Exploring The Vibrant And Historic Amsterdam
Amsterdam, “The Venice of the North,” is the capital of the Netherlands and is renowned for its historical attractions, amazing art, and well-preserved old neighborhoods. It’s one of the most culturally diverse cities on the planet – drawing more than 5 million international visitors each year.
Today, we’ll be exploring Amsterdam with the General Manager of The Hilton Amsterdam, Alessio Colavecchio. And sharing the stage is Remi Oerlemans, the creator and owner of Amsterdam’s De Deli and Borri Box, with his take on this incredible city.
We are excited to explore this great European capital city on this episode of Destination Everywhere: Amsterdam.
Watch the episode here.
Exploring The Vibrant And Historic Amsterdam With Alessio Colavecchio And Remi Oerlemans
Andy McNeill and Todd Bludworth take us into the vibrant city of Amsterdam! With so much history and art, it is a great destination for all kinds of purposes. Culture and art enthusiasts will enjoy traveling across museums containing rich pieces from notable artists and figures. Even those traveling for business would also appreciate the diversity of the city. It is very walkable with lots of shops and restaurants, making it a great place for meetings and events.
Some notable cultural sites to visit
- Van Gogh Museum
- Rembrandt House Museum
- Anne Frank House
Helping you make your travel experience even more memorable, they invite two great guests! They sit down with the General Manager of The Hilton Amsterdam, Alessio Colavecchio, and the creator and owner of Amsterdam’s De Deli and Borri Box, Remi Oerlemans.
Growing up in Sicily, Alessio Colavecchio found his place in the hotel business at fourteen years old. He then moved to the Netherlands in 1999 and started working his way up at The Hilton Amsterdam—from being a waiter to now as the General Manager. Looking at Amsterdam from Alessio’s lens, here are the things he loves about the city and hotel:
- Destinations are measured by bike – Amsterdam is all about its bike-friendly experience. So much so that the distance is measured by how many minutes it takes you to bike to your destination.
- The Hilton Amsterdam – Located at the heart of both business and leisure, the hotel sits in a neighborhood that is proudly local. Its lobby alone boasts a view of the city, where you can trace its developments. Fun fact: it is also the site of John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s famous “bed-in” protest.
- Roberto’s Restaurant – This restaurant situated in The Hilton Hotel promotes the idea of a regional kitchen, with dishes made from pure ingredients according to the season.
From a historical site, we go to a relatively new place that you won’t want to miss while visiting Amsterdam. Andy and Todd talk to the owner and executive at De Deli, Remi Oerlemans. Deli is all about the lively energy brought by people meeting to have a great experience. They bring that personal energy to the food they present during the dine-in experience and take-out. It is a place of energy to share both on the spot and at home.
Remi also provides some great recommendations.
- Hortus Botanicus – This place contains a botanical garden that is very close to ARTIS – Amsterdam Zoo as well as The Resistance Museum.
- Canals of Amsterdam – What is an Amsterdam trip without experiencing its canals? You can find a number of beautiful boat tours to explore them.
- Winter Season – Experience Amsterdam’s canals in a different way during the winter season as you glide across the frozen rivers and ice skate!
- Bike-friendly city –With over 800,000 bikes in the city, Amsterdam has more bikes than people. You can go from neighborhood to neighborhood, museum to museum, all by yourself. All you need to do is rent!
- Jordaan Neighborhood – This neighborhood boasts a number of cafes, bars, restaurants, boutiques, and Noordermarkt (a farmer’s market and flea market all in one!). It is also home to the must-see Anne Frank House.
- Westergas – An old complex converted to bars, restaurants, and entertainment complexes, Westergas is a great place to visit from late afternoon to early evening. You might also want to check out Mossel & Gin.
- Rijksmuseum – Home of the Dutch masters, this museum houses works of Rembrandt, Vermeer, and Van Gogh, among many others.
- De 9 Straatjes (The Nine Streets) – If you love to shop, this shopping district is a go-to. Aside from the one-of-a-kind stores, cafes, and galleries, you would surely appreciate its pedestrian-friendly neighborhood.
About Alessio Colavecchio
I come from Taormina, in the metropolitan city of Messina in Sicily, Italy. It was during the first summer jobs that I became captivated by the hospitality industry and decided to forego a career in engineering to fully focus on my passion for hotels. My studies? They had nothing to do with the hotel business but rather building houses and streets like my father before me.
I started my hospitality journey at Hilton Amsterdam, in 1999, as a Food & Beverage Supervisor. I then worked for the Radisson Blu Amsterdam Airport before returning to Hilton Amsterdam as the Restaurant & Bars Manager. After going to work for the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam for a few years as their Food & Beverage Manager, I came back again to Hilton Amsterdam as the Director of Operations.
After that, I got promoted to my first General Manager position for Hilton Madrid Airport in 2012 but came back to Hilton Amsterdam not long after as General Manager until mid-2018, when I joined Hilton Lake Como as General Manager for almost 4 years and ultimately came back to Hilton Amsterdam in February 2022. So in total, this is my 5th time at this iconic property in my 6th position, from waiter to General Manager.
As you can see through my professional journey, there is something that keeps making me come back to Hilton Amsterdam. There is just something about this hotel that is very unique and continues to surprise me every time. At the same time, there is a familiarity to it, as this is the place where my hospitality career started, and I love to have been part of the history of this hotel in various roles throughout the years and take the hotel to its next chapter surrounded by a great team.
In my free time, I love to cook for my family and friends. As an Italian, I am also a proud football supporter of the Juventus team and love to watch my sons play.
About Remi Oerlemans
I am a serial entrepreneur, who worked for about 18 years in the corporate world, event marketing. Co-owned an international event agency and opened up my own delicatessen cafe in Amsterdam. Since 2016 I have worked as a creative director for international event agencies such as Balich Worldwide Shows. (Balich Wonderstudio) For a period, I taught event management at Hogeschool Zuyd for a few years. I still guide/coach entrepreneurial students. Covid pushed me to a change, more into strategic marketing consultancy. My old restaurant changed 360 degrees. I also did a 3-year trajectory to become a breathwork coach, which I am developing further.