Be seduced by the romantic capital of the Netherlands, and discover the luxury of modern Amsterdam, a city of high fashion, sparkling jewels and inventive gastronomy
They call it the ‘Dutch Golden Age’, the period when The Netherlands’ dominance in art, science and trade made it the most powerful country in the world. The legacy of that 17th century era can be seen across Amsterdam, not just in the impressive architecture, or the charming upscale gabled townhouses that line the UNESCO-listed canal district, but also in the progressive culture of this trading city.
As a guest of Amsterdam Marketing, I spent a weekend indulging in the luxurious life of modern Amsterdam.
Historic and traditional Amsterdam blends a risqué side, its infamous De Wallen red-light district and marijuana ‘coffee houses’, with an avant-garde arts, design and gastronomy scene. It is home to some of Europe’s finest museums and arts venues, from the newly renovated modern art gallery, the ‘Stedelijk Museum’, to the classic ‘Rijksmuseum’ which has also undergone a remarkable transformation recently. It is the best place to view the Dutch Masters including Rembrandt and Vermeer, and enjoy contemporary works and photography.
‘Van Gogh Museum’ is the city’s most visited, with the largest collection of paintings by Vincent van Gogh in the world. This year also sees the opening of its stunning new building.
‘The Eye Film Institute’, probably the city’s most iconic new piece of architecture, is the place for films, whilst the classical 19th century Royal Concertgebouw concert hall hosts orchestral, operatic, jazz and international music performances.
Amsterdam has been at the heart of the diamond trade for centuries, and ‘Costas Diamonds’ and ‘Gassan Diamonds’ still maintain factory showrooms in the city offering informative tours. In addition the Gassan Diamonds’ Jaeger-LeCoultre boutique store is a glittering world where one can browse a fine collection of diamond pieces and exclusive jewellery brands.
The highlight of the city’s shopping is the street of PC Hooftstraat, (Amsterdam’s ‘Rodeo Drive’) where one finds the latest in exclusive shopping, from new boutiques to the world’s biggest brands.
The food scene in Amsterdam is truly notable and on my recent visit I enjoyed some exceptional meals, by Schilo, at the Conservatorium Hotel (I will write a separate post on his cusine);
Jonathan Karpathios, who prepared an extraordinary, private meal at the Van Loon Museum;
and also Chef Sidney Schutte at the Waldorf Astoria (see my other post about that property – link below)
The best way to capture the romance of this historic city is to stay within the enchanting canal district. Here are some of Europe’s top hotels, including the newly opened ‘Waldorf Astoria’, as well as ‘The Hotel Pulitzer’, one of the city’s most established luxury addresses.
Comprising of 25 restored 17th & 18th century listed canal townhouses, The Hotel Pulitzer offers a truly authentic and exclusive Amsterdam experience. With stunning guest suites that overlook private gardens or the canals, the hotel also has one of the city’s best bars, the distinctively decorated, ‘Pulitzer Bar’.
Dining is memorable in the Hotel’s ‘Restaurant Keizersgracht 238’, where tables can also be offered in the courtyard garden during summer evenings.
The Hotel concierge will give you insider information about the most exclusive places to go, arrange limousine tours or organise a private canal trip on The Hotel Pulitzer’s own vintage, 1920’s classic teak boat.
(For more information, see my Insider Guide to Amsterdam here)