amsterdam-view

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.

TO STAY

Sir Albert Hotel

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. Its 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. You’re an easy stroll from a mini red-light district (less touristy, more local) and an army of small restaurants. Feeling bold? Grab one of the hotel’s bikes and cruise over to the Museumplein for a peek at the Van Gogh and the Rijks. 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.

JL No 76

You’ll have a hard time drawing yourself out of bed at the JL No 76, as 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 the Rodeo Drive of Amsterdam, the PC Hoofstraat, the hotel is accessible and subdued, with some cheeky design elements – think 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 comfort. The leafy back garden will have you feeling like a local, as will the bikes offered just outside the lobby. Fortify yourself for a day of museum hopping in the nearby Museum Quarter with the traditional Dutch pancakes offered at breakfast.

Conservatorium

There is no doubt that this stylish hotel 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 that’s all 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.

The Hoxton

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.

The Generator

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.

The Generator

The Hoxton

Conservatorium

JL No 76

Sir Albert Hotel

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