Rotterdam is known for its modern architecture. From its Kubuswoningen (cube house) to the new futuristic food market, the Markthal everything about the city screams modern.  Rotterdam has one of the largest ports in the world thus a very strong maritime tradition. In the midst of the modern and the maritime stands a hotel that provokes nostalgia: the SS Rotterdam Hotel.  Blessed by Queen Juliana of The Netherlands in 1958, the former Holland America cruise liner first set sail in 1958. 

Facade of SS Rotterdam Hotel
SS Rotterdam Hotel Facade

Fast forward to December 2014: We stayed one night at the SS Rotterdam Hotel to experience the ship turned hotel. As you step onto the ship you’re transported to the golden years of cruising with its art deco furniture, nautical uniforms of the front desk staff, and the golden accents in the lobby.

Room of SS Rotterdam Hotel
Our Classic Room at SS Rotterdam Hotel

The Room: the rooms are former cruise cabins refurbished as guest rooms. The rooms are very retro with 60’s type furnishings but very comfortable. We stayed in a harbor view room.   The view is nice but I recommend the port side of the ship which has a lovely city view of the modern architecture of the city.

Bar at SS Rotterdam Hotel

The Food & Bar: We went to the bar for a night cap and loved the relaxed atmosphere of the bar and the retro decor with plush velour chairs and gold trimmings. We noticed the bar and restaurant are also pretty popular with locals and Dutch tourists. They also have event spaces that according to the Dutchman and his family are pretty popular in the city for corporate events and parties. The breakfast was delicious and quite popular (we noticed non guests at the restaurant for the buffet).  There’s everything from custom made eggs to the traditional dutch pancakes.  Local tip: Make sure to check out its sister hotel, Hotel New York for lunch and lovely views of the city. 

The Bellman at SS Rotterdam Hotel
The Bellman at SS Rotterdam Hotel

The Location: Although not centrally located, there are many ways to get to the SS Rotterdam Hotel. If coming from Rotterdam Centraal Station, take a metro and then a bus to get to the hotel (the hotel has also shuttle service from the metro to the hotel).  We decided to take a taxi from the central station. The taxi from the station to the hotel was around 25 Euros.  There is ample parking if you’re coming by car (15 Euros per day). Another way to get around is by water taxi. Wish we could have done that, but we were too short on time, it’s an affordable way to catch great views of the city!

View from SS Rotterdam Hotel
View from SS Rotterdam Hotel Lido Deck

Verdict:  The SS Rotterdam Hotel is a unique experience with its original decor and fascinating story. You get to experience history in every corner of the property (tours are available to guests and visitors at a fee).  I truly enjoyed the experience and its character, it felt as if I was stepping into history. You can feel the old glamour of those who crossed the Atlantic or sailed in the blue waters of the Caribbean.

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