I used to draw a blank whenever friends asked me about hotel recommendations in Amsterdam. The reason is simple: we have our lovely apartment so I’ve never really had a reason to stay or research for a hotel in the city.
Our apartment was selected for us by my husband’s employer even before we arrived in Amsterdam. We were only supposed to stay for a month but after countless apartment viewings, nothing compared to it, so we stayed. Our apartment is in the famous canal rings/canal belt of Amsterdam. If you look at the city map from above, you’ll see four concentric half-circles that make up the canal rings—the most beautiful canals in the city. We live in the outermost—along the Prinsengracht. It’s a small one-bedroom apartment with large windows and a beautiful view of the Prinsengracht canal. The sun rises directly outside our bedroom so in the summer, I wake up with soft sun kisses. And in the afternoon, the sun sets in the living room such that most of my memories of afternoon tea has a tinge of orange.
Being in the canal rings, we are a stone’s throw away from great restaurants, museums, public transportation, boutiques, and picture-perfect postcard-worthy canal scenes. Our apartment is my most favourite thing about Amsterdam.
So when a five-star hotel opened up next to our apartment…
…I knew I had to take a look. Location is my number one criterion when looking at hotels in other cities, and I knew that this hotel has that box checked off. How about service? Décor? Food and dining? Any charming details? I had to take a peek inside Andaz Amsterdam.
Every hotel recommendation in this blog checks off a three ‘must haves’:
1) I must have stayed at the hotel myself;
2) I must have paid for my own accommodations (not free); and
3) I must have loved the experience fully.
I’m bending the first rule slightly for Andaz; I have not spent a night in the hotel given that my own bed is just a few metres away. But I have spent a considerable amount of time in the hotel since it opened: countless dinner dates, lunch with friends, casual cocktails, a simple Sunday brunch, or a cozy cup of tea. And I can confidently say that each experience has been unequivocally delightful.
A peek inside Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht
From the outside, Andaz looks quite ordinary. Housed in the former public library of Amsterdam, the facade of brown bricks and one-panel windows is much simpler and somewhat less ornate than the canal houses that stand next to it. However, from the moment you walk through the sliding front doors, you will immediately and indubitably know that you’ve stepped into somewhere special.
The entire hotel is designed from top to bottom by Marcel Wanders—world-famous for his interior, architectural, and industrial designs. Wanders did not leave a sing stone unturned and have made every aspect of the hotel to an art piece—from the spectacular lobby lit with ‘constellations,’ to the quirky rooms, to the Alice in Wonderland-inspired garden, even up to the soup spoon used in the hotel’s restaurant. Combining iconic design with a dash of Dutch history, Wanders has turned Andaz into a mandatory stop for all Amsterdam visitors. I encourage my friends to book their accommodations in the hotel, or at least stop by for something to eat or for a few drinks.
The Andaz lounge and bar area is perfect for cocktails or perhaps a piece of cake with your coffee:
The rooms are comfortable and spacious by Dutch standards and offer canal views of the Prinsengracht, the silent garden, or the ‘Observatory’ so you can doze off with a view of the ‘constellation’ of lights.
But apart from the views, I particularly love the quirkiness of the rooms. Each room has a half-fish-half-utensil headboard wallpaper, with the two halves ‘stitched’ together by the iconic three crosses symbol of Amsterdam (XXX). It’s a simple symbolism of what this city of 65% expats stand for today—a place that brings together different people and cultures from all over the world.
The hotel also offers other areas that will surely keep guests curious, impressed, and entertained—all at the same time.
Walking around the hotel, you will discover tulip-shaped chairs designed to pay homage to the most famous flower of Holland, animal head sculptures on wall panels, an entire corridor of Japanese maneki-neko with arms moving as you walk up-and-down, and other unexpected design elements. Andaz is filled with art pieces that attest to the level of design detail and attention put in the hotel.