A stone's throw away from Amsterdam's museum square, Pillows Anna Van den Vondel is ideally located for those looking to explore the city's art and design scene. True to the understated nature of the Dutch, this boutique hotel is elegant, unpretentious and "gezellig" (loosely translating to mean "cosy"). Following refurbishment, the 19th-century property reopened its doors in January 2017, offering 31 rooms and a beautifully appointed lounge and restaurant area. If you want to escape the tourist hordes and stag dos, you can't do much better than this; the hotel is tucked away on a small street in one of Amsterdam's upscale areas, surrounded by former palaces, townhouses and the city's biggest green space, Vondel Park.
Much like the rest of the hotel, guestrooms are carefully crafted for comfort and warmth; wooden interiors are paired with marble and meet soft furnishings in a rich blue hue. With minimalistic design throughout, it's the attention to detail that sets the hotel apart, such as the bespoke beds and walk-in showers filled with blue toiletries to match the décor. And yes, the hotel does offer numerous different pillows.
What's for lunch and dinner?
The restaurant offers a modern take on classics such as a croque monsieur, Ceasar salad and parmigiana. The concise menu covers all bases, from bar snacks through to dessert, with every dish is made to order in the open-plan kitchen, which looks more like your friend's house rather than a restaurant. Even the traditional "pepermunt", a staple of every Dutch café, restaurant and bar, is homemade. The restaurant is open 24 hours to satisfy any night cravings which may follow days spent in Amsterdam's coffee shops. [gallery type="rectangular" ids="109291,109289,109293"]
Is there a bar?
The lounge and bar area is called "Living', implying that this is a more of a place to relax, flick through a book or warm your hands by fire place rather than dance all night. The menu offers a selection of classic champagnes and wines, but the barman makes a mean old fashioned.
This is a small city hotel, so it doesn't have a gym or a spa, but with the Vondel Park on the doorstep, there's plenty of room for alfresco yoga.
Things I should know
If you need a break from waffles and apple pie, Amsterdam's hip chain of organic stores and cafés, Stach Food, has a branch just down the road. Stock up on healthy snacks or pick up a lunchtime poke bowl.
Within a short walk I can find…
The area around the hotel has good links to all parts of the city with the closest tram station just a five-minute walk away. It's also a short cab ride away or a 30-minute walk from the up and coming area of De Pijp, originally home to working class and immigrant families and now a melting pot of cultures and cuisines. Head to De Japanner, a Japanese-inspired bar and restaurant that serves classic drinks and finger food with a twist until late. Monday to Saturday sees the area transform as the streets fill with pushcarts and stalls at the local Albert Cuypmarkt, reputedly Europe's largest street market. Don't forget to pick up some Stroopwafels, which are freshly prepared at the market.