Neo-Renaissance style

Bleijs was one of the few Catholic architects of his time who not only designed in neo-Gothic style, but also in neo-Romanesque and neo-Renaissance styles. His best known work is the Sint Nicolaaskerk (church, 1887), diagonally opposite Amsterdam Central Station. Only half of his design for the Sint Elisabeth Gesticht (psychiatric hospital) was ultimately built.


The former St. Elisabeth Institute, 1983

From orphanage to youth hostel

The complex has had many different uses. During the First World War, the cellar was used as an emergency shelter for Belgian refugees. In the period after the Second World War it housed senior citizens and people with physical handicaps. The orphanage was closed in 1953, after which it functioned as a nursing home until 1982. During its time as a youth hostel, called the Sleep-Inn, in the 1980s it had a good reputation, among which such artists as Iggy Pop and Oasis.


A portion of the stairway at Hotel Arena, then used as a youth hostel, 1993

Hotel Arena

In 1992, work began on the lengthy renovations that turned the youth hostel into a four star hotel in 2008. Hotel Arena is not only a hotel, but is also a café, theatre, restaurant, club and meeting location. Large cultural events are also organised here regularly. Several original details were preserved during the renovations. A number of rooms are designed by well-known Dutch designers such as Marcel Wanders and Ineke Hans.


Dormatory at the youth hostel, 1992