When I arrived at the Sofitel Legend Amsterdam The Grand, I was graciously received by the guest relations officer Mr. Roel Backus, who later gave me a private tour of the hotel. The building which is a luxurious five-star hotel today, dates back to 1411 when Amsterdam was a city filled with monasteries and convents. There were originally two convents here as is evident from the design of the building that has two courtyards. Over the centuries, the building has served as an elegant hotel, the seat of the city government, the office of the Admiralty of Amsterdam and after Netherlands regained independence, for the next 180 years as the Amsterdam City Hall.
The Council Chamber of the City Hall that has been designed in European art-deco style by a variety of artists, has been preserved as a heritage site by the hotel. In March 1966, the wedding ceremony for Princess Beatrix and Claus von Amsberg was performed here.
The spacious stairwell boasts of stained glass windows designed by R.N. Roland Holst, an influential representative of the monumental arts of his day.
There is a very special small hall in the hotel, the First-Class Marriage Chamber, decorated by Chris Lebeau. The walls are painted light green with flat human figures telling the story of a man and woman falling in love that extends to family life, maternal care and paternal admonitions. Meanwhile, a wedding is taking place on the stained glass windows. Even today, with the building in use as a hotel, marriage ceremonies can still be held on certain days. So it is not only the adornment of this very special chamber that has been restored, but its function as well.
When the building became the site of five-star hotel The Grand in 1992, the new owner did an excellent job of restoring the building. No expense was spared to replace or repair even the missing or damaged hinges and locks in the old style. The old Council Chamber, the beautifully carved wooden doors, the stairwells and stained glass windows have all been preserved. I was told that even the marble floor is 400 years old!
Also, read my post on 10 things to do in Amsterdam.