to your own private courtyard. The Urban Suite on the bel-etage, is a blend of art & modernity that fits perfectly with the grand allure of the city. Both rooms have private areas to relax & enjoy special moments together.
gloobles: It's a really curated experience. You guys honestly think of everything! Walk us through the journey you took to opening Villa Nicola.
Werner: From the moment I set foot in this building 5 years ago, I immediately could see the untold potential. I wanted to create a meeting place for people from all over the world. The renovation process took 6 months and started with re-designing the rooms to create a more private experience. I then then gradually began sourcing all the furnishings that are now found within our walls. The doors were finally opened in April 2015, and we have been happily busy with our guests ever since.
gloobles: What inspired you then? What inspires you now?
Werner: Amsterdam as a city has always served as an inspiration to me. The grandeur of a bygone era with its heritage sites & museums that has now become a melting pot of world class international food & people. The guests also allow me to travel the world without needing to leave my living room. Taking care of these guests and organising our photo shoots & events is always a pathway to inspiration.
gloobles: We love that idea! That you are able to travel through the people you meet. What would you say sets Villa Nicola apart?
Werner: Our goal is to create a new class of high-end boutique accommodation, where every comfort & need is catered to, a place that offers much more than a modern hotel. From the moment you walk in the door, you are personally welcomed by myself & my darling dog Kees. We are a bed & breakfast in the truest sense. We also serve private breakfasts for each room for an hour every morning in our country-style period kitchen. Guests will sleep in divine Egyptian cotton sheets & enjoy luxury amenities. The suites are very special, and they inspire our guests to return time & time again, eventually becoming friends.
gloobles: You make every guest feel like family, even if it's their first time crossing the threshold. We know that you did the interior design yourself. We’re impressed! Where did you source your pieces? What was your vision in designing it?
Werner: The monument status building dates back to 1900, nd the interior is a blend of charming & modern sophistication. The property spans four floors. The upper two floors were converted to my own living house, and on the two lower floors you will find two suites, a period kitchen & an entrance hallway. Each area of the residence has its own style, and there is an opportunity to discover a unique blend of vintage & modern, highbrow & lowbrow, avant-garde & tradition. We have quite eclectic decoration. Willemien van Aarsen’s assistance was invaluable in sourcing the finer surface details of the residence, from the Ralph Lauren wallpaper to the Designer Guild sheets. We often travel to France to source unique serving pieces & objects for the home, and we love the story they tell. Things like our well-known Flamingo & Peacock are sourced from our local interior store, Luxury by Nature.
gloobles: The whole aesthetic is so refreshing. It's very different from most hotels around. Which restaurants in Amsterdam do you recommend to your guests?
Werner: Here is a list of my top 10 places to eat in Amsterdam!
Scheepskemeel, Kattenburg district. My personal favourite, service & food are extremely high, & they specialise in extremely good German wines.
La Fiorita, De Jordaan. We have a few good Italian restaurants in town, but this is one of my personal favourites; you won’t be disappointed!
Pianetta Terra, Centrum. A local, very traditional Italian gem.
Zoldering, Centrum. This is a newcomer in town; nice & original & only a 5-minute walk away. It is a very lively restaurant.
Rijsel, Transvaalbuurt. Gorgeous industrial location with an open kitchen. They always remember diners upon return. A great trait!
RIJKS, Museumkwartier. Michelin-star restaurant with quite modest prices & an adventurous chef, Joris Bijdendijk!
Ron Gastro Bar, Centrum. Asian Food with a twist. A lively downtown restaurant.
De Kas, Watergraafsmeer. A biological kitchen, a clean & open space in the eastern part of the city in the heart of the lovely Park Frankendaal. It's very nice for lunch as well.
Buffet van Odette, Spiegelkwartier. Nearby & ‘local-feeling’ restaurant with some great tables on the canal. Lovely for both dinner & lunch.
Auberge, De Pijp. A warm welcome at Jean & Marie's. Jan, the enthusiastic host, is great. It is walkable from the hotel & has great French dishes.
gloobles: So many of our favourites too! What’s your perfect day in Amsterdam like?
Werner: Appreciating the sunshine when I can, taking Kees for a walk in the nearby Vondelpark, visiting the local bakery and making a delicious breakfast for my guests, while enjoying their conversation.
gloobles: We could hardly improve upon that! Where do you get your fresh flowers & groceries for breakfast?
Werner: For special flowers & bouquets, I love to visit A.P Bloem & van Baerle Bloemen. Bottled water I source from Marie-Stella-Maris, pastries from Simon Meijssen and groceries from Marqt & the famous Albert Cuyp market. I receive a delivery of fresh Dutch cheese every week from Firma Kaas in Abcoude.
gloobles: A perfect source for everything, from the sounds of it. Other than Villa Nicola, what is your favourite hotel in the world?
Werner: I just returned from a delightful summer holiday at Chateau Talaud in the Provence region of France. When I travel, I expect the same care as I give to my own guests, and the welcome here is always warm, the grounds of the property are absolutely breathtaking and it is the perfect place to unwind with a glass of wine & wonderful, local food.
gloobles: We have to check it out then. Ok, just one more. If you could have anyone in the world stay at Villa Nicola, who would it be and why?
Werner: At Villa Nicola, we also host a wide range of events like weddings, fashion & magazine photo shoots & press events. We were lucky enough to host Gigi Hadid for the front cover shoot of Vogue and regularly welcome industry friends including Anna Nooshin & Donna Hay when they visit for their book launches or vlog posts. We are lucky the Villa is such an inspiring place that we can share with everyone.