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A Hotel To Call Home: 'QO', Amsterdam's pioneering sustainable hotel


Perched somewhat inconspicuously on a street corner located around 10 minutes away from Amsterdam’s central station, Hotel QO is quietly contributing to a revolution in the area of Amstelkwartier.

With sustainability the main order of the day, the concept was designed by Paul de Ruiter Architects and Mulderblauw Architecten who knew that QO needed to push boundaries to create something unique. Standing at 21-stories tall, this 276-room hotel has managed to complete its goal of setting a new bar for sustainability travel with its truly inspired techniques of change.

Arguably its most impressive feat is the innate ability to embrace a eco-friendly and sustainable building into a luxury hotel without the pretence. Guests are aware of the QO’s ethics, understand its desires but are in no way confronted with sustainability ‘extremism’, for want of a better word.

“At the QO we want to inspire you in a new way so you experience a different kind of energy,” the hotel explains. “We’re driven by our belief that travel should be a pleasure while being committed to the world around us,” they added. It’s in those words that epitomise this hotel’s core belief that a different energy can be—and will be—enjoyed in all the same familiar ways we’ve become accustomed to.

Owned by IHG, the hotel’s innovation sees the hotel covered in over 1,600 responsive aluminium panels built to react, accommodate and moderate the building’s temperature in a sustainable manner. The water used throughout the building in showers, sinks etc, is recycled through pipes lining the concrete structure to control temperature of the rooms in another masterful feat of engineering.

“The QO is so much more than a hotel. We’re about creating unique and inspiring experiences around eating, drinking, playing, working, meeting, recharging and relaxing,” the hotel’s general manager Inge van Weert explains.

In conversation with Far Out, the hotel manager also confirmed that sustainability was heavily considered during the construction of the building. In fact, the structure itself is made from one third recycled concrete from a building that was demolished just a few miles away.

Not leaving anything to chance, the building is also equipped with a rooftop greenhouse which provides over 70 different varieties of herbs, vegetables, edible flowers for the spectacular rooftop bar and all-Dutch restaurant on the lower levels.

The rooms, built with ceiling to floor windows, are moderated by the in-room iPad which allows control of lights, room service, television and closing window shutters. Teaming up with London-based firm Conran and Partners for the interiors, the spectacular use of furniture managed to forge somewhat of a modernist Art Deco style which, at times, wouldn’t look out of place in the most imaginative Stanley Kubrick scene.

“Build it and they will come,” goes the old phrase which rarely fits the point but, for QO, it is more than fitting. Sitting outside the bustling Amsterdam nightlife, the building itself is a point of interest. A landmark in its own right, the hotel has one step in to the future, they push boundaries and they do it all with slickest of velvet decor.

“The uniqueness of this project lies in its overall circular design and the integration of its green principles in all parts of the hotel – from architecture to public areas and the room,” said designers Conran and Partners at the time of the hotel’s opening.

“The challenge was to deliver a high-end hotel meeting the requirements of both business and leisure travellers while still demonstrating a sensitivity to nature in every aspect of its operations,” they added.

The hotel bar, located on the highest level of floor 21, offers panoramic views and is designed to resemble its surroundings. “The material palette uses materials in their original colour and finish where possible, with natural materials for fabrics and tiling,” designers said upon finishing the project

“The polished concrete ceilings and external grade engineered brick bring an industrial feel to the space that references the local architecture, offset by brass metalwork, silk wallpaper and a warm oak flooring that also wraps up to form the bedhead,” they added.

With a set menu of bespoke food and cocktails, the Juniper&Kin offers a world away from Amsterdam, a retreat of its own.

Double rooms start from around €175 (£153) in low season; and from €250 (£219) in the popular months high which, considering the high prices of Amsterdam, is a very modestly priced.

Breakfast can be included for a small extra price and the hotel comes with free Wi-Fi.

Click here to find all the relevant information in the official QO website.