It's easy to feel cool for being green when you stay at Conscious Hotel Vondelpark in Amsterdam. The place is a marvelous mashup of environmental ethos and clean modern aesthetics. It perfectly blends ecological awareness with a luxuriously designed touch that has the overall affect of making it feel like it should be costing you a lot more money than it is.
This bed was even more comfortable than it looks.
There are two categories of rooms at the Conscious Hotel Vondelpark: the Regular Room starts at around $120/night and comes with a 26-inch flat-screen low-energy LED TV, organic and all natural soaps and shampoos in artful dispensers, and free WiFi. If you can swing $165/night, you can upgrade to one of the premium rooms, which are larger with better views and mattresses made from all-natural materials.
I had an unexpected trip to Amsterdam fall into my lap last month (one of the hazards of being an environmental blogger and part-time travel writer) and had a gap in my accommodations schedule that I needed to fill. Some interwebs research lead me to Conscious Hotel. I liked how the hotel mixed clean and hip design with a greener sensibility and fired off an email to them asking if they could put me up for a night so I could write up a review. They quickly got back to me and booked me for a night.
My trip to Amsterdam was a perfect opportunity for my girlfriend, Lindsay, who is studying in London for the year, to hop a quick flight over for an impromptu romantic European getaway. The night before we rolled into the Conscious Hotel we had an amazing time at Hotel Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam, a beautiful and majestic hotel where the starting nightly rate for a regular room would pay for a month's rent of a decent apartment in the Midwest. I thought our dip into the Grand's pool of luxury (both figuratively and literally — that place has the best indoor hotel pool's I've swum in) would unfairly alter our perception of Conscious Hotel.
I needn't have worried. Conscious Hotel Vondelpark impresses from the moment you step off of the tram and appreciate how easy it is to get to — just walk across one lane of traffic and stroll through the front doors. The lobby has the feel of an upscale oxygen/organic juice bar if you squint past the well-stocked bar. Lindsay and I checked in and took the elevator to the top floor. Well, to the floor right below the top floor, then it was a quick run up a flight of steps into the small hallway that the four top floor rooms shared. Our room was 612.
Green roofs are happy roofs.
We opened the door and stepped into their model room. If you visit their website and click to their premium room page, you'll see photos of the room we stayed in. Everything feels highly designed, in a meticulous but not overdone way. The back wall was dominated by a beautiful painting of a purple flower. The bed was organically off-white and the curtains pulled back to reveal a rooftop patio. We stepped out into a lovely view of the city, accentuated by the corner location of the room.
The bathroom had the same hip green flow as the rest of the room and was festooned with small information placards reminding guests about some of the environmental impacts of a typical hotel room and how they were mitigated by greener design choices.
And oh, the bed. The wonderful Conscious Hotel Vondelpark bed. It was just as comfortable as the deliciously luxuriant beds at the 5x more expensive Sofitel Legend where we had slept the night before. A great hotel room demands a great bed, and Conscious nailed it when they picked their mattresses.
Walk out of the bathroom past the bed and out onto the balcony with killer views of Amsterdam.
Conscious Hotel has two hotels in the city; the Vondelpark hotel is just steps off the #1 tram line on the corner opposite of the Vondelpark from the Van Gogh Museum. Their other hotel, Conscious Hotel Museum Square, is a 15-minute walk that is just blocks from the same museum.
The tram ride to Conscious Hotel Vondelpark from the main train station took just 10 minutes. The same distance makes for a lovely hour-long stroll.
They take a shotgun approach to being greener and sent me a list of 64 things they do to operate more sustainably. All of their paper products, from magazines to stationary and menus to door hangers and compliment cards, are made with FSC-certified paper. Their paint is water-based, the wood also FSC-certified, and they recycle like fiends. Both hotels have green roofs and they buy their carpet from C2C-certified Interface Flor. Their breakfast buffet is 100 percent organic as are most of the liquors and beverages stocked in the bar (don't worry, they still have Coke and Heineken). Just about every piece of furniture in the place is made from organic and/or sustainably sourced materials. They skip the small individually wrapped bars of soap and installed large pumps filled with natural soaps and conditioners.
In short, they go all out on going greener.
I wasn't able to visit the company's other hotel at Museum Square but look forward to my next visit to the city so I can see if the standards are as high over there as they were at Hotel Vondelpark. I have no doubt that they are.
To see more photos or to book your own trip at either Conscious Hotel, swing over to their website.
Disclosure: Conscious Hotel put me up for the night for free.
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