15. Juni 2018
Opposite a royal palace and once a bank, Hotel Indigo The Hague – Palace Noordeinde wears its prestigious heritage proudly. Royal portraits adorn our public rooms, Art Deco stained glass, brass lamps and marble columns evoke the luxury world of private banking
What was your inspiration for the „neighbourhood story“ behind The Hague?
We were inspired by the most unique and important buildings in the neighbourhood such as the Royal Palace, the Dutch government and the International Court of Justice. Two of the three roomtypes are based upon this: “Royal Residence and” and “Court Capital”. In addition, the hotel is situated on the Noordeinde street,
With this neighbourhood story the design of the hotel should be sophistacated and high-end, where guests experience a royal and wealthy feeling.
What was the most surprising or interesting thing you learnt about the area in your research?
The hotel is situated directly opposite to the Royal Palace, the working palace of our King Willem- Alexander. Guest rooms on the Noordeinde side have a unique view, overlooking the Palace. Especially
The building used to be home to Dutch Bank / Nederlandse Bank – what’s the most interesting thing you learnt about the building’s history?
The Dutch Bank was founded by King Willem I (the ancestor of King Willem-Alexander) in 1814. In 1883 Noordeinde 33 (by architect G.B. Salm), was ready to house the Dutch bank in The Hague. Shortly after that, it turned out that the building was to small, so the adjacent shopping complex on Heulstreet (known as the “Wilhelminagalerij”) was bought. From 1925 to 1927 a big renovation took place to create one big building with a new facade in art deco style. This new facade is interesting, because this turned out to be crucial in designing the restaurant of the hotel. We knew it would be great to create a dual entrance for both purposes, the hotel and the restaurant. The bank only has one entrance though, and being a monument it’s not possible to easily create a second one. Researching the history of the building, especially the architectural, learned us that there used to be a second entrance on the left side (nowadays it’s a window instead of a door) before the renovation. Knowing that, we were able to submit a license application for reconstructing the original door. The applications was successful, so the restaurant will have its own entrance just as we hoped for.
At the time of this radical rebuilding and expansion queen Wilhelmina (having her Palace across the street) had a lot to say about the exterior. She pointed out which windows got lattice work and views and which not. Furthermore she didn’t allow building companies to advertise on the building fences, something we’re respecting also at this moment. During the building process there will not be any commercial expressions on the outside of the building.
When the bank closed its doors in 1994, it was impossible to remove the massive doors of the safes where the gold reserve used to be held. The firm Lips provided for these doors, one of them being unique in it’s technique and the precision with which it was constructed. This round door still is one of the most impressive elements in the building. Lips was so proud of this door, that they used it in their advertisements for many years.
How did you bring this history to life in the interior?
Wealth and royalty were keywords in the design because of the Royal family and the Dutch Bank are inseparably connected in the history of this property. One of the most important starting points
the chic Noordeinde district is primarily known for
its distinctive fashion boutiques, galleries and art and antiques dealers, located in beautiful art
on Wednesday mornings, King Willem-Alexander regularly receives new ambassadors
who come to present their letters of credence. The audience includes a ceremony that can be
followed from the Noordeinde street and therefor from the rooms on the front side of the hotel.
The new ambassador arrives by state coach, escorted by horsemen from the Royal Netherlands
Mounted Police. A guard of honour and military band are stationed at Noordeinde Palace. After
an honorary salute of four drumrolls, the national anthem of the ambassador’s country is played,
followed by an inspection of the guard. Inside, the King awaits the new ambassador. Outside the
Palace andc also inside the hotel, you can watch the arrival of the coach, listen to the national
anthem being played and follow the inspection of the guard – always a special moment in the
royal city of The Hague.
for the design was the building itself, it’s historical and architectural elements such as the different marbles, stained glass, mosaics, ornaments and woodwork. Characteristic materials for that day and age in buildings with a purpose like this one. Despite having different purposes over the years (after closing of the bank), there were still many features in the interior indicating it was a bank. The beautiful panelling on the office walls was disassembled so we could use it to create headboards. Cabinets and steel doors were re-used, especially in public areas where they strike the eye of the guests. The artwork is mostly inspired by coins and banknotes and used metal is always brass as it is the same colour as the stacked gold at the time. We used patterns of the woodwork on doors, patterns of metal frames in carpets and cabinets and old doors from the cashiers are transformed into tables. And every room has it’s own specially designed safe…
What was the most challenging thing about this project?
Every space, every room is not only unique in size, but also in form. Our concept was that guest should have a unique experience, even if they visit the hotel multiple times. That means we designed three room types:
Royal Residence – street facing rooms with Palace view, experiencing the feeling of residing in a prestigious street in a room with stained glass windows, high ceilings, wood paneled walls and headboards and a darkred and bluegrey colour palette with warm velvets and antique brass details.
Court Capital – the feeling of wealth comes across in these (some split-level) rooms. Using leathers and a light and dark green colour palette with polished brass details, guests feel the power and history of the building and the city.
Lofty Living – more contemporary rooms on the top floor and in the attic, combining old beams and slanted ceilings with concrete flooring and rooms in the newly build part of the hotel with large glass curtain walls on the backside of the hotel. Adding variations in grey and an ocre colour palette, soft fabrics and satin brass details, this room feels like modern Dutch living in the city.
Working on a property like this, you have to detail everything because every part of the building is unique and different from another part.
Which design detail in the finished interior are you most proud of?
Key element of a bank is its safe. We wanted all of the guests to have their own safe, so we designed a multifunctional steel safe that will be positioned in every room. The safe contains a safe (of course), a minibar, coffee and tea supplies and storage space. It looks and works like a real safe, you actually have to turn the wheel to open it. It’s a feature that embodies the history of the building.
What did you learn in the execution of that detail?
That there’s always a way when an idea fits the design. Starting off with a rather unconventional idea, you challenge yourself by keep drawing till it meets your standards (and still combines form and function of course). Making adjustments throughout the process so the best way is found to produce this key element in the room interior.
Any other key learnings you’d like to share?
The safes are positioned in the basement, therefor they are not easily seen by guests if there is no necessity to go downstairs. We definitely wanted guest to experience this extraordinary spaces so it was the perfect opportunity to create a speakeasy. From the lobby you have easy access to the speakeasy, so guests can have a drink in the most special bar in The Hague.