January 11, 2023
Tablet is your source for discovering the world’s most exciting boutique hotels — places where you’ll find a memorable experience, not just a room for the night. For over twenty years we’ve scoured the earth, evaluating hotels for every taste and budget, creating a hand-picked selection that’s proven and unforgettable. Now, we’re the official hotel selection of the legendary MICHELIN Guide.
Here are the top boutique hotels in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
We’d bet money that the team behind the SIR brand of hotels were big into imaginary friends as children. How else do you explain their propensity to design boutique hotels with fully formed human personalities? In this case, Sir Adam happens to be a music impresario. After a few too many years of the nomadic rock-star lifestyle, he’s looking to settle down — and he wants to invite some of his hippest friends to stay with him at his new place in Amsterdam.
His “home” is eight floors of the modernist A’DAM Tower, formerly a Shell office building. It’s one of the few tall buildings in town, built during the relatively short window of time after the advent of the modern skyscraper but before the city placed height limits on new construction. Translation: Sir Adam boasts some of the best views in Amsterdam, looking out over the decidedly non-modernist city center, Central Station, and the waterfront. And Sir Adam fits right in with the neighbors: Other A’DAM Tower tenants include the guitar manufacturer Gibson and a handful of music companies.
If you suspect that the Jaz Hotel Amsterdam might have a little something to do with music, you aren’t wrong. But far from being a strictly jazz-themed hotel, it’s more properly described as an all-purpose hotel for the modern traveler. Modern meaning young, or simply young at heart — anyone, in short, who appreciates an eclectic combination of rough-edged industrial chic and tasteful modernist-classic design furniture, and who prefers big, bold, street-inspired art to the usual nondescript watercolors.
There is a musical focus, to lend some substance to the name — the rooms are acoustically tuned, and feature audiophile-quality sound systems, a major step up from the usual docking clock radio. In-room yoga supplies, organic bath products, and even runner-centric city maps get the message across that it’s not one for the suits-and-boardrooms type, unless you’re a suits-and-boardrooms type with a fitness habit and a pronounced casual side.
A standard hotel room is organized around a singular piece of furniture: the bed. At Zoku Amsterdam, located in the Eastern Canal District, a kitchen table is the central feature. It’s a welcome admission of a basic fact that most travelers already know — that a hotel room, particularly in an urban location, should be more than a place to sleep. This is Amsterdam. You’re not unplugging your devices, you’re not on a getaway to a tropical island. You have work to finish up, e-mails to answer. Maybe you’d like to make your own coffee, maybe you’d rather grab a few pastries from the corner bakery than go out for breakfast.
Zoku is one of a wave of new hotels that don’t just accept that reality, but embrace it, offering up smartly designed lofts that merge work and living space. The hotel’s slogan is “the end of the hotel room,” and while technically you can still check into a room that’s just a room — the tiny but efficiently laid-out Zoku Room — the draw here is Zoku’s series of cool and colorful modern lofts. Screens and sliding doors cleverly separate the elevated sleeping area from the kitchen and work area. And everything’s functional; the kitchen is stocked with everything from olive oil to a garlic press to a Tupperware set, while the workspace features scissors, staplers, and extra pencils. They’ve got the details covered: organic linens, fair-trade towels by Max Havelaar, Muuto furniture, 32-inch Smart TVs, a sophisticated LED lighting system. It’s enough to make you want to stay for the whole week, or even longer, and that’s exactly the idea.
From Amsterdam’s old music school to a conservatory of a different kind; the Conservatorium is a radical repurposing of the city’s Sweelinck Conservatorium building, transforming its soaring institutional spaces and ornate century-old construction into a contemporary design hotel, one with plenty of personality and plenty of space to express it in. And the fact that it’s one of very few luxury hotels in the city center — it’s in the Museumplein, just off the P.C. Hoofstraat shopping boulevard — certainly doesn’t hurt its case.
Of course there’s more to the Conservatorium’s appeal as a luxury hotel than just its style and location. The double-height classroom and studio floors naturally lend themselves to split-level loft-style rooms and suites, and soundproofing, naturally, was a concern from the very start, not just a matter of an extra pane of glass here and there. And the hotel’s interior style is a welcome surprise, if somewhat subdued, as surprises go — rather than showcase Dutch design’s most outré experiments, the Conservatorium opted for Piero Lissoni, whose pared-down contemporary elegance suits this classic building to a tee.
The name tells you exactly what to expect: waterfront accommodations in Amsterdam from a Portuguese luxury-hotel chain. But the Pestana Amsterdam Riverside is rather more impressive than the sum of its parts. It’s housed in a pair of spectacular Neo-Renaissance buildings, once a town hall and archive — together considered a national historic monument — and two contemporary annexes. The grand lobby, with its coffered ceilings, soaring archways, and marble fixtures, feels like a museum.
Guest rooms are sleek and modern, somewhat minimalist in design, with king-sized modern canopy beds and pristine white bathrooms with walk-in showers. Some come with kitchenettes, living rooms, and views over the Amstel River. Unusual layouts are a fact of life in Amsterdam; here some suites have mezzanines, and many on the top floor, up under the eaves, have sky-facing windows.
Amsterdam’s canal house hotels are known for their rich textures and their historical atmosphere, but even against stiff competition the Toren Hotel stands out. Its location in the central canal district could hardly be more picturesque, and the same goes for the building itself, which recently celebrated its 400th birthday. Not content simply to rely on the charm of its setting, the Toren’s proprietors brought in designer Wim van de Oudeweetering, who outfitted the hotel in lush fabrics, rich colors, bold patterns, and theatrical details — you’d almost call it baroque, were it not so contemporary in its vision.
Thanks to the heritage floorplan, the rooms start out rather on the cozy side, and they’re all different — some feature canal views, though, and the deluxes and suites are given plenty of room to spread out. And the old building still features the twisting staircases that are typical to Amsterdam canal houses, which means it feels in some ways more like a residence than a hotel (and also that it isn’t wheelchair-accessible). That, and the fact that it lacks a proper restaurant — but from this spot in the Keizersgracht, and with the help of the Toren’s attentive staff, you’re presented with no shortage of options.
Things are a little bit different in Amsterdam. Here, for instance, Pulitzer refers to Peter, grandson of the journalism prize’s founder and obsessive fan of the town’s stately old canal houses. Putting his money where his mouth was (“the house of your neighbor is for sale only once,” he said), he set about rescuing them from ruin bit by bit; thus we have today’s Hotel Pulitzer, a five-star hotel complex comprising 25 of the photogenic 17th-century edifices along the Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht.
Massive renovations continue, part of an overarching project to imbue the setting with contemporary comfort without smoothing its idiosyncrasies entirely away. It’s most evident in the rooms, where LCD flatscreens and plush curvilinear seating come to terms with old-world slanted walls, dark wood beams, hardwood flooring, and paneled accents. On the one hand you have marble bathrooms with fog-resistant mirrors and Le Labo amenities; on the other, picturesque views of the elegant courtyard gardens and terraces, one of the hotel’s strongest selling points (though the canals themselves aren’t bad either). Signature suites take curation quite literally — they’re collector-core to the last detail, be it antiques, instruments, or original contemporary artworks.
Everything you’d expect from a hotel called the Grand, including a dignified old-world exterior, a location in the heart of the historic city center, every imaginable service and amenity, and a guestbook that reads like a social register, including captains of industry, heads of state, and Mick Jagger. In its first life, around 1400 AD, this majestic building was a convent; a hundred years ago it was the town hall.
However historic the facade, the interiors are 20th-century through and through—rooms are decorated in a contemporary classic style, rather than an overtly historic one. Though you’ll find nods to the more distant past, the Jugendstil windows and Art Deco bathrooms are more representative. These are some of the largest hotel rooms in town, and probably the most luxurious, with plush fabrics and soft sofas and armchairs, as well as all the modern conveniences—must-haves like satellite TV, internet access and 24-hour room service, and such welcome details as Roger & Gallet bath products and full-length bathrobes.
The Renaissance-style facade of this century-old grand hotel is a reliable indicator of what’s to follow inside. It’s hard to get more central than the De L’Europe Amsterdam, on the banks of the Amstel, and it’s no wonder that the visitors who haunt its upscale restaurant and bottle-green boardroom are among the world’s movers and shakers.
Not to mention cultural enthusiasts. 23 of the 111 guest rooms are cordoned off within a sort of museum atrium. These are the Dutch Masters suites, luxury artists’ lofts complete with replicas of paintings from the nearby Rijksmuseum. The rest of the rooms are scarcely less opulent, though — even the most basic mix old-world detail with such modern infusions as heated floors. Variation abounds at the higher end, with a private terrace-enhanced penthouse and a Van Gogh room featuring a starry-night ceiling.
It’s about time somebody synthesized Amsterdam’s two divergent stylistic threads. Visitors in search of precious, historical canal-house charm have never had trouble satisfying their needs, and devotees of modern Dutch design likewise find themselves well served — just never at the same hotel. The Canal House squares this particular circle, and while the results might not satisfy purists at either extreme, there are a great many of us who are likely to find its blend of timeless elegance and modern luxury to be just the perfect mixture.
The modern influence is actually of fairly recent vintage, the Canal House having been thoroughly renovated by its new owners, Curious Hotels, the international micro-chain whose other links include Cowley Manor, L’Hôtel, and the Portobello Hotel. Anyone familiar with their previous work will immediately grasp the concept here: all three are smallish, quite stylish, and though contemporary in aspect, exceedingly well tailored to the locale.
The Anne Frank House is one of the most important museums in Europe. For a hotel located close by, try the following:
The Pavilions Amsterdam, The Toren
The Hoxton, Amsterdam
Many of the best Amsterdam boutique hotels overlook the famous canals. Here is a selection:
De L’Europe Amsterdam
Sir Adam Hotel
Sir Albert Hotel
Pestana Amsterdam Riverside
What’s a trip to the Dutch capital without a trip to the museum dedicated to the most famous Dutch artist? The following Amsterdam boutique hotels are near the Van Gogh Museum:
Pillows Luxury Boutique Hotel Anna Van Den Vondel Amsterdam
Sir Albert Hotel