The Amsterdam Guide
Picture-book beautiful, friendly, and bolstered by a history so rich that even the most unassuming buildings have a story to tell, Amsterdam is an exciting—yet refreshingly approachable—city to discover. The locals are famously forward-thinking, too, evidenced by everything from the culinary landscape, to the art scene, to the retail concepts, which all feel next-level cool. Plus, every neighborhood is compact and pedestrian-friendly, so it can all be easily accessed by foot (or bike, or boat).
The Waldorf AstoriaHerengracht 542-556, Grachtengordel | +31.20.718.4600
Spread out over six stunning buildings on the banks of one of Amsterdam’s most memorable canals, the Waldorf Astoria is just as much a historic landmark as it is a supremely plush place to stay. The rooms and suites are reflective of the unique surroundings, meaning that no two are the same—though the elegant décor and awe-inspiring views are consistent throughout. The central location means most sights are just a short stroll away—that said, the Guerlain spa (complete with indoor pool), a four-deep restaurant roster, and the immaculately manicured gardens make spending a day on property very compelling.
The AndazPrinsengracht 587, De 9 Straatjes | +31.20.523.1234
Like so many of Amsterdam’s most impressive canal-side properties, the building currently occupied by this whimsical Marcel Wanders-designed hotel had a past life—in this case, as the city library. While one might be inclined to spend all their time in the dizzyingly beautiful lobby, the kitted out guestrooms—with their ample breathing room and generous views—offer a welcome reprieve from the hustle and bustle outside. While the knowledgeable concierge team can point you in the direction of many incredible restaurants, the on-site Bluespoon and its namesake bar both deserve a visit. Same goes for the spa and lovely gardens.
The DylanKeizersgracht 384, De 9 Straatjes | +31.20.530.2010
This eclectic and ideally situated hotel pays homage to Amsterdam’s storied history both in architecture (it’s housed in a former theater that dates all the way back to the 17th century) and décor (antiques and original art everywhere). Guests get to pick between five distinct room styles to fit their individual needs, though we’re especially fond of the breezy, wood-beamed loft rooms. Dylan’s Michelin-starred restaurant, Vinkeles, is nestled in the lush courtyard and deserves a visit even if you’re staying elsewhere.
The HoxtonHerengracht 255, De 9 Straatjes | +31.20.888.5555
Being that it’s the first Hoxton location outside of London, there’s an inherent polish to this cool, new hotel in the very walkable 9 Streets neighborhood. The 111 rooms are spread out over five historic canal houses and run the gamut from Shoebox (just teeny enough for one), to Concept (downright sprawling with meticulously restored original details) with rates to match—the WiFi, mini-fridge contents, and daily “breakfast bags,” however, are all 100% free. The true appeal here, though, is in the communal areas: There’s a cocktail den, lobby bar, and Lotti’s, an excellent Italian-inflected restaurant that just happens to be under Soho House supervision.
Max Brown HotelHerengracht 13-19, Grachtengordel West | +31.20.522.2345
There’s something about the eclectic mix-and-match décor, dim lighting, and hipster staff that make this boutique hotel feel like a more intimate, Dutch equivalent of the Ace. The canal house set-up, residential location, and crazy-steep staircases lend any stay an extra authentic feel and the small-ish, well-priced rooms (there are larger options available, too) mean that it’s a great, non-corporate option for work trips or for those looking to spend the bulk of their time exploring. The on-site bar is actually frequented by locals and often plays host to local bands. We hear the Museumplein outpost is just as fun.
Hotel VNes 49, Centrum | +31.20.662.3233
There are actually two locations of Hotel V in Amsterdam, one in Centrum and one in Grachtengordel. Each is decked out in a warm design scheme that’s a mix of modern and vintage Scandinavian furniture alongside quirky accent pieces like antique portraits and decadent chandeliers. The hipster vibe is strong, too, with concierges decked out in Canadian tuxedoes and a bar menu that’s big on craft cocktails, which is usually filled with locals. The rooms themselves are a welcome place to settle in for a few days, with comfortable beds, cool bathrooms, and (worth mentioning since it's such a game-changer) excellent shower pressure.
Conservatorium1071 An Amsterdam, Museumplein | +31.20.570.0000
While it takes up prime real estate in a former music conservatory just a stone's throw from the Rijks and Museumplein, Conservatorium has a lot more going for it than location alone: Design-wise, the architecturally impressive lobby is both breathtakingly modern and traditional, all while keeping to an elevated, but not at all pretentious vibe (don’t let the bustling entrance fool you, this is a great place to stay with kids). Fittingly, the rooms are spacious, outfitted with the most state-of-the-art gadgets, and come with all the classic hotel comforts like plush beds and pristine bathrooms. Furthermore, there’s a world-class spa and gym and two refreshingly health-oriented but still somehow indulgent restaurants—all a testament to the city’s wellness-focused mindset.