The nhow Rotterdam occupies the bottom half of the easternmost of the 3 towers which make up the vertical city that is De Rotterdam. The top half of each of the buildings looks as though it has been shifted slightly off-centre by a minor earthquake giving the trio of towers an interesting angular look. The hotel management talks a lot of the sense of arrival at the nhow and while there is certainly huge anticipation when driving up to the structure, it would be an exaggeration to say that there is that 'wow' factor upon entering the lobby.
Cavernous and slightly cold, there is a lot of empty space in which the reception desk is somewhat lost, despite its length and striking bronze colour. One can understand this policy of bareness in the rooms as it would have been a shame to take away from the magnificent city views, however why this was carried over into the lobby is a mystery as so much could have been done in such a generously-proportioned space. Nevertheless, the welcome is extremely warm from the staff members who, for the most part, have no hotel experience whatsoever (a couple of which, however, perhaps lack the confidence for a brand of this nature) and the check-in is an overall pleasant and speedy experience. To the right-hand side, set before the floor-to-ceiling windows is some not-so-comfortable multi-coloured modular seating and what seems to be a light installation made up of several score of inverted test tube-like objects each resting on a cork base and connected to one another by wires. At the very end of the space is a TV installation with books and magazines between the screens each of which show a selection of artists' 'best of' Rotterdam. Loitering close to the washrooms in the corner is a tall red table by Joep van Lieshout which resembles the underside of a cow on which are carafes of water and newspapers. Other features of note in the lobby include the hoops of lighting on the ceiling grill, the huge grey felt potted plant at the end of the reception desk and the hotel's own background music playlist which unfortunately, for now at least, is not available to purchase.
To the left-hand side of the entrance hall, through the transparent wall, is what is known as Rotterdam Square. This is one of the hubs of the De Rotterdam project - a space to be shared by hotel guests, residents and office workers alike. Here you will find a coffee shop owned by the hotel where you can grab hot drinks and snacks and also, over the other side, one of several planned restaurants. Called hmb, it was already in the list of Rotterdam's top 10 eateries after just 6 weeks in operation.
Round to the left-hand side of the welcome desk are the 3 elevators for which you need your room key to operate. Fast and efficient, they serve all floors of the hotel. The corridors are wide and bright and easily negotiable and feature art and photography from Dutch artists, something very close to the hotel's heart. After just a few months of operation the whole place seemed to be extremely well maintained, clean and in order.
For those who wish to keep up with their fitness regime while away, the hotel has a gym featuring top-of-the-range cardio and muscular machines.