Haven is a Place on Earth
Middag. To the beautiful south of Churchillplein lie the four inlets of Wijnhaven, Bierhaven, Rederijhaven and Scheepmakershaven. Due west of the latter haven along Leuvehaven is our destination. Seemingly giving up on multisyllabic Dutch mouthfuls, our hotel is simply and logically called Mainport. Inanimate nominative determinism. Top notch natch. This could be Liverpool or Rome, anywhere alone. Except it’s not. It is where it is, overlooking Oude Haven, Rotterdam’s oldest harbour.
Nacht. A civic commitment to the new is adhered to by architects MAS architectuur in this 215 bedroom hotel. All five stars of it. Lowland high life. The windows are massive as they should be, nodding to Dutch tradition and framing such envy inducing vistas and views and perspectives. Owner Karin Geurts has enlisted the help of designer Feran Thomassen to make the interior something to home tweet home about. The bedrooms are all blocks of pattern and enigmatic shadows. Enough monochrome madness to mask afterhours clandestinity.
Ochtend. As we hit contemporary architecture overdrive, overwhelmed by the scale of Rem Koolhaas’s De Rotterdam – Manhattan on the Maas, it’s time for a diversion due further west along the water via Coolhaven to Delfshaven. This intimate remnant of historic Rotterdam, missed by the Luftwaffe, is Dutch fridge magnet heaven. We’ve swapped stilts, pilotis, cantilevers and hangovers overhangs for crow-stepped gables, oversized sashes, canal bridges and – dada! – a windmill. All we need is blonde and beautiful clog clad locals and the cliché is complete. To quote Nicky Haslam as he serenaded the select audience in The Pheasantry Chelsea recently, “This has gone by rather too quickly!” We’re spinning with the stars above.