By appointment only, Natasja Sadi makes what are quite possibly the most beautiful cakes and sugar flowers in the world. Clients fly her around the globe to bake custom cakes for their special occasions (collection can also be arranged from Sadi's Amsterdam address). These culinary masterpieces are created in the kitchen of Sadi's picturesque, Dutch canal house dating from 1776. The baker started her career as a wedding dress designer but after several years realized her passion had moved from the dress to the edible design element of the day—the cake. Wedding gowns are often kept by the bride as a keepsake, or passed on to future generations, and Sadi has adapted this experience to the cake in the form of her incredibly sculptural sugar flowers—made by hand and often taking several weeks to complete—these edible decorations can be kept (frozen) for years, or re-used perhaps on a birthday cake down the line.
Weteringschans 136, Grachtengordel
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.
Le Petit City Street Spa
Reestraat 16, De 9 Straatjes
This teeny offshoot of The City Street Spa offers a slimmed down version of the treatment menu: manicures, pedicures, and brow shaping—that's it. The most brilliant part of all is that they're devoted to walk-ins, meaning you can pop in for a quickie mani/pedi on a whim while wandering around Nine Streets.
The City Street Spa
Prinsengracht 764, De 9 Straatjes
The purpose of The City Street spa is to provide all the services one might look for in a traditional spa, but in an urban setting with busy schedules in mind. The treatment menu includes massages, facials, waxing, eyebrow shaping, and mani/pedis—all performed in a tranquil, minimalist environment. For the guys, there's face-mapping, manicures, and pedicures. There's a mini spa outpost a few blocks away that's really good about walk-ins.
Herengracht 115, Grachtengordel
The breathtaking Art Deco stained glass panels, gilded details, and winding wrought-iron staircase at this canal-side sauna were rescued from Au Bon Marché in Paris before it underwent a top-to-bottom renovation—the resulting space is a hybrid of immaculate Dutch craftsmanship and Parisian refinement. In addition to the various baths and relaxation rooms there are infrared saunas, a solarium, and the option to book a private massage. Fair warning: The unisex saunas and baths follow a strict no-swimsuits-allowed policy (towels are okay).
Van Baerlestraat 27, Museumplein
Nestled in the luxe shopping corridor inside the Conservatorium hotel, Skins Cosmetics is a beauty junkie's dream come true. In addition to a far-reaching roster of skincare and cosmetics lines, many of which are clean (Rahua, Kjaer Weis, RMS), it holds one of the most comprehensive boutique fragrance assortments we've ever seen. The staff is helpful but not overbearing, so feel free to approach them if you're interested in a quickie makeup tutorial or guidance in picking out a new signature scent. The gleaming staircase at the center of the exposed brick space will take you directly to the Meraki hair salon, where you can schedule everything from cut to color to an emergency blowout.
Keizersgracht 357, De 9 Straatjes
As gorgeous as the line of paraben-free skin care and bath product is, the true beauty of Marie-Stella-Maris is in its mission: Every purchase of an MSM product—be it a gentle body scrub or the deeply cleansing shampoo—provides 1 euro toward clean drinking water projects all over the world. The flagship boutique is an excellent place to get familiar with the offering and stock up (the line isn't widely available in the U.S. just yet). And if the name sounds familiar, it's because the Marie-Stella-Maris brand of natural mineral water is served at most local restaurants.
Rozengracht 106, Jordaan
The first thing you’ll see upon entering this sprawling, bi-level Latin American restaurant is something roasting on an open-air spit—a sight hardcore carnivores, in particular, are sure to get a kick out of. While the menu is in fact very meat-heavy, there’s plenty for veggies and pescetarians, too: you can easily make a meal of the sides alone (the cheese-smothered corn is unreal) though the ceviche list deserves ample attention. Needless to say, the rich wine selection will be appreciated by all.
2e van der Helststraat 3, De Pijp
This stop is an especially valuable recommendation if you're visiting Amsterdam in the cold winter, as the cozy interior is a pretty perfect place to warm up from the cold with a glass of wine. Stop by in the early evening to pick up a bottle of wine from their shop for dinner, or come after dinner for a more bar-like feel (they're open until midnight most nights).
Singel 460, Centrum
This glitzy, "American-style" bar is a central part of the newly revived Odeon building, a historical building that's been standing along Amsterdam's central canal since 1662. The bar has two identities, depending on when you arrive. Before dinner, it's a classy cocktail bar with a jewel-toned Art Deco vibe. Later on, things get a little more raucous, as it stays open until the wee hours. Check out the cocktail "laboratory" in the back, where bartenders prepare craft cocktails under an operation lamp.
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