Strictly speaking Marcel’s Creative Exchange is neither a hotel or a B&B, rather it’s an impeccably decorated, artistic pad in the heart of Amsterdam aimed at those who love art and don’t mind a little eccentricity. How this 17th century town house came into Marcel’s possession is rather a convoluted story involving the following elements: an illegal gambling den, WWII, a lost son, a brokenhearted Jewish businessman who took Marcel under his wing, a coalition of culturally-minded entrepreneurs, various struggles against ruthless commercialism, and if not a triumph of will then at least a kind of reprieve that keeps Marcel in situ and in a position to share the fruits of his labour with canny visitors to Amsterdam. Note that the hotel is sometimes closed in the winter months.
Marcel’s Creative Exchange is actually three rooms in an old house which is inhabited by Marcel who, as an artist, also works from home. Anywhere else, this could seem awkward, but somehow Marcel has found a way of going about his day while ensuring that everyone feels right at home. (Aside: Marcel is the first octogenarian we’ve met who gets around in Hollister and has a taste for Massive Attack – something for the rest of us to aspire to.)
The house is located right in the heart of central Amsterdam – pretty much everything is an easy walk from here and the canals are a dreamy stroll. Just tumble downstairs and wander off to breakfast.
What We Love
Throughout the house you’ll find great examples of Marcel’s graphic design from his long spanning career – ranging from typographic-led titles work for local Dutch television stations to posters he designed for the LA Olympics back in 1984. This is really what sets Marcel’s apart – the combination of personal touches and excellent taste.
Room to Improve
Each room is beautifully appointed, but we couldn’t help that notice that some surfaces needed a little extra work with a duster. No problems however with the bathrooms or bedding which were immaculate.
Access to the hotel is by an extremely steep, traditional staircase – this is probably the secret the Marcel’s trim line – so you’ll need to be a light packer and sufficiently able to mount several steep flights. The Garden Studio room does open on to the kitchen, so if you’re wanting absolutely quiet and privacy, request another one. Advice: if you want to slink in and out anonymously – this is probably not for you. Perks: the house is connected to the art cinema De Uitkijk – ask Marcel if you want to visit.
Marcel’s Creative Exchange
1017 NX Amsterdam
Tel: +31 20 622 98 34
Planning ahead: note that house is sometimes closed for periods of time during Amsterdam's biting winter when Marcel evacuates to his studio in Palm Springs.
Given Marcel’s taste for Massive Attack and Graphic Design you could fall asleep to this beautiful, hypnotic video clip of ‘Teardrop’ illustrated by Berlin-based designer & photographer Jonas Wedelstadt.