Dreaming of sleeping in a canal-side townhouse à la Amsterdam’s Old Masters? Or are you better suited for a modern, more urban retreat, closer to the city’s creative class? Here, our 8 favorite stays in the Dutch capital.
Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
Amsterdam’s most luxurious hotel was worth the wait: opened in 2014, Waldorf Astoria’s Netherlands debut is as sumptuous as the brand name implies. Six 17th- and 18th-century palaces are the backdrop for just 93 rooms, which look out onto either a tulip-filled courtyard garden or the storied Herengracht canal. If you can tear yourself away from your view, you’ll find design that wows at every turn, from 18th-century art lining the walls to a grand staircase, Guerlain spa, and two-Michelin-starred restaurant Librije’s Zusje Amsterdam headed by lauded chef Sidney Schutte.
The 25 historic houses that make up the Pulitzer hotel are flanked by the Prinsengracht canal on one side and Keizersgracht canal on the other. The views are (needless to say) beautiful, but they don’t hold a candle to the newly imagined interiors by Jacu Strauss. The creative director spent a night in each guest room before dreaming up individual designs that marry Amsterdam’s past and present—think flea-market finds like oil paintings, gold-framed mirrors, and Delft tiles alongside modern pieces by Maarten Baas and Piet Hein Eek. The magic continues at the in-house flower shop, where you can design an arrangement for your room, or on the hotel’s 1909 cruiser boat, which gave Winston Churchill a canal tour back in 1946.
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Whether intentional or no, architect Piero Lissoni’s modernist rendition of an old music conservatory is as artful as the rest of the surrounding Museum District. A soaring glass atrium at the Conservatorium welcomes guests with its courtyard brasserie and bar; upstairs, double-height classrooms and studios have been refashioned as airy guest rooms and decorated with period details. You’ll also find an underground spa and lap pool and top-notch restaurant serving East Asian-inspired dishes that spotlight local ingredients. Bonus: the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum are just five minutes away on foot.
The lobby of the W Amsterdam, on the top floor of a 1920s-era telephone exchange that allows for panoramic views of Dam Palace and the Singel canal, makes a dramatic first impression. The 217 guest rooms, split between here and a 1906 former bank building across the street, are spacious but more subdued, with stone-gray walls and upholstery and the occasional pop of color. Both the Mr. Porter steakhouse its more refined French-Italian restaurant The Duchess (which recently earned a Michelin star) are stylish and excellent for lunch or dinner, but it’s the W’s “Whatever/Whenever” signature service that convinces guests to book again.
The Hoxton Amsterdam
Fashionable hotel brand Hoxton does it again, this time in Amsterdam. A string of five canal-side townhouses now hold 111 rooms whose interiors read like spreads in Amsterdam’s hottest design magazine—think ornamental ceilings, clashing wallpapers, vintage finds from Noordermarkt, and swoon-worthy views of the Herengracht canal. Warmer days were made for dining at trendy Italian restaurant Lotti’s, which has its own retractable glass roof, while cooler nights are best spent at the lobby's cocktail bar, ogling the city's style set.
It’s easy to fall in love with this 1896 landmark hotel, whose neo-Renaissance façade fronting the Amstel River is just a prelude to the old-world beauty that awaits inside. Among the 111 accommodations are Dutch Masters suites and artist lofts decorated with blown-up details of Old Master paintings and even a Van Gogh room whose twinkling ceiling echoes Starry Night. Unlike the city’s hostels, which shoo you out the door to explore, De L’Europe has enough distractions to find a reason to never cross the threshold. Of the four restaurants, the Michelin-starred Bord’Eau shines with its elegant global cuisine (Norwegian scallops drizzled with yuzu and sesame; venison over Savoy cabbage and bacon), and there's even a dedicated cigar lounge with its own walk-in humidor.
Kimpton De Witt
Kimpton’s first foray into the European market is arguably its best yet. It doesn’t get more convenient than the Kimpton De Witt, which traded a canal-side setting for one downtown, steps from the central station. Its interiors are as effortlessly stylish and young as the city itself: look for blue-and-white Delft tiles in the lobby and exposed wood beams in the 274 rooms—old-world details that are juxtaposed with mid-century modern furniture and gilded lighting. There’s a walk-up window for coffee and beignets as well as a sit-down restaurant, but if you’re itching to explore, a fleet of free VanMoof bikes are there to get you on the road.
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Sir Adam occupies eight floors inside the Toren Overhoeks tower, one of Amsterdam’s few semi-skyscrapers that doubles as a headquarters for entertainment companies like Gibson. What that means: musical details (like lyrics etched into mirrors and a mezzanine music library accessible by Bluetooth) and stunning views of the waterfront and Central Station. Guest rooms are industrial chic, with exposed concrete walls, floor-to-ceiling windows, and fun extras like electric guitars and Crosley turntables. After dinner at the Butcher Social Club, head out to the art galleries or EYE Film Institute in surrounding Amsterdam Noord for a taste of the city’s creative scene—or better yet, dive straight into the action at the hotel’s basement nightclub.