Hotel 717 opened its doors on Prinsengracht 25 years ago, as one of the first boutique hotels in the Netherlands. The original concept, characterised by small scale and personal attention, is still the perfect formula, but after 25 years the interior and floorplan were in need of an update. The hotel recently underwent an extensive renovation, which general contractor Bulsink managed to complete in just six months.
Conversion: 23 rooms from 12, restaurant on the ground floor
By redesigning the floor plan, Bulsink nearly doubled the number of rooms, from 12 to 23. New equipment was also installed, and the electrical system was fully modernised. As icing on the cake, Hotel 717 got a restaurant on the ground floor: a gathering place with a homey feel called ‘De Living.’
‘Besides the à la carte breakfast, which we have always offered guests, we serve snacks and lighter fare there throughout the day,’ says General Manager Brita Röhl. ‘It has become sort of a living room, where hotel guests can work, read a book or meet with someone. We now also have seating in the garden where guests can enjoy breakfast in the morning, high tea during the day or wine in the evening – an oasis of calm, right in the centre of Amsterdam.’
Listed building: original details as starting point
There are challenges associated with remodelling a listed building in the heart of Amsterdam, and Hotel 717 addressed these with assistance from Bulsink.
‘Hotel 717 is a listed building, which essentially means it is cultural heritage that we must conserve,’ says Brita. ‘The fireplaces, ceiling ornaments, enormous doors, marble floor, staircase… on the one hand, these create constraints. On the other hand, you can also simply accept that these original details are wonderful starting points that give the property its unique character.’
Construction logistics: supply and removal via the canal
Another challenge was the supply of construction materials and disposal of construction debris: ‘At the town hall we were a topic of conversation, in a positive sense, because of the way we managed this.’
‘We transported the building materials over the canal by boat, and we carried off the construction debris the same way, on a debris barge. To accomplish this, Bulsink erected scaffolding against the facade of the property, connected to scaffolding on the other side of the road, alongside the canal. In other words, in 2022 we once again used the canals for the purpose for which they were originally intended. How cool is that?’
Hotel 717 about the collaboration with Bulsink
General Manager Brita Röhl says, ‘In a listed building you are continuously confronted with stumbling blocks: things that are either not possible or not allowed. Fortunately, Bulsink helped us think up solutions at every turn. We can’t do it like that? Then we’ll do it like this. Rather than dwell on the impossible, they propose alternatives.’
‘Inspections, a recommended approach, construction logistics… they gathered all the necessary parties to handle every aspect of our renovation. And they also maintained good contact with the municipality. You can tell they have jumped through those hoops before at Bulsink. They prepared everything to perfection and executed it wonderfully.’
Modernising a hotel or making it more sustainable? Bulsink is the best completion and renovation partner for the hospitality sector.