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21 Feb 2024

The Hotelier Edit: Jeroen Bronsveld, Area General Manager of The Hoxton Amsterdam

The Hotelier Edit: Jeroen Bronsveld, Area General Manager of The Hoxton Amsterdam

hotelIn an exciting collaboration with Patrick Brand from, Independent Hotel Show Amsterdam has been on the hunt for unique personal stories and insights into what drives hoteliers to deliver top level performances every day.

In the early morning during breakfast service, we meet at the original Hoxton Hotel on the Herengracht in the famous ‘9 Straatjes’ neighborhood. The lobby and restaurant are filled with an interesting mix of nomads, generation Z and attractive people. The atmosphere is vibrant, and the crowd feels at ease. 

We choose a quiet table in the corner of the restaurant, Lotti’s, with a nice view over the ground floor area. 

Jeroen has had a busy year with the opening of the new The Hoxton, Lloyd Hotel on the Oostelijke Handelskade. Previously operating independently as Lloyd hotel, it has recently been reopened as the 2nd Hoxton outpost in the Dutch capital after an extensive renovation. The Lloyd building was originally built as an immigration hotel for European travelers looking for a fresh start in South America after the first war. With respect for this part of the building’s rich history, South American touches are carried through in the current concept. Breman Brasserie for example offers an exciting all-day menu of European dishes with a South American twist and Barbue is a Argentinian inspired stand-alone cocktail bar housed in the original ticketing office of the hotel, often accommodating live Latin music nights.

Can you share a little more on how your passion for the hotel business started?

Travel and tourism appealed to me at a young age, which is why I chose to study Tourism after having finished my a-levels. Not really knowing what I wanted to do with my studies except for the fact that I wanted my internships to be abroad, I ended up doing my first placement at a very traditional classic luxury hotel called The Athenaeum on Piccadilly in London. I started in switchboard answering phone calls and passing on facsimile messages to the bellmen to deliver to our guests. The environment was like a completely different world from where I came from with a continuous flock of old school A-list celebrities hanging around in the public spaces, amongst them the likes of Dolly Parton, Joan Collins, Tom Hanks and Joe Cocker to name a few. Besides this what I enjoyed the most was how welcoming and interesting all my colleagues were, all with different backgrounds and nationalities. Everyone knew what it was like to show up in this big city without knowing anyone which made it so easy to connect and make friends.

The second internship was in France where I wanted to improve my French language skills and challenge myself as the only Dutch intern in Nice. I arrived there in January when there were no international tourists in sight, and with locals refusing to speak English at the time I was able to achieve my goal as a result.

After graduating there was no doubt I wanted to return to London where at that time in the late 90’s the first informal high end luxury hotels opened its doors. For the first 3 years I worked for Anouska Hempel hotels, the first one being the very minimalist Feng Shui inspired ‘The Hempel’ near Notting Hill followed by a brief stint as a Duty Manager Blakes hotel in Amsterdam which is now the Dylan on the Keizersgracht. 

London did not let me go and I returned to work at The Metropolitan hotel on Park Lane. A contemporary 5-star luxury hotel nestled between the far more traditional Four Seasons and The Dorchester. The Met was the first hotel which allowed for the staff to wear facial hair and show off their tattoos although still having to be perfectly groomed and provided with Armani suits. The hotel, together with its Michelin star Japanese restaurant Nobu and the members only Met Bar soon became THE place for everyone working in the creative industries like music, film and fashion. It was evident that there were a lot of people with money to spend who wished to spend time in a luxury environment but without all the formalities. It did not take long before other hotels picked up and soon Firmadale and Schrager hotels opened their doors too. The latter having opened a hotel in Soho called Sanderson which is where I went to after having spent five years at the Metropolitan, my last position being the Front of House Manager.

After 10 years in the British capital, during the financial crisis at the time I was given the opportunity to move back to Amsterdam to join the newly formed Executive Committee at Hotel de L’Europe. The hotel was partly closed when I joined and was undergoing a massive renovation. It was a great way to be reintroduced into the Dutch hospitality industry although I had to get used to how direct and outspoken, we are in this country. After 4 great years looking after all Rooms aspects and having launched a SPA in collaboration with Skins Institute, I was approached for my first GM role for The Hoxton. They were looking for someone local with international experience within the lifestyle segment.” Bingo!

What do you like about the hotel industry of today?

It has become more accessible. Also, with the introduction of social media, a hotel’s reputation literally lays on the street. Guests' experiences can be read back anywhere. This makes companies sharper, and you need to deliver a good product to survive in the long run. You keep being challenged. There is no room for a culture of mediocrity.

How does The Hoxton stand out from the crowd?

The Hoxton is a unique contemporary concept. The reception is deep inside the hotel, and you immediately get a living room feeling when you enter the building. The atmosphere is informal and the team we work with has a diverse mix of backgrounds and characters. We don't do self-check-in, this doesn't fit the concept as we value the personal touch. Everyone is equal in the team as in there is not much hierarchy, and we try to give personal original local tips to guests rather than sharing information on the city’s biggest attractions which anyone can find out for themselves on their smartphone. Places where you can drink beautiful natural wines or a nice local market to visit. This was the first hotel outside London, so it is very exciting to see how the Hoxton, as a British brand has successfully opened so many hotels across Europe and the US since.

London was definitely ahead of Amsterdam with locals embracing hotel lobbies as a hang out where the Dutch only saw hotels as tourist accommodation or conference spaces. Us launching our concept on the Herengracht in 2015 when Instagram starting the become big and influential has definitely helped to spread to word quickly and ensuring the majority of our bookings came in directly rather than search engines or OTA’s. The first two years after opening we worked together with Soho House who were responsible for running the restaurant, Lotti’s. Outsourcing F&B to a third party was not very common at that time in the Netherlands. The majority of our housekeeping team were also outsourced back then however as soon the hotel occupancy stabilized we were able to take on both the F&B and housekeeping team as Hoxton employees and this really complimented the team spirit.

 What challenges do you think the industry currently faces?

Attracting and retaining talent. Your current staff members are your best ambassadors for attracting talent, this is a pool of people who have affinity and connection with each other and the product of course. Salary is important but community feeling, appreciation and connection are more important in the long run.

What is your advice to someone who wants to start in the hotel sector?

Education is valuable but hospitality is in your heart. Personality and attitude are important, show interest and be curious! Be humble and don't immediately think you should be starting as a manager. I have no fancy high end hotel school background and have progressed through practice starting from scratch. By doing what I like working in a business and a brand which I felt a connection with and was proud to represent, my dedication and hard work always got recognized leading me to where I am today.


Treat someone how you want to be treated yourself.

Is the second Hoxton hotel opening a success signal that it's finally time for a well-deserved sabbatical?

Yes, a dream of which the seed got planted after my dad passed before his retirement age to not take life for granted. I thought to myself a few years back that if I was to get the opportunity to be able to take a year off in my forties to spend more time on health, family, and travel, I will take the chance to embrace this. That time has come now, and I am very excited. Of course, I will miss my team, some of whom I have worked with from day one however I have many exciting things to look forward to and I am confident we will stay in touch.”

“I am going to step out of my comfort zone and go to spend time volunteering at a game reserve in South Africa, a totally different environment! I wanted to go on an adventure by myself however still do something with a purpose which led me to this bristling organization that facilitates these kinds of trips. Besides this, I am looking forward to spending more time with my mother and partner with whom I’ll be travelling through Europe with later this year in a motor home. Oh, and I had to promise to finally get my driving license which is something I have made up every excuse for not to invest time on. Up until now haha.

What does the future hold for you?

I haven’t given it much thought yet on what I will be doing after my time off and I also try not to think about that yet. Hospitality is an industry I have enjoyed working in immensely over the past 25 years therefore it makes sense to return however at the same time I’m very curious what this time out will bring me mentally and who knows what will come onto my path… As mentioned earlier, I always try and keep a broad interest and stay curious.

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