How I Travel: Yvonne Van Der Klaauw Of Pulitzer Amsterdam
When you are travelling, there’s nothing quite like experiencing a place like a local. Homestays offer a certain authenticity, but the Pulitzer Amsterdam does one better by throwing you in the midst of the city’s famed heritage—while immersing you in tasteful luxury. We are talking about 25 canal houses of prosperous tradesman having been converted to a luxury hotel along the city’s most picturesque canals, Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht. And Yvonne van der Klaauw was in the midst of it all as the hotel’s director of business development.
Yvonne had no doubts about what career she wanted to pursue growing up. She set foot into the hospitality industry soon after graduating with a degree in hotel management in Zwolle, cutting her teeth in many luxury hotels across the globe. She started as a guest & public relations and sales manager at Prince de Galles in Paris and moved on to various high-level positions in the industry and across many luxury hotels around the globe. Although she confesses to “a fear of flying” the quintessential Dutch in her didn’t allow that to come in the way of her love of exploring her surroundings and enjoying life for what it is worth. Yvonne made the most of her overseas sojourns.
In 2015, her career path brought her to the Pulitzer Amsterdam, which was going through an extensive refurbishment and brand repositioning. The hotel, which was the brainchild of publishing heir Peter Pulitzer, initially opened only with 12 converted canal houses. The refurbishment, which spanned one and a half years was to take it up to 25 canal houses and a total of 225 individual rooms under the stewardship of creative director Jacu Strauss. The hotel is today one of the go-to design hotels in Amsterdam and a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ Legend collection.
Yvonne terms the hotel’s concept “casual luxury”—a place where luxury and the feeling of home come together. The Pulitzer Amsterdam’s opulent aesthetic and historic appeal, as well as the fact that no one room is designed to look similar to the other, may seemingly belie that thought, but a few thoughtful touches allude to it.
For one, each room bears a plaque with information on the tradesman who used to live there, almost instantly seeping one into the city’s 17th and 18th century heritage. Its strategic location in one of Amsterdam’s most stylish shopping districts, quaintest neighbourhoods and along two of its most Instagrammable canals make it a millennial magnet as much as a haven for seekers of Old World charm—Yvonne and her team know that they have to offer guests experiences that balance the old with the new.
Her time in the hospitality industry has also taught Yvonne the importance of work-life balance and ensures her travels do justice to both.
Yvonne van der Klaauw (YVDK) Every year, for the last 25 years, I have been going to Île de Ré in France—best lifestyle, fresh oysters, great white wine and beautiful landscape.
What do you love most about travelling?
YVDK Leaving the hustle and bustle of “the day to day life” to create new memories and having fun with family and friends.
Most memorable travel experience?
YVDK Too many great experiences, but watching the sunset on the Maldives with my family and swimming with manta rays is in my absolute top three, together with a hilarious cruise departing from Miami to the Bahamas and Mexico and a desert safari in Dubai.
And the worst?
YVDK When my camera got stolen in Costa Rica and we lost more than one week worth of pictures (this was before we took all our pictures with our phones)
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Favourite travel companion(s)?
YVDK My two daughters Sophie & Esmee. For two reasons: one, I feel I do not always spend enough quality time with them because of my job; and second, I prefer having them around me when we fly (I have to confess I’m afraid of flying).
If possible, I would also bring our Berner Sennen dog Senna. But she weighs 55kg and counts for an extra person, so not a very serious option.
Three things you always travel with?
YVDK My phone (camera), credit card and sunglasses.
What do you normally read on the plane?
YVDK A good thriller: James Patterson, Karin Slaughter and many more. Or, just lifestyle magazines.
Aisle or window seat?
YVDK Window seat please.
Your best travel tip?
YVDK Better half an hour too early than running late—not that I’m that good at it!
How do you overcome jet lag?
YVDK Go with the flow of your new destination as soon as you land.
Pulitzer Amsterdam is a member of Preferred Hotels & Resorts’ Legend collection. Find out more at pulitzeramsterdam.com
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