Amsterdam is not a big city, the atmosphere is almost village like. Even if you have just 48 hours to explore, you can still pack in lots of the highlights. It’s a good time city, a beautiful city – the streets lined with ancient canals and picturesque townhouses, with cyclists whizzing over cobbled bridges, and stylish boutiques and art galleries popping up on every street. Far from it’s old reputation as the stag-do destination, or famed for it’s red-light district, on our recent trip I discovered a new side to Amsterdam – design savvy, smart and luxurious. This was my kind of place.
Amsterdam is a perfect choice for a weekend city break, with the flight from London less than an hour, and if you fly from a small airport (like London City, as we did), the entire journey is easier than your commute home from work! There’s also a real sense of calm in Amsterdam. Unlike many cities, it lacks the rush and hustle and bustle and instead feels a lot more relaxed and calm. Well, perhaps that’s something to do with the legalisation of weed, but hey, I felt totally relaxed (without weed – I might add) and at home in Amsterdam.
Where to Stay
Our trip to Amsterdam was to celebrate the grand re-opening of the Pulitzer Hotel. Unassuming from the outside, the hotel has 230 rooms hidden within a façade of 25 canal townhouses – it makes a fashionable and well located base for business travellers and holiday makers alike.
Oozing old-world charm, efficiency and attention to detail, I was truly impressed with everything I saw at the Pulitzer. The redesign is a triumph; Jacu Strauss – formerly a senior designer at Tom Dixon’s design studio – lead the project, showcasing the building’s heritage to turn the Pulitzer into one of Amsterdam’s leading luxury hotels. With modern influences, every room of the hotel features contemporary styles which highlight the historical elements within the canal houses – all the while staying in touch with the rich past from the individual homes which have been combined to create the hotel.
Jacu himself gave us a a tour of the hotel, explaining his process from his visions right though to the finishing touches. Each piece of furniture we crossed had a story – perhaps a rare vintage piece, or a modern item from a renowned Dutch designer. The tiles on the reception desks had been drawn by Jacu and created locally, and the artwork behind them had been previously owned by a previous inhabitant of the townhouse.
Luxuries such as Le Labo amenities can be found in the rooms, as well as free wifi (of course!), an elegant tea and coffee making set, scrumptiously comfortable beds and the greatest shower I’ve ever had (set within a stylish marble and subway tile bathroom).
Close to Dam Square, the hotel is close to the Van Gogh Museum, the Anne Frank House, the Nine Streets and the beautiful flower market – all of which you can explore by foot or on one of the hotel’s bikes.
Left – Antique Collector’s Suite | Right – Pulitzer Suite
The Suites at The Pulitzer
While every room has it’s individual charms; ours had a bicycle suspended from the ceiling – and headboards reflecting the gables of the canal house that it’s located in – the hotel’s true masterpieces are the incredible themed suites.
Each with it’s own private entrance, they have been inspired by the characters believed to have lived in the buildings throughout the years. With the Antique Collector’s suite filled with antique furniture and collector’s pieces sourced locally and globally it’s a luxury lover’s dream with ornate golden mirrors, crystal drink decanters and vintage grandfather clocks. The Book Collector’s suite features a whimsical archway created from old fashioned titles, an old oak writer’s desk overlooking the canal, and a homely feeling created with rugs, paintings, and other personal touches.
There’s also the Music Collector’s suite, and Art Collector’s suite, and my personal favourite; the Pulitzer Suite. Pink and marble – it’s the most photogenic room I’ve ever seen (see it in motion over on my YouTube channel in this video) with huge windows overlooking the central courtyard and a victorian claw foot bath tub just steps away from the gigantic heavenly bed.
Where To Eat
Amsterdam is not short of incredible places to eat, and luckily if you choose to base yourself at the Pulitzer, you don’t even need to step foot out of the hotel to indulge in some incredible food. We enjoyed a three course dinner at Jansz – the smart but relaxed (how they managed to pull that off alone is incredible – you’d be just as appropriately dressed in jeans and trainers as you would in a sparkling dress) restaurant serving modern European cuisine. Each course was scrumptious, I enjoyed a creamy Burrata to start, followed by a melt in the mouth roasted lamb for my main. Desert was where we struggled – there were simply too many irresistible choices, so we shared the entire menu across the table. Highlights included the coconut panacotta with Lime Sorbet, and the New York cheese cake with Pistachio sorbet – absolutely delicious!
As with the rest of the hotel, Jansz is a spectacle on the eye – with marble and copper details throughout, as well as pink touches – it’s an elegant eatery with dutch references sprinkled throughout.
Pause at the Pulitzer
Back at the hotel, a light lunch or dinner option is also available at Pause. The stunning marble and copper bar just steps from the hotel restaurant hosts a menu of light dishes, ranging from soup of the day, to burgers and pesto pasta (all of my favourite things!). Diners can enjoy the stylish indoor seating of sumptuous green armchairs, or eat outside in the pleasant hotel courtyard, closed in by the grand townhouses.
The restaurant has an incredibly chilled out vibe, the soothing gardens are a lovely haven away from the bustling streets outside – a little gem known only by hotel guests and locals in the know. The tranquility of the gardens and friendliness of the staff and all those around you make Pause a perfect oasis for those wanting to keep a low profile too – in fact we shared the outside seating area with a very well known Victoria’s Secret model while enjoying our lunch!
Also within the hotel is the Pulitzer’s bar. We enjoyed a cocktail in the leather lounge – the type of place where you instantly feel at home thanks to the small nooks that you can hide yourself away in. The barmen are well equipped to whip up the finest beverages for you to enjoy while overlooking the enchanting canals, or curling up by the open fireplaces with a newspaper.