Going Dutch: Hotel Manhattan, Rotterdam

After landing up from my flight to Brussels airport, my usual routine is to walk up to the train station situated right under the airport, and buy a ticket to my destination in the Netherlands. If I don’t have much time, I choose to take the Thaly’s but if I do have the time, I take the Belgian international trains. However, this time, the snow seemed to have had other plans for me. I wanted to take the Thaly’s and make it quick, but due to snow in the Belgium, France, Germany belt, it did not look like international trains were plying as per their timetable. I eventually took a gamble to keep crawling upwards, and after four train changes, I was at my destination. It took some help from the reservations staff, and some running around platforms, but I made it in time for my first meeting for the day (however, had to skip the lavish lunch spread before!)

Manhattan Hotel is the only 5-star rated hotel in Rotterdam, and the one I usually end up at because of its proximity to the Rotterdam Central station (even if you fly into Amsterdam Schipol, you’d usually use the train to come to Rotterdam). This hotel was earlier managed by Starwood Hotels under the Westin brand, however, over 5 years ago it changed labels to the Manhattan Hotel and has been independently managed since.

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On arrival at the hotel, I proceeded to check-in, where I was handed out my keycards for a room on the Executive Floor, while I was booked for a Superior Room. I find myself frequently upgraded at this hotel, which gives me access also to the Executive Lounge, the only perk I get extra because everything else is always paid and included in my room rate.

I went over to the 12th floor, the highest they have in their hotel. The room was a comfortable stay, and I prefer it over some of the other hotels in the city. There was about enough space to give the room a feeling of space, and there was a view of the city and the port in the backdrop as well.

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The Executive Floor room

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City view

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Refreshments & ‘Electronic Refreshment Centre’

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Bath, equipped with Zenology amenities

While it is the most luxurious hotel around here (the Hilton is pretty old in comparison) and there are no other chain hotels around, there are three things that are beyond me here. First, the entire lobby is painted a very dark shade of purple, which can be pretty gloomy. Then, they have these complicated coffee machines like the one above, which might make good espresso shots, but what if someone wanted normal freeze-dried coffee? And by the looks of the machine itself, I never bother to operate it. Third, the small cube-shaped bars of soap. They always slip out of my hand while trying to use them, so definitely cool but not user-friendly if I may borrow the term.

The housekeeping at the hotel was pretty uneven over the three days that I was there. The first day, an overenthusiastic housekeeping staff walked into the room with her key without a knock on the door. However, in the evening, they did not do the turndown service. Day 2, they managed to do everything right from housekeeping to the evening turndown. Day 3, the housekeeping was done, but no evening turndown. I couldn’t figure out what was playing out around here, or was their a secret code to get consistent service. As a result, some days I’d get a complimentary bottle of water, others I won’t. And, the tea bags placed in the room never got replaced after they ran out of them.

The internet connectivity at the hotel was patchy at best. I’m okay with expiring passcodes, but to have to stand next to the bath to get a better signal from the lobby transceivers of the hotel wifi is a total mess. So there were pockets in the room where wifi internet would work, and others where it won’t. And it wasn’t the best places where the internet would work.

Breakfast was pretty good all the days I was there, and American Breakfast was included in the price of my room due to a corporate rate, usually, one would have to buy it separately. Breakfast was served on the first floor, in the all-day dining restaurant, the Manhattan Brasserie from 6:30 AM to 11:00 AM everyday. The choices, some of them, were uniquely Dutch, such as milk placed next to the juices and loads of options on the cheese.

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The Restaurant

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View from my table everyday

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Cereals, Juices & Milk

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The Coldcuts and some visualisations on top

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Hot portions

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Loads of cheese to choose from

Some of the options on the cheese changed daily, however, the hot breakfast options remained consistent over the days and included scrambled eggs, baked beans, breakfast sausages, tomatoes, bacon strips, hash browns and sautéed mushrooms. And while I did not have the time for a longish breakfast most days, the final day when I did, I managed to get some eggs on order as well to be included on my breakfast.

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My breakfast

I never got a chance to try room-service, because I’d usually be out of the room for the full day and return after dinner. However, I did get a chance to pop into the executive lounge located on the 10th floor a couple of times, which is a very functional but comfortable area, again, overlooking the Central train station. The Lounge is open from 6 AM to 10 PM in the night, and access is controlled by key-cards, so you won’t find any staff present in the lounge, except visiting every now and then to clean up and organise. Only executive floor residents and suites get access, and they do have day-long servings of coffee, beer & wine and dry snacks. Apart from that, the workstation in the lounge could be used to make prints or access the internet, but there was only one for all the residents. I did hear that there is a cocktail hour, but never about managed to time my trip to the lounge accordingly.

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The Manhattan Executive Lounge

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All day refreshments

The last day, I requested for a complimentary extension on my check-out time for a few hours, since I really wanted to come back from my meetings and switch into casual wear before starting my trip back to Brussels, however, I was told it was going to be chargeable so I did not push it.

As for points on this stay, I wasn’t going to earn much since the hotel is not the part of any chain, but by virtue of being a member of the WorldHotels, they were going to be able to offer me a small mileage credit to one of my airline mileage accounts so I put in the number there for my AAdvantage account.

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About Ajay

Ajay Awtaney is the Founder and Editor of Live From A Lounge (LFAL), a pioneering digital platform renowned for publishing news and views about aviation, hotels, passenger experience, loyalty programs, travel trends and frequent travel tips for the Global Indian. He is considered the Indian authority on business travel, luxury travel, frequent flyer miles, loyalty credit cards and travel for Indians around the globe. Ajay is a frequent contributor and commentator on the media as well, including ET Now, BBC, CNBC TV18, NDTV, Conde Nast Traveller and many other outlets.

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  1. Have to say that the concept of ‘American Breakfast’ has been downsized a lot through the years. Some hotels just offer tea/coffee, one juice/smoothie and one piece of bread/croissant under the name, maybe with cold cuts. This looks a proper one though, can’t go wrong with some hot options and made to order eggs.

  2. Comprehensive & thorough review as usual AJ, good work. I plan to read a lot about travel this year especially with all my travel plans getting canned for 2013. Though next year should be a grand comeback

  3. I think I saw the Manhattan listed under a Hotels.com search back when I thought I was headed to Rotterdam for a week. Not great rewards- but free night after ten nights is better than nothing.

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