Hotel Arena

's Gravesandestraat 51
Stadsdeel Oost
A.C. Bleys
Tram 7, 10 (halte 's Gravesandestraat)
Marlies Buurman & Flora van Gaalen, Room Service, Amsterdam 2007, p.48-49.

From sleep-in to a four star hotel

The St. Elisabeth Gesticht was built in 1890 as a Roman Catholic orphanage and after the Second World War it functioned temporarily as a home for the elderly. In 1982, the city council bought the building with the aim of turning it into a ‘Sleep-in’, in order to meet the need for budget accommodation in the city.

It was privatized in 1990 and converted into a three-star hotel. The building was designed by the architect A.C. Bleijs, who also designed the church St. Nicholaaskerk opposite Amsterdam’s Central Station. The building comprises four wings situated around an inner court and is executed in the neo-Renaissance style, which was popular in the Netherlands around 1900. The facades consist of a plinth of rough blocks of natural stone, above which is brownish-red brick, interspersed with stone corner pilasters, corbels and copestones, cornices, string courses and other ornamentation. A distinctive feature is the prefatory building on Mauritskade, on either side of which a richly ornamented and raised neck-gableterminates the projecting building sections, which originally housed the trustees’ rooms.

In the late nineties, Hotel Arena was refurbished by IDing Design and the designer Ronald Hooft. The renovation programme was completed in 2003 and the Arena is now a luxury three-star hotel. Many of the original elements in the interior have been preserved; for example, the balustrades with turned balusters, the cast-iron columns and the richly ornamented mouldings in the stairwell. Modern hotel rooms and Dutch Design hotel suites have replaced the old dormitories. The hotel has a fashionable restaurant, several boardrooms, and a trendy club. Recently the hotel has been upgraded to a four-star design hotel. (ARCAM/BU/FG)