Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Tale of Two Hotels in Rotterdam

My stay in Rotterdam included two very different hotels both with an international theme.
(Pretty appropriate for a travel blogger conference, right?)
But the theme is about all they have in common.  They couldn't be more different.

The first is the newly opened, luxurious Mainport which is where I stayed for the first four nights.
It's a very beautiful, modern Design Hotel located in Leuvehaven near the Erasmus Bridge.

The 215 rooms are spread over six floors each themed with a different continent.
(I was on the Orient Floor.)  The restaurant "Down Under" and the bar "On the Rocks" both with an Australian theme are on the lower floor.    And "Heaven" awaits you in the eighth-floor spa facility complete with a Turkish steam room and a hammam. 

As a delegate at the conference, we were offered a deeply discounted rate of €90 per night with breakfast.  I was upgraded to a Waterfront Sauna Room which was huge with a lovely view of the harbor.  This room would normally book for about €250 per night.  As the Mainport had just opened on the Monday prior, I was probably the first person to stay in the room.  It had all the extra little details that you'd  expect in a five-star hotel (not that I've stayed in many).

King Size Bed Mainport Rotterdam

Mainport Hotel Rotterdam Waterfront Sauna Room

Coffee Maker Mainport Rotterdam

Whirlpool Tub Mainport RotterdamSuana Mainport Rotterdam

 The whirlpool tub was wonderful.  An added little bonus was the TV within easy view hidden in the bathroom mirror.    Of course, I tried the Sauna.  It was a little scary as I've never used one and I was basically pouring water over an electric heating element.  (I had visions of electrocuting myself and not being found for days.)  Safety tip:  The water leaks right through to the floor making it slippery, so be careful.  

The conference was held on-site each day and the facilities and service were great, including lunch.  The only glitch was that the wifi wasn't quite up to speed.  You can imagine with 150 bloggers descending on them, they weren't quite prepared.  I quickly learned that nothing makes a travel blogger grumpier than spotty wifi.

When the conference ended, I packed up and moved to a different hotel for two nights for the post conference blog trip hosted by Rotterdam Marketing.

Hotel Bazar couldn't be more different from the Mainport.
They call themselves "one of the most unusual hotels in Rotterdam."
I'd call them the most unusual in Europe.
It was certainly the most unusual one I've ever stayed in.  

Hotel Bazar Rotterdam

Hanging Lanterns Hotel Bazar Rotterdam

Hotel Bazar Reception

Hookahs at Hotel Bazar

The hotel has just 27 rooms and is located above the Wereldeethuis Bazar which is very popular restaurant established in 1997 in a listed building.  The three levels were packed full every night.  And the breakfast that was included with the room was amazing.

Breakfast at Hotel Bazar

Now here is where Hotel Bazar gets pretty, well... bizarre.  Each floor is again a different theme... Orient, Africa and South America.  (The industrial lift only goes to the third floor, so if you're on the fourth be prepared to lug your suitcase up an extra flight.)

Staircare at Hotel Bazar
Colorful hallway at Hotel Bazar

South American Decor at Hotel Bazar

Ceiling Fan at Hotel Bazar Rotterdam

I was on the fourth floor which is their "South American" floor (I think they might mean Latin America rather than South America) and here is my room...
Frida Kahlo Room at Hotel Bazar Rotterdam

Frida Kahlo Room at Hotel Bazar

  First Communion Dress and Mask Hotel Bazar RotterdamRoom at Hotel Bazar Rotterdam

Frida Kahlo Room at Hotel Bazar 
Bathroom at Hotel Bazar

Isn't it wild?  It was just a mish-mash of stuff.  I was stunned when I walked in to see the multiple colors, fabrics, patterns, prints and textures.  One wall was papered with Mexican newsprint and was covered with prints from Mexican artist, Frida Kahlo.  I love Mexico, so felt right at home.  There was a shrine with a little girl's first communion dress and a mask.  (Okay, that did creep me out just a bit.)

There was a poster of Fidel Castro above the toilet, because, well, why not?  The door opens out onto a stone balcony that is open all the way across.  (It had a good lock.) It was just the wackiest room.  

And the other blogger's rooms were just as crazy, all with a different theme. It was just wackadoodle and a bit wonderful.  It's probably closer to a hostel, than a hotel.  The single rooms are extremely small and they have a few very, large rooms that were quite exotic and just as unique.

The two nights accommodation was a complimentary part of the post-conference blogger trip, but this room usually goes for about €80.  Besides just being so bizarre, things were a bit shabby and rough around the edges.  But it was very clean and it was the best night's sleep I had.  I closed the black-out curtains, cracked a window and put the fan on and slept like a baby in fluffy, clean white bedding. 

Can you believe how different these two hotels are?
They are both terrific with something special to offer.

I would definitely stay at the Mainport again, if we were on that kind of budget.
But we usually stay someplace less expensive and spend the bulk of our travel budget on getting out and exploring.  We rarely use the spa facilities at a hotel.

I would stay at Hotel Bazar again just because it's so different and fun.  Plus the terrific restaurant downstairs is a definite bonus.  (Apparently, during the Summer this area of town is great for nightlife, so probably not the best choice if you want quiet.)

So, that's the tale of two hotels in Rotterdam.
Which one would you prefer?



  1. The first one looks luxurious, and the second looks super cool! I would enjoy both :)

  2. Wow! They could not be more different from one another. I would have loved to see your face when you entered your room at the second hotel. What a great experience! I would like to stay at either of the hotels but I have to say if I had to choose I would go with the second one out of my sheer curiosity to see it. It looks quite interesting and breakfast looked great. I'm all about a good breakfast! So glad you had a good time.

  3. Sarah @ The WanderbloggerMay 28, 2013 at 10:43 AM

    Oh, wow. More like Hotel Bizarre than Bazar! It's pretty incredible actually...out of the two, I think I'd want to stay there, just for the experience! They're both beautiful in their own way, though! You took such beautiful photos of them!

    I found your blog via another travel blogger's blog roll. We just moved to London, so I've been looking for some fellow expats who blog! When I get a little more time I plan on digging through your archives...with 71 posts about London, it looks like I'll have plenty of reading material. ;o)

  4. Two totally different hotels...but I the Hotel Bazar looks so fun! I love brightly colored quirky hotels!

  5. Bailie @ The Hemborg WifeMay 29, 2013 at 2:51 AM

    I agree the dress and mask are on the creepy side but makes for a fun experience!

  6. The first hotel reminds me of the hotel we had in Santa Susanna - I spent many an afternoon soothing my sunburn in the spa bath. I think I would have liked the second hotel more though - sounds lovely and quirky!

  7. I wasn't too sure at first, but it quickly grew on me. Especially after that breakfast! 

  8. I took a few pics with the mask on but they were just weird, so I didn't post them. Before going to bed, I tucked the mask under the clay pot. 

  9. I've never stayed anywhere like it. It was definitely quirky!

  10. Sarah,
    I'm so glad you stopped by and commented. Welcome to London!!! Don't you just love it? I popped over to your blog and grabbed a button. I hope you don't mind. I can't wait to sit down and read about your travels. We'll have to plan a lunch date some time. So nice to meet you!! xoxo

  11. Hi Gina,
    My face must have been pretty funny, I have the worst poker face ever. I just couldn't get over how wacky it was. But, it was definitely fun and that's what travel should be, right? xoxo Selena

  12. Perfect description, Andrea. I was actually more comfy in the second one as weird as it was. xoxo Selena

  13. Sarah @ The WanderbloggerMay 30, 2013 at 6:49 AM

    I think I'm really going to enjoy living here! Still trying to get adjusted to living in such a busy place, but I'm sure that will come with time! How long have you been in London?

    Of course I don't mind you grabbing a button! I will add yours as soon as my computer arrives in our shipment! It is so good to meet another southern US girl out here!

  14. I normally use breadboard to do this type of work, with one of these, job will be more easy.



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