Review: the Hilton Rotterdam hotel
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This is our review of the Hilton Rotterdam hotel.
The hotel is, in many ways, an icon of Rotterdam. When it opened in 1963, as the first American hotel in the city, it more than doubled the number of available hotel rooms and marked a watershed moment in the city’s post-war ambition. Rob studied in Rotterdam for a time in the early 1990s and tells me that, even then, it was one of the very few big hotels in the city – apparently he passed it on the tram every day and imagined great luxury inside!
These days the hotel is classified as a national monument, and the Hugh Maaskant-designed building is largely preserved. I’ll let you be the judge and decide whether that’s a good or bad thing!
I wanted a second night in Rotterdam after my trip to Motto (review here) and Hilton suggested that their namesake Rotterdam hotel would be a good comparator. Hilton provided our room but HfP picked up all other costs.
Where is Hilton Rotterdam?
Hilton Rotterdam is located just on the outskirts of the city centre, next to Hofplein roundabout. Whilst it’s not smack-bang in the city centre, you can see why this location was chosen in the 60s, with its proximity to one of Rotterdam’s arterial roads making it particularly accessible by car.
It is – literally – just down the road from Rotterdam Centraal railway station – probably five minutes walk at most. You also have a choice of trams or metro on your doorstep.
The city centre is equally close, with the core shopping district just down the road. The Maritime District is a little further but still perfectly walkable.
Inside Hilton Rotterdam
A 1960s-era hotel rarely fills me with excitement, and the Hilton brand isn’t exactly known for its inventive or unusual styles, although that is beginning to change. I was half expecting a tired-but-adequate city hotel.
I’m pleased to say I was wrong. Whilst not brand new (the last refurbishment was a decade ago), the hotel is in remarkably good nick and made for a very pleasant stay.
On the ground floor you have a large open-plan lobby with doors on both the main road / station side as well as on the city centre side.
There is a small seating area on one side:
I arrived around midday to check-in early with my Hilton Diamond status. I was the only guest at that point so didn’t have to wait.
I already knew I had been upgraded a couple of days in advance thanks to Hilton’s new confirmed upgrade system. I received an email offering me the upgrade and the option to select my exact room in the app.
I booked a standard king room and ended up being upgraded to an executive deluxe room, where I picked a room with city views on the highest floor. Admittedly not a huge upgrade (and I would have had access to the executive lounge anyway) but perfectly fine for a one-night stay.
One thing that did show the age of the last refurbishment is the fact that it was using key cards you had to insert into the door, rather than just tap!
Rooms at Hilton Rotterdam
One thing a 60s era building does afford you is sensible room sizes and windows. As you can see, the room is absolutely flooded with sunlight during sunny winter days:
I could spend all day basking in it like a reptile!
The entryway/wardrobe was clad in wood which made it feel very European. This featured two wardrobes, a luggage storage rack and a big mirror:
On the opposite side was the bathroom, this one with a shower over the bath:
I believe about half the rooms feature showers whilst the other 50% have showers over baths, so if you have a preference you can probably request one or the other. Overall, the bathroom is fairly small – you wouldn’t want more than one person in it at a time.
Toiletries are the classic Hilton Crabtree & Evelyn, which I think are starting to look a bit cheap compared to the alternatives that available:
In the room you have a large king bed:
There are plenty of sockets on both sides for your gadgets, plus a phone and an alarm clock:
There are small nods to the Netherlands throughout the room, including the lace print and orange standing lamp above the armchair:
Opposite you have a good-sized desk plus a TV cabinet replete with coffee machine, kettle, mini fridge etc. Note that the Nespresso coffee machines are only in executive rooms – in standard rooms you only get instant coffee, which is a bit naff.
Overall, I thought the rooms have aged well – there were no real signs of wear, and even the design is still really attractive. If you had asked me to guess the last time the rooms were refurbished, I would have said in the last five years.
Hilton Rotterdam’s Executive lounge
As mentioned above, this hotel has an Executive lounge which I poked my head into one evening. It is on the first floor, opposite reception. Whilst it is not massive, it is very light and bright thanks to a wall of windows:
It wasn’t busy whilst I was there, although people did make the most of the happy hour and canapes. The food selection was fairly limited, however, with a selection of bar snacks, two types of salad, parma ham and cubes of cheese. Whilst you could, in theory, have it as dinner it really feels more appropriate as a little pre-dinner snack.
In terms of drinks, there was a selection of beer and wines, including a prosecco, plus Bombay Sapphire gin, Absolut vodka etc.
Dinner at JAQ
There are two restaurants at the Hilton Rotterdam – JAQ, the in-house restaurant plus Joelia, a Michelin-star restaurant that is independently managed. I had dinner at JAQ, which was refurbished more recently:
I had the boneless Korean BBQ ribs to start which were tasty:
Followed up by roast duck breast:
Both were good, although I wish the duck came with a cherry sauce or a bit of gravy. I didn’t get around to asking the waiter if they had any – he did come round to ask if everything was okay but I had a bit of a mind blank!
Breakfast at Hilton Rotterdam
Breakfast is also served at JAQ’s and features a buffet plus a small a la carte menu.
The buffet featured a range of cereals and dairy products:
Plus a hot station with bacons, potatoes, sausage etc:
Plus the usual range of pastries, bread and fruit. The a la carte menu featured various basic eggs, including omelette and eggs benedict. I went for the eggs benedict, expecting it to come with bacon, but in Rotterdam that clearly just means a poached egg, so I got some bacon from the buffet instead:
Weirdly, the English Muffin was whole!
As I write this I realise I’ve been unairly picking at various elements of the Hilton Rotterdam. Despite the slightly odd eggs benedict, the cosy bathrooms or the lack of coffee machines I really enjoyed my stay and would definitely stay here again.
Somehow, it mostly all just works. I think the amount of natural light helps to really brighten it all up, including in the executive lounge, and the rooms just feel warm and comfortable. I’m not sure I can quite put my finger on what exactly it is!
Rooms start at €140 per night or around 40,000 Hilton Honors points. You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.
How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (March 2023)
There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Premium and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
The Platinum Card from American Express
30,000 points and unbeatable travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review
Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.
You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with:
- American Express Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (10,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
Until 30th March 2023, the sign up bonus on American Express Business Platinum is increased to 120,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. The bonus on American Express Business Gold is increased to 60,000 Membership Rewards points – click here. T&C apply, see the application forms for details.
The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.
Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)