Donna Heiderstadt | October 25, 2013
As a hub of industry and the busiest port in Europe, Rotterdam, The Netherlands, hasn’t traditionally been high on many leisure travelers’ bucket lists. But now a thriving arts scene, paired with progressive architecture and a futuristic harbor skyline, is attracting attention. Front and center on the inner harbor is Mainport, a striking steel-and-glass hotel with a step-like facade that opened in May 2013 and marries local and international influences with a holistic philosophy.
“With ships coming to Rotterdam from all over the world, influences from far-flung places characterize this multicultural city,” says designer Feran Thomassen, of Feran & Hugo. His distinctive design blends East and West—combining spareness with softness in the rooms, and offering an Australia-inspired restaurant and a spa based on Eastern bath culture—with a sophisticated yet soothing result. Another reason guests can rest easy: Mainport is about to receive Green Key Gold certification. In the 215 rooms, Thomassen used energy efficient LED lighting and furnishings from Moroso, Vitra and Montis, while a primary infrastructure element contributing to its sustainability is that the hotel reuses Rotterdam’s industrial heat via a direct connection to the city’s heating system.
Heat also factors into the design. Among the rooms, divided into five categories, the most coveted are the Waterfront Spa Rooms, each with its own large Jacuzzi by the window (some with a view of the asymmetrical Erasmus Bridge) and private Finnish sauna off of the bathroom. Larger Spa Suites also feature a sitting area with a fireplace.
Thomassen has created aesthetically alluring spaces that are also high-tech and functional. On the main level, the hotel’s restaurant, Down Under, and cocktail bar, On the Rocks, are both contemporary glass-walled spaces offering mainly Australian cuisine, which is a blend of international influences, from Japanese to Italian to Argentine. One of Thomassen’s favorite design elements is the distinctive staircase leading to the restaurant with its huge compass on the ceiling. Mainport’s wellness theme is most evident in Spa Heaven, an 8th-floor sanctuary where European-style, coed spa facilities include a Turkish steam room and hammam and a Finnish panorama sauna. Yet Thomassen adds, “While there is a separate spa area, the way we looked at it, guests should experience a constant state of well being by offering wellness experiences in the rooms.”
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