Amsterdam Transforms Abandoned Bridge Houses Into One-of-a-kind Hotel Rooms

Amsterdam is well-known for its charming waterways and bridges, and perhaps even more so for its quirky, progressive design style. When the city’s manned bridge houses were eventually decommissioned, they were repurposed in the most Dutch way possible: as a one-of-a-kind boutique “hotel.”

For decades, the bridges throughout Amsterdam relied on bridgekeepers to manually open and close them for passing ships. However, as with every industry, automated technology eliminated the need for actual human beings. The result was a shuttering of 28 bridge houses throughout the city which, until recently, sat unused and collecting dust.

That was until a few clever folks decided to convert the whole lot of them into Sweets Hotel. It started as an ad hoc urban development project in 2012. Fast-forward a few short years, and the result is a one-of-a-kind, decentralized “hotel” with 11 (the remaining 17 rooms are still in progress) mini-suites throughout the city.

Every room is uniquely located and designed. Some are situated at bustling intersections close to the action, while others are in quaint, out-of-the-way lakeside neighborhoods where few tourists ever venture. Some are located smack in the middle of a bridge, while others bookend a long dock that juts into the canal. All provide an intimate, first-hand sense of life on the city’s canals. If you eschew staid chain hotels — if bespoke, Airbnb-style lodging is more your thing — you’d be hard-pressed to find more perfect accommodations in the heart of Amsterdam.

Every bridge house is wholly unique. Some date back more than 300 years, while others are less than a decade old. The architecture and interior design vary dramatically. Hoteliers worked with local design firm Space & Matter on top-down renovations of every space. The tiny, two-person rooms all rely on clever, space-saving technology like built-in shelving and integrated en-suite bathrooms to provide the illusion of more square footage. The aesthetic is contemporary but cozy. Warm color palettes, laminate wood flooring, and copious wraparound windows bolster interiors that are bright, tasteful, and upscale.

The bridge house suites can be booked directly through the Sweets Hotel website with nightly rates starting around €160 (approximately USD $200).

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