Going above and beyond for guests is what drives award-winning Dutch hotelier Eric Toren on a daily basis. No request is too large or small for his handpicked team at TwentySeven Hotel, an opulent oasis on Amsterdam’s picturesque Dam Square with a sumptuous Michelin-star restaurant.
What does being ‘Independently Minded’ as an hotel owner mean to you?
With TwentySeven Hotel, I strive to create a five-star superior experience which exceeds expectations guests never knew they even had. To achieve this, creating the highest level of engagement and involvement with our guests’ stays is of greatest importance. Our guests should feel entirely welcomed and in the highest level of comfort during a unique stay which they will never forget.
Being fully independent in making decisions for TwentySeven Hotel is absolutely crucial to achieve these results. By being part of a larger brand there will always be limitations and regulations, which should be excluded from your operations when your goal is the very best. To me, a very large part of luxury means personalisation, following certain scripted procedures should never be a part of this. Some guests might prefer to be greeted with “Your Royal Highness”, while others might feel most at home when being greeted with “Good morning my friend.” This example perfectly reflects my personality in TwentySeven Hotel and is part of what makes our guests feel special.
As an independent hotelier, you are able to pioneer, which gives me plenty of energy. I wanted to create my dream hotel experience in one of the most exquisite hotels in the Netherlands – I admit that I challenged myself with this goal. By being independent I have the freedom to stage this dream and make all guests’ desires come to life. Most brands just follow certain trends; however, as an independent hotelier you are able to set a trend and pursue your individual dreams.
What was the inspiration behind the hotel, and where do you continue to find sources of inspiration?
My motto is that our entire life is a lesson. Our guests are the most essential source of inspiration for TwentySeven Hotel, they are the ones that innovate the hotel, time after time. I wish to learn from each and every experience and then reconsider the experience design. Expectations evolve in a high pace; therefore, continuously measuring guest satisfaction is our most valuable source of inspiration.
Instead of simply asking, “How was your stay?” during the departure of our guests, my young and professional team shows its passion and dedication for hospitality by asking, “What did you feel when entering your suite for the first time”, or “What could we have done to make your experience even more memorable?” This is the level of engagement that enthuses me and my team, and supports the endless journey to perfection.
How do you think your hotel stands apart from other boutique hotels?
My hotel has its own soul. When entering the hotel, guests are embraced by a tangible feeling and are immediately enveloped in a warm atmosphere. My philosophy is to continuously work inside out, I believe this is exceptional in the hospitality industry and really contributes to the TwentySeven feeling. In essence, this means that once the team is right and is emotionally connected, the communication to my guests will be passionate and sincere. Being able to open yourself up on an emotional level is a great point of attention in all the teams of my hotel, everyone is constantly aware of each other’s mental state, which I believe is very special and makes TwentySeven stand out.
I also believe the romantic, warm and mysterious design of the hotel creates a feeling of curiosity on a whole new level. Even though my hotel is located in the beating heart of Amsterdam, TwentySeven is still a true hidden gem. In all of the 16 wonderful suites of my hotel, you will feel a special harmony with the most lively square in the Netherlands, something you have never experienced before!
If you only had 24 hours to get a taste for your hotel experience, what would you recommend a guest must do?
After waking up at your own pace in your round bed of our Rooftop Stage Suite, our butlers will serve a drink of your choice, with which you can enjoy the stunning views over Dam Square. After, you should join us on the third floor in our Restaurant Bougainville for our recently introduced Breakfast Experience – a unique selection of small dishes which are all prepared à la minute by one of the chefs in our Michelin-star kitchen.
Then pass by the reception to ask for recommendations in the city that suit your personal interests, our professional Guest Service Agents are more than happy to arrange reservations, bike rentals, tour guides, or anything else for you.
After enjoying your day in the city, you should stop for a drink in our bar. Here, our bartenders will charm you with innovative and elegant cocktails – be indulged in the wonderful world of “fine-drinking”.
Freshen up in your suite and then sit down to a one Michelin star dinner in our Restaurant Bougainville, which is a must-try! Our Executive Chef Tim Golsteijn has created an elegant five- or six-course tasting menu and our well-known Maître Sommelier Ronald Opten will pair these wonderful dishes with the best wines from all over the world.
When returning to your room, our butlers will have filled up your personal white-marbled in-room Jacuzzi where you can enjoy a glass of champagne and some true relaxation.
How would you describe your own perfect luxury experience?
To me, a luxury experience should enliven senses and should express complete sincerity. Many hotels focus on designing a beautiful atmosphere and strive for a high level of personal service; however, true luxury is far deeper than words can describe. Providing the most wonderful facilities and amenities during a stay is crucial, but to go beyond this is when every general manager and every room attendant feels emotionally connected to the guest’s feelings during a stay.
As said, creating this luxurious feeling is not possible by following certain procedures or learning a credo by heart, every guest is different and each experience should be too. My philosophy is based on expectation management. What the guest tells you is the truth. My perfect luxury experience accurately follows this philosophy, what I feel as a guest should be more important than anything else. Not a single detail should be left unnoticed.
Do you have a vision for the future of the hotel?
My vision for TwentySeven Hotel is to continue creating a “WOW” experience for our guests and expand the brand TwentySeven in a way that the entire hotel market recognises it as one of the best. In the hospitality industry, consistency is more complex than anywhere else. Even though this complexity is high, consistency should play a large role in this vision I just mentioned. Guests expect to be stunned over and over again, every experience should have the same “WOW” factor, even if guests visit my hotel for the tenth time.