Smoke on the water
Take an 18th-century gunpowder factory in the village of Ouderkerk aan de Amstel, near Amsterdam. Add chef Peter Lute. Then add Dutch designer Marcel Wanders and seven gabled cottages along the Amstel River. And you have Lute Suites.
Apparently Wanders was so inspired by Lute's popular restaurant in Ouderkerk that he designed a hotel around it, using the cottages that were there. Each is like a little home, on three levels – separate apartments with a kitchenette and living room.
There's no lobby or reception area (you enter each cottage through its front door), so this feels like a boutique rental property rather than a hotel. There are also no frills like mini-bars to be found – just lots of creature comforts. These include breakfast brought to you from the Lute restaurant itself. Which is reason enough to stay at the suites.
Add the fact that the suites are individually decorated with some of the designer's best-known pieces, including the resin-soaked rope Knotted Chair (which can be seen at MOMA in New York). And you realize you're staying in a crash pad that's actually an art gallery.
The suites are off the beaten track, but 15 minutes from Amsterdam. Perfect for dipping your toe into city life, if you can bear to leave your suite. RM
Images: Marcel Wanders Studio