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Rotterdam has world class museums, a busy port with a fascinating history, and it’s a vibrant, lively place. So don’t overlook The Netherland’s second largest city just because it was totally flattened during WWII. In the absence of medieval charm, here you’ll find a constantly changing and regenerating skyline and a progressive approach to architecture and civic decoration. Which really adds to this city’s youthful, exuberant feel. Many of the best places to stay in Rotterdam are great modern experiments in architecture and design, and a lot of fun.
You’re also just down the road from The Hague.
Near the top of Rotterdam’s list of world class museums is the Museum Boijmans van Beuningen which has a superb collection of both Dutch and European old masters, as well as impressive works from all eras, including many Monets, and several works by each of Gauguin, Van Gogh, Degas, Magritte, Man Ray, Marcel Duchamp and Salvador Dali. In addition there's a city museum, the Rotterdam Museum, two maritime museums and a war museum.
Rotterdam is also a great place for shoppers. As well as boutiques, there are a number of markets, including the massive Blaak Market, which sells pretty much everything you can imagine, from food to clothes to antiques to fake antiques.
Saying all that about the architecture though, a very small part of Rotterdam did survive the war, the Delftshaven, or seaport for the city of Delft. It’s a bit out of town, and its windmill is reconstructed (not original), but it’s still a wonderful place for a stroll, packed with little delis and cafes and an outpost of the Rotterdam Museum. American visitors will also be interested in the fact that this is where the Pilgrims tried to leave for America, aboard the vaguely seaworthy Speedwell…
If you’re interested in more historic sights visit the beautiful recreated Dutch wilderness of Tuin Schoonoord park and Kinderdijk, with its 19 World Heritage Listed windmills standing on their reclaimed land.
Our pick of the best places to stay in Rotterdam are all ideally located right in the centre of town, so perfect for a short city break.
For modern style
- The stylish Mainport Hotel is right on the banks of the Maas River, with exceptional views. The 215 rooms are flooded with natural light, accentuated by white linen and patterned wallpaper. There’s also a spa and wellness centre, and you’re within walking distance of many of Rotterdam’s main sights.
- nhow Rotterdam is another large, modern hotel in central Rotterdam, but with great views across the port and the city. Designed by renowned architect, Rem Koolhaas, the decor is neutral and they offer bike hire as well as gym access. There’s also a fun rooftop cocktail bar.
For canal side cool
- Historic on the outside with contemporary interiors, the Suite Hotel Pincoffs is a laid back spot right on Rotterdam's trendy left bank. And with suites from just €110 per night, it won't break the bank either.
Still not sure which is the best place to stay in Rotterdam for you?
Best Hotels in Rotterdam
Suite Hotel Pincoffs 11 rooms from $115Rotterdam
A very cool hotel on the canal - its historic exterior complemented with up to the minute interiors. Boutique suites have mezzanine levels, warm decoration, and state of the art mod cons. Lively bar serving lunches and snacks make this spot a must for young couples and groups of friends.Value chic - With rooms from just €110 per night, it's excellent value.City Style - Chic modern accommodation in Rotterdam's trendy left bank.Sights nearby - Situated right on Rotterdam's historic waterfrontSailing - Can be booked nearby.
nhow Rotterdam 278 rooms from $151Rotterdam (3072 AP)
Slick, chic, designer hotel in Rotterdam. Ensuite rooms contemporary and modern in neutral tones with air conditioning, a free minibar and views across the port and city. With a fun rooftop cocktail bar, restaurant, gym and bicycle hire. A stylish and funky hotel.Designer - Designed by reowned architect Rem KoolhaasViews - Great views from hotelSights nearby - Well located for major sights.
Mainport Hotel 215 rooms from $157Rotterdam
Located on the Maas River banks with views overlooking it this is one of the most stylish hotels in town. Rooms are decorated with patterned wallpaper, windows that let light flood in and white linens. There is a spa, wellness centre including indoor pool and hammam providing numerous treatments.Local markets - The Markthal Rotterdam is as much a piece of architecture as it is Rotterdam's main marketSights nearby - One for the kids or adults visit Rotterdam ZooGreat walks - Through the Arboretum TrompenburgDesigner - Uniquely designed interiors.