Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy

Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy

Where do I begin?  Do I start with the history, the design, the art or the hospitality?  The Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy has it all, literally.  Founders Suzanne Oxenaar and Otto Nan have raised the bar by creating an all-encompassing 1 to 5 star hotel, a first of its kind.

The hotel is conveniently located in the heart of the Eastern Docklands Area, which is just two short tram stops away from Amsterdam Central Station.  To understand the true essence of the Lloyd Hotel however, one must trace its incredible history back to when its doors first opened in 1921.

Foldaway bathrooms are just one of the many secrets I uncovered in the Lloyd Hotels design.

With many eastern European emigrants heading to South America during the 1920’s the Lloyd Hotel was often the last stop for weary travelers before they boarded a Royal Dutch Lloyd ship for the long journey across the Atlantic Ocean.  The hotel was originally designed to house 900 people at one time and it wasn’t until 1935 that the city of Amsterdam took over ownership of the building.  The hotel has since been many things; a refugee camp for Jewish people, a German-occupied detention center during WWII, and a prison for juveniles during the 1960’s and 70’s.

Over 50 Dutch artists and designers came together and contributed to redesigning the Lloyd Hotel’s interior, which had me mesmerized as I toured the hotel just after I arrived.  Each room is a creative expression of its own and I couldn’t help but wish there was enough time to see inside each one of the 117 uniquely designed rooms.  I couldn’t get enough of the creativity that dripped from every nook and cranny of the hotel. Even its stairwell was full of character.

One of the 5 star rooms at the Lloyd Hotel.

Artists and designers like Richard Hutten, Claudy Jongstra and Jeop van Lieshout were able to find ways to blend their unique styles together in a way that only heightened the hotel’s appeal.  My favorite modern design touches were the foldaway bathrooms, unusual lamps and bespoke bedspreads.

When the Lloyd’s doors re-opened in 2004, guests found a wonderful juxtaposition between their private rooms and the shared communal spaces.  Rest and relaxation is the goal while you’re in your room, but locals and travelers alike are encouraged to connect in places like the library and multi-purpose function rooms.  The Lloyd Café & Restaurant is not only architecturally impressive as well, but also another wonderful way to meet and share stories with people that are visiting Amsterdam from all over the world.

While the hotel is an icon of Dutch design, it’s also a symbol of so much more. Creativity, connection, and maybe most importantly, hope is what I’ll remember most from my stay at the Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy.

Lloyd Hotel Cafe & Restaurant


How photography will shape your travelling experiences

If you want to take your photography seriously whilst travelling, you’re inevitably going to have to plan around it. Here are just a few ways that photography will likely shape your travelling experiences.

You’ll be thinking about timing

They say the early bird catches the worm, and it couldn’t be truer.  You’ll find yourself getting up early to catch the sun rising – after all, it’ll provide a magnificent picture without the crowds blocking your view.  The sunset is the same, so make sure you’re taking time to set yourself up and watch it descend beyond the horizon.

With that being said, you’ll need to be patient with your timing.  The perfect shot may not come quickly, especially when dealing with subjects such as animals, weather and perhaps even the Sun itself.  CTI adds that photography teaches a firm lesson in patience, planning and preparation – if at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.

Packing needs to be considered

If you’re taking this seriously, you’re going to need to leave space in your bag for your equipment.  Usually photographers have more than just their camera – consider different lenses, lighting and other accessories.  You may even have more than one camera.

You’re going to want to have a suitable bag to carry your equipment around in.  You don’t want to lug around a suitcase full, so be strategic.  Another thing to bear in mind is the location you’re travelling to in respect to your bag – look out for suspicious individuals and opportunists, and keep your valuable belongings concealed.

Your itinerary will revolve around it

As previously mentioned, timing is everything when it comes to photography.  But you’re going to want to take it one step further – plan an itinerary.  This will allow you to map out where exactly you’ll be visiting and when in order to get the best photo opportunities.

One great idea that has become increasingly popular with travelling photographers is photography tours.  Murnis highlights a relatively newly established one in Bali, a hotspot for tourists for its luscious landscapes.  This will save you from having to find the best opportunities yourself – someone else is doing it for you.

You’ll see some wondrous sights

The sights that you do see when travelling will more than likely always be incredible.  From the aforementioned Bali and its tropical settings to the neon bustle of Tokyo in Japan, there’s always something incredible to capture with your camera, and the promise of these sights will drive you to find the best ones.

Of course, the main aim is to capture said sights in a photograph, but you won’t be able to help but be bewildered by the things you’ll come across. Feel free to hike, bike and traverse your way through your destination to discover some hidden treasures that will truly take your breath away.

Your memories will be captured forever

It goes without saying that the main thing you’ll take away from photographing your travels is a collection of permanent memories that will remind you of the incredible things you’ve just seen.  There’s so much you can do with these pictures, too – consider printing them for a wall in your home, or claiming bragging rights on social media.

Amongst Buzzfeed’s many suggestions of what to do with your travel photos is getting a big world map corkboard to place on your wall.  With this, you can pin the best picture from each location upon it for a reminder of just how beautiful that place was.  It’s a clever and unique way to showcase your memories.

Bali, Indonesia.

The Best Ways to Discover Barcelona

Barcelona is one of Europe’s best cities to explore and discover for yourself.  There is so much to see and a huge variety of ways in which you can discover the city.  Seeing Barcelona in a different way is possible every day for weeks.  It’s a city of unlimited perspectives and potential.

The best way to see the city the first time is with a guided tour.  You can book with confidence Barcelona day tour easily online using a major search engine.  A guided day tour will show you all the major sites of the city and will allow you to become acquainted with the city for yourself.  You will see not only all of the major sites but will also find out more about the lesser known sights of the city, along with stories about their history.  Barcelona is a city seeped in history and there truly is something for everyone.

Once you have found your bearings of the city using a guided tour explore the city on foot.  There are a huge number of sights to see, many people recommend visiting and spending a day at La Ramblas.  The cities oldest buildings are a marvel to look at and explore inside, while you will be in awe of the various buildings designed by Gaudi.  Barcelona is a great city to just spend a day walking around, you can spend a full day just wandering and enjoying stumbling upon the sights.

You can explore the Barcelona region by hiring a boat, there is no better way to see the Barcelona coastline but from a boat.  There are many options from Barcelona with self-driven and skippered boats available.  Having a boat will allow you to experience the Barcelona region and the amazing beaches.  There is nothing more relaxing than travelling by boat.

Discovering Barcelona through it’s museums and art galleries is just another way to see the city.  Barcelona has some of the world’s best museums and art galleries with work from the renaissance masters and more contemporary works such as Picasso.  Seeing the city from this perspective will give you an amazing feel for the unique character of the city, which is famous throughout the world.

There are many ways to discover Barcelona but it’s best to get your bearings first using a guided tour.  There are many great tours available of Barcelona and you can easily find something, which meets your needs and interests.

-Written by Vicente Colomer