City Guide: Amsterdam

Clogs. Stag dos. Prostitutes. Forget everything you think you know about Amsterdam because there is so much more to this city than canals and cannabis.

It's impossible not to fall in love with the "Venice of the North" after a few days spent careening your bicycle over twinkling bridges and ogling Rembrandts through the windows of mansions along the grachten. Hop over for a weekend in this compact city and you'll leave with a warm, fuzzy feeling - and not just thanks to those coffee shops.

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Sir Albert Hotel

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Housed in a former 18th-century diamond factory in Amsterdam’s De Pijp neighbourhood, the Sir Albert Hotel is a hip boutique hotel full of quirky details. 90 rooms spread across five spacious floors are housed above one of the liveliest restaurants in town – the vibey Izakaya. A quick word with the concierge will score you the password and a spot on the guest list for The Butcher, a hazy, smoke-filled cocktail bar tucked away behind a burger joint. The rooms are sleek and spacious with inky slatted floors and ochre oriental rugs. Suites boast large soaking tubs, so upgrade if you want to splash around in style.

Address

Albert Cuypstraat 2-6 1072 CT

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JL No 76

Amsterdam, Netherlands

You’ll have a hard time dragging yourself out of bed at the JL No 76. The natural Coco Mat mattresses have seaweed and coconut fibre woven into them for easy breathing and the most comfortable sleep of your life. Despite being nestled in the bosom of Amsterdam's alternative to Rodeo Drive – the PC Hoofstraat – the hotel is surprisingly accessible. Cheeky design elements see dog sculptures sporting crash helmets in the lobby and works by Dutch artist Barbara Broekman in the bedrooms. The rooms in these converted 18th-century mansions are sleek and monochrome, with keen attention paid to guest's comfort. Fortify yourself for a day of museum hopping with the traditional Dutch pancakes offered at breakfast before grabbing a bike from outside the lobby and heading off for the museum quarter.

Address

Jan Lijkenstraat 76 1071 CT

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Conservatorium

Amsterdam, Netherlands

There is no doubt that this stylish hotel is incredibly luxurious, but what you might not know is that it is also Green Globe certified, meaning you can feel virtuous about this not-so-little indulgence. Architect Piero Lissoni has transformed the bank building that once housed the city’s most prestigious music conservatory into a sweeping, contemporary space of clean lines and expansive windows. Though the palette is generally muted, vibrant flashes of colour and original features like Delftware wall tiles and stained glass keep this feeling supremely Dutch. The futuristic lap pool and spa makes this hotel a must-stay for a long weekend in Amsterdam.

Address

Van Baerlestraat 27 1071 AN

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The Hoxton

Amsterdam, Netherlands

If you want to feel like a local and an important city official at that, head to the Herengracht and check into the Hoxton, home to Amsterdam’s mayor back in the 17th century. With one of the most desirable addresses in the city, the Hoxton is spread over five converted canal houses and is just around the corner from the Anne Frank House. Though the hotel is industrial chic it doesn’t feel cold thanks to warm wood tones, oriental rugs and remnants of the heritage houses it fills, such as original stone fireplaces and high, exposed-beam ceilings. Lottis, the restaurant in the lobby, is run in conjunction with Soho House and serves up Dutch favourites like bitterballen, as well as mean bloody Marys.

Address

Herengracht 255 1016 BJ

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The Generator

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Amsterdam Oost (East) is like Shoreditch ten years ago – up-and-coming cool. While it’s not in the town centre, the Generator is inexpensive and a far cry from your typical hostel featuring bunkbeds and crusty sheets. Keen attention to design details makes this budget option still feel special, though the communal spaces do have the bustling, youthful energy making it easy to meet fellow visitors. While either twin or quadruple rooms can be booked, the Generator is perfect for a group trip, with a plush apartment overlooking the Oosterpark that can house up to six – ideal if you want to save a little money for extra biertjes and poffertjes.

Address

Mauritskade 57 1092 AD

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Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Not your run-of-the-mill hotel, this eccentric and eclectic spot has history and charm in abundance. With rooms ranging from one to five stars, there’s something to suit most travellers and budgets. The cheaper options offer shared bathrooms and the most luxe boast quirky treats, like a swing in the bedroom and a bed big enough for seven. Rooms from £81/night

Address

Oostelijke Handelskade 34 1019 BN

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Volkshotel

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Set in the former offices of the De Volkskrant newspaper, just a few minutes͛ walk from the popular De Pijp neighbourhood, this budget boutique find is a lot of fun. There͛s a creative feel to the place, with nods to the building’s history throughout and rooms individually designed by local artists. Perhaps most notable, however, are the rooftop hot tubs, sauna and terrace – perfect for a sundowner with a view. Rooms from £70/night

Address

Wibautstraat 150 1091 GR Amsterdam

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Stout & Co

Amsterdam, Netherlands

If you’re looking for something small, charming and incredibly stylish, Stout & Co might just be the answer. More boutique B&B than bonafide hotel, this owner-run gem was set up by an interior and landscape designer (whose studio is based in the building) and the finish is accordingly on point. Add its former brewery setting, Aesop toiletries, organic breakfast goods and plenty of local tips into the mix and you’ve got the perfect launchpad from which to explore the city. Rooms from £119/night

Address

Hoogte Kadijk 71 1018 BE

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Sir Adam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Set across the waters of the IJ in a 1970͛s tower block, a short ferry ride from the city, this slick design hotel is perhaps not what you first imagine of when dreaming of your classic canal-side dwelling. But wait until you see the views, with many of the stylish, warehouse-style rooms boasting floor-to-ceiling windows and a sky-bar up on the 20th floor. Rooms from £130/night

Address

Overhoeksplein 7 1031KS Amsterdam

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Hotel De Hallen

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Housed in a former tram depot in vibrant Oud-West, there’s a cool industrial-cum-Scandi vibe to de Hallen. Come the summer months, the sun-blessed terrace is a popular spot and you’re within walking distance of plenty of great cafés and bars with the buzzy Foodhallen right next door. Rooms from £118/night

Address

Bellamyplein 47 1053 AT

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The College Hotel

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Built as a boys’ school in 1865, there’s still an educational angle to this luxe pick, with the hotel offering a training ground to students looking to make their mark in the hospitality industry. They’re already well versed in excellent service and the rooms – set across the former school͛s classrooms – are decidedly stylish. Rooms from £110/night

Address

Roelof Hartstraat 1 1071 VE

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Hotel Dwars

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Housed in a converted townhouse in the heart of the Canal District, this sweet and simple hotel offers little in the way of amenities but plenty when it comes to charm. While the building’s typically narrow structure means a fair few stairs and small rooms, the style has a vintage flair and there are plenty of bars and clubs within walking distance. Rooms from £94/night

Address

Utrechtsedwarsstraat 79 1017 WD

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The Hoxton

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Coming in just about on budget, this outpost of The Hoxton is an undeniably popular pick and for good reason. Spanning across five canal houses on Herengracht, many of the city’s top sights are just a stroll away and the insouciant industrial-chic Hoxton style is prevalent throughout, with a mix of mid-century furniture and more contemporary design. Rooms from £150/night

Address

Herengracht 255 1016BJ

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The Tire Station

Amsterdam, Netherlands

You’ll be hard-pushed to find better rates than at this eco-friendly spot out by Vondelpark. Rooms are well designed with a crisp and contemporary feel (though little in the way of frills) and the staff couldn’t be more welcoming. While it’s a bit of a walk to the sights, there’s a tram stop right outside and you might well fancy the exercise after discovering the hotel’s Sticky Fingers patisserie. Rooms from £50/night

Address

Amstelveenseweg 5 1054 MB

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Hotel Not Hotel

Amsterdam, Netherlands

This quirky joint is not for the faint-hearted. More art installation than hotel, each of the rooms has been designed by a different creative and are dotted about the largely open-plan space, from the Tram Cart room set in a disused tram to the Crow’s Nest tucked up in the eaves and accessed via a ladder. Rooms from £63/night

Address

Piri Reïsplein 34, 1057 KH Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Sir Albert Hotel

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Housed in a former 18th-century diamond factory in the achingly cool De Pijp, Sir Albert is hip but not overtly so, and draws an older, more understated crowd as a result. Its 90 rooms are spread across five floors and in contrast to the darkly-lit communal areas of the hotel, boast huge windows and white walls, with flecks of chocolate-coloured décor adding a flash of indulgence. Downstairs, the hotel bar buzzes most nights, while trailblazing Japanese fusion restaurant, IZAKAYA, makes an impressive culinary impact. Make friends with the concierge and you might just score the password to a secret, smoke-filled cocktail bar behind The Butcher, an affiliated burger joint.

Address

Albert Cuypstraat 2-6 1072 CT

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QO Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Designed with sustainability in mind, QO proves that eco-resorts are the hotels of the future. Committed to a philosophy of sustainable travel, QO Amsterdam covers all bases in this endeavour. Energy conserving thermal panels? Check. Carpets made from 100% recycled materials? Check. Reusable water system? Check. Start your day at Embody, QO’s wellness studio. Designed to calm, nourish and relax the mind and body, we suggest Cocoon Meditation (a class where you meditate in anti-gravity silk hammocks). For lunch, head to Persijn, QO’s Dutch restaurant, which boasts a menu created from only local and sustainable produce. Once you’re suitably full, find Juniper & Kin for your alcohol fix, where cocktails are made from botanicals sourced from the hotel’s rooftop greenhouse. Situated on the 21st floor, sip away while enjoying panoramic views across Amsterdam.

Address

Amstelvlietstraat 4 1096 GG Amsterdam

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Hotel de Windketel

Amsterdam, Netherlands

Windketel is a free-standing octagonal brick tower, originally built in 1897 as part of Amsterdam’s waterworks. Today it’s a trendy apartment spread over three floors and is surrounded by a charming garden. The kitchen and dining-room are on the first floor, while the living space takes up the second and a romantic spiral staircase takes guests up to an attic bedroom illuminated by a skylight. This discreet hotel is located in the Westerpark neighbourhood, which buzzes with events year round, while historical Jordaan is also close by.

Address

Watertorenplein 8c 1051 PA Amsterdam

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The Arcade Hotel

Gamers, prepare to geek out. Fittingly located in Amsterdam, guests at The Arcade can game until their heart’s content, with rooms complete with an Nvidia Shield TV box which uses GeForce Now and lets you stream high-end games. Bigger rooms come with two wall-mounted televisions, while all rooms are stocked with both a modern and retro console. It’s the perfect place to zone out after hitting up a coffee shop.

Address

Sarphatipark 108, Oud Zuid, 1073 EC Amsterdam

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Inntel Amsterdam Zaandam

Upon arriving at the Inntel Hotel, you can’t help but think you’re tripping out somewhat. Its exterior appears as multiple houses stacked upon each other, some upside down. A safe way of getting psychedelic while staying stone-cold sober, the hotel is inspired by the architecture of the striking traditional houses of the Zaan region. While its exterior may appear slightly dishevelled, inside everything connects up in four-star hotel glory.

Address

Provincialeweg 102, 1506 MD Zaandam, Netherlands