Classic luxury in central Amsterdam
The majestic Hotel de l’Europe stands overlooks the river Amstel at the point where it flows into the heart of the city. With the recent renovation of the Rondeel building and the creation of a new wing in 2010 housing twenty-three suites, this palatial abode that dates back to the 18th century remains fresh faced.
The imposing size and monumental Art Deco architecture of the Grand Hotel Amrath Amsterdam – another reputable institution – make it a striking sight to behold. Built by the Dutch shipping companies at the beginning of the 20th century, the building’s imposing facade conceals a splendid gem of maritime heritage with an incredibly ornate stained-glass stairwell as its centrepiece. The rooms offer generous proportions by local standards and rates are surprising reasonable compared to other luxury establishments.
Set slightly away from the frenetic centre in the hip neighbourhood of De Pijp, the Hotel Okura redefines notions of elegance with its mix of classic and modern aesthetics. Guests who enjoy fine dining will be pleased to know that two of the hotel’s restaurants – the innovative gourmet restaurant Ciel Bleu and the traditional Japanese restaurant Yamazato – have been awarded Michelin stars. Two other addresses that are equally celebrated for their high standards and refined style are the Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam and the Conservatorium Hotel.
More intimate and more exclusive, Amsterdam’s boutique hotels offer a refreshing alternative to the larger chain establishments. While the choice is vast, two hotels stand out from the crowd: the Dylan Amsterdam (located on the Keizersgracht canal) and the Toren (located in the charming Jordaan neighbourhood). Both hotels have managed to preserve a rich Dutch-Golden-Age atmosphere, but where the Dylan has opted for a subtle mix of classic and contemporary décor, the Toren has gone for a plush Baroque style with hints of mysticism in its deep-red and black tones. Each comes highly recommended by past guests, as much for their faultless service and splendid décors as the Michelin-starred restaurants.
Fashionable design hotels
Leading the pack in terms of dynamic new concepts is the Lloyd Hotel. Having called on numerous artists to collaborate on the décor, and with regular exhibitions held throughout the year, contemporary art and offbeat design play a central role in this hotel’s identity. Another discerning feature is the fact that the hotel proposes not one but five categories of accommodation, each offering a different level of comfort, size and service. The rates range accordingly, starting from €95 and rising to over €400 for the highest standard of facilities. It’s worth knowing that the hotel regularly offers promotional packages. Set in a former prison block on the docks, the Lloyd is a fifteen-minute trip on public transport to the city centre.
Completely futurist, the Qbic Hotel WTC embodies the idea of an accessible design hotel. Clean lines, stark-white walls and coloured neon lighting create a resolutely contemporary décor. The result is more electric than Zen, but well worth a visit for the affordable rates – prices are kept low by cutting down on services, so check-in is automated and personnel are a rare sight. Located in the business district, the hotel could also appeal to forward-thinking professionals.
At the high-end of design hotels, the décor at the Andaz Amsterdan Prinsengracht is reminiscent of a Dali dreamscape with its surreal, wacky artwork and original design features. Two more noteworthy addresses for those keen to sample cutting-edge design are the highly fashionable Lute Suites, where bold design statements have been craftily integrated into a historic industrial building, and the trendy art'otel amsterdam, packed with original artwork and modern features.