In March 2023, I checked into the King Premier Loft at Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam. The hotel is set along the Herengracht (“Gentleman’s Canal”), one of Amsterdam’s most prestigious addresses and part of the 17th-century canal ring area in Amsterdam listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. Popular shopping area De 9 Straatjes (“Nine Streets”) and the Museum Quarter – where Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum are located – are a stroll away, while Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is 25 minutes away by car.
Other Hilton properties in Amsterdam include DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam Centraal Station (fantastic location) and Hilton Amsterdam. Notable nearby hotels include Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, The Conservatorium Hotel, Kimpton De Witt and InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Historic, ultra-luxurious canal palaces in prestigious Herengracht.
The must-dos (if any): Have a bite at Peacock Alley, ask for a tour of Maurer Room, get a classic cocktail at Vault Bar.
WALDORF ASTORIA AMSTERDAM
Occupying six 17th- and 18th-century canalside houses built for nobles during the Dutch Golden Age (one of whom was a former Mayor of Amsterdam), the former bank building was only relaunched as a Waldorf Astoria hotel as recently as 2014. Most of the original interiors – including moldings, architraves, cornices, ceilings and fireplaces – have been lovingly preserved, with notable examples being the palatial foyer with its ornate ceiling plasterwork and the sweeping Louis XIV-style grand staircase which rises through four floors of marble and elaborate stuccowork. (The visual spectacle did make climbing the stairs feel like an ascension of the skies past one-winged angels to defeat the final boss in a Final Fantasy game.) Another significant space is the Maurer Room, a private dining suite with Rococo-style interiors and full-sized 18th-century wall paintings which resembles the setting of a sumptuous, bodice-ripping period drama.
The G.A Group (who also designed JW Marriott Hotel Nara, The Langham Hong Kong, Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur, The St. Regis Osaka as well as W Taipei) oversaw the hotel’s overall interior design, which plays it all classic contemporary with strong references to the hotel’s location and the city’s links to maritime trade through the use of marine colours. Lapis lazuli makes frequent appearances in tribute to the distinctive style of Dutch painter Johannes Vermeer (i.e. he of Girl with a Pearl Earring fame), while the hotel’s signature social space Peacock Alley has as its centrepiece an armillary sphere which nods to the city’s nautical history.
In terms of wellness, the hotel’s Guerlain Spa offers three treatment rooms, a sauna, a steam room, a relaxation room as well as a turquoise spa pool. The hotel also boasts its own courtyard garden, famed for its vast collection of tulips and incidentally the largest private garden in Amsterdam and also a UNESCO World Heritage Garden.
By way of orientation, the hotel reception and signature social space Peacock Alley are located on the Bel-Etage Level (0); the Michelin starred Spectrum, breakfast venue Goldfinch Brasserie, cocktail concept Vault Bar and the exclusive Guerlain Spa and its associated swimming pool, fitness centre and treatment facilities are located on the Garden Level (-1); and guest rooms are situated on Levels 1, 2 and 3.
Service from the hotel staff was warm and commendable. Upon check-in, I was offered mint tea and dainty chocolate treats in the shape of traditional Dutch clogs before being invited to choose from a selection of four fragrances from the centuries-old Cire Trudon candle-making and luxury fragrance house, said to be Louis XIV and Marie Antoinette’s candlemaker of choice. My choice of scent (Ernesto, an earthy and masculine choice made from rum, grapefruit, oakwood, tobacco, harmony and moss) was eventually applied to my room during turndown service. On my departure date, when I requested for a later checkout for additional time to hit the canal shops, the front desk graciously granted me a 4pm checkout, and were very helpful when I needed assistance arranging for taxi transportation to my next hotel.
KING PREMIER LOFT
Located on the top level and featuring authentic wooden beams and high ceilings, the 49sqm King Premier Loft is an elegant and architecturally striking affair. The loft’s palette is lusciously creamy, with shades of Waldorf blue hues and flashes of drama from the lipstick-red tulips on display. Multiple windows around the loft welcome streams of warm natural light into the space, with smart controls allowing you to easily black out the room for cosy loft feels even in the daytime. The Waldorf Astoria king bed, as always, turned out to be a blissful dream maker.
The pantry offers Nespresso coffee and TWG tea-making facilities while the minibar is stocked with bottled beverages, baby bottles of assorted spirits as well as smaller bottles of Pol Roger champagne and other wines. Elsewhere, the spacious bathroom comprised a cosy shower space, a freestanding bathtub as well as double vanities with a room-width mirror. Bathroom amenities are full-sized pump dispensers from Aesop.
One feature of the bathroom which impressed me the most? The multiple heated towel warmers, which ensures your geranium-scented showers end on a lovingly toasty note.
Breakfast is served at Goldfinch Brasserie, which overlooks the hotel’s private garden. Guests with breakfast privileges (or Hilton Honors Diamond members) can enjoy “The Taste of Waldorf”, a table buffet experience comprising berries, natural yoghurt, pastries, breads, jams, Dutch cheeses, cold cuts, smoked salmon, fresh juices, tea, coffee and one à la carte option of their choice. Options include the fancier Signature Waldorf Astoria Eggs Benedict (English muffin topped with sautéed baby spinach, country ham, poached organic eggs and hollandaise sauce) and Eggs Benedict ‘Oriental’ (English muffin topped with pickled cucumber, toasted sesame, smoked salmon, poached organic eggs, hollandaise sauce and bonito flakes) alongside selections such as American Pancakes, Belgian Waffle and Avocado Toast.
While the Organic Eggs (I had mine scrambled and served with breakfast hash brown, roasted tomato, smoked bacon and vegetables) was pleasant enough, and the smoked salmon served as part of the table buffet was almost sashimi-grade, the French Toast (caramelized apple compote, dulce de leche and sliced banana) was quite a let-down, with the toast possessing a certain aridity and the dulce de leche being thick to the point of impractical application. It did feel that the overall breakfast experience lacked a certain je ne sais quoi that was anticipated given the superior standards of everything else, and my meal at Goldfinch Brasserie turned out to be the only disappointing blip in a series of highs throughout my stay.
(The Perle Imperial Caviar Eggs Benedict, which was the one main on the menu that did appear to embody the Waldorf spirit of luxurious pampering, was the only main that was not offered under complimentary breakfast privileges. What a shame.)
A staple across all Waldorf Astoria properties around the world, elegant lobby lounge Peacock Alley serves light lunches and indulgent high tea in a sumptuous setting decked in lapis lazuli with plenty of natural light courtesy of the tall windows overlooking the hotel’s private gardens. I managed to score one of the venue’s beautiful booth seats, and enjoyed my Signature Waldorf Burger (cheese, pickles, tomato, red onions) and Lobster Roll (milk bun, baharat, celery, nori) while taking in the richness of the setting and people-watching, and my conclusion was that an average Waldorf Astoria guest either looks impossibly posh and smart or like European variations of Christine Baranski as Diane Lockhart in The Good Wife.
Still keeping its original thick-steel vault door as a relic of its past days as a bank, The Vault Bar serves cocktails in a cosy and unassuming space with dark woods, big chairs and safety deposit boxes behind the bar which serve as bottle shelves. While the Italicum (gin, bergamot, cucumber cordial, cava) and New Fashioned (rum’s blend, coconut, caramel, maldon salt, peach bitter) from their current menu were fun and sweet diversions, I much preferred stiffer tipples such as their “Secret Touch” Negroni and the Vault Bar Old Fashioned (bourbon, Pedro Ximénez, cacao coffee orange bitters), the latter being a cocktail from their opening days which I made a special request to try.
Rounding up the list of F&B concepts is Spectrum (formerly Librije’s Zusje), a Michelin-starred modern European fine-dining restaurant helmed by Chef Sidney Schutte which serves inventive global cuisine. Yes, that’s weed I see listed as an ingredient in the molten chocolate dessert.
Along with De L’Europe Amsterdam and The Conservatorium Hotel, the hotel is often regarded as one of the best and most luxurious hotels in Amsterdam. Given its magnificent interiors, impressive history, warm service and luxurious room experience, Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam stands as one of my favourite European hotels thus far and one of my favourite Hilton properties too.
Certainly one for the bucket list.
Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam
Amsterdam, 1017 CG, Netherlands
Comments are closed.