In March 2023, I checked into the King Bed Canal View room at Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht. The 122-room hotel is set along the Prinsengracht (“Prince’s Canal”), one of Amsterdam’s most popular canals and part of the 17th-century canal ring area in Amsterdam listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2010. The famous Anne Frank House, popular shopping area De 9 Straatjes (“Nine Streets”), buzzy and upscale Jordaan district with its collection of markets, restaurants, cafes and art galleries as well as Amsterdam’s Red Light District are close by while famous museums such as Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum are a longer (but still walkable) stroll away. Amsterdam Airport Schiphol is 25 minutes away by car.
Notable nearby hotels include Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, The Conservatorium Hotel, Kimpton De Witt and InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam.
The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Whimsical chic and very, very blue hotel with stellar service.
The must-dos (if any): Appreciate canal views from your room, have breakfast at Bluespoon Restaurant, enjoy Daily Genever Hour.
ANDAZ AMSTERDAM PRINSENGRACHT
Occupying a former 1970s library building along the Prinsengracht (“Prince’s Canal”), the hotel was designed by Dutch designer Marcel Wanders (behind the Mondrian Doha and Mira Moon Hotel in Hong Kong), with the aesthetic pairing Alice in Wonderland-style whimsy with Dutch tradition and culture. Past a white corridor lined with many small doors, you access the dark blue hotel lobby which boasts an awe-inspiring atrium spanning multiple storeys, its height accentuated by the moving glass-box elevators going to the upper levels and the giant white bell-shaped lampshades suspended above the reception area. (Being a lover of beautiful interior design, I must say that the display image of the hotel lobby on the World of Hyatt app may have heavily influenced my decision to stay.)
Across the ground level spaces, notable visual features included a giant book which required hand gloves to be worn to avoid damaging the book when you flip through its pages as well as bright red tulip-inspired swivel chairs placed in front of a video screen which displays various artworks from the hotel’s video art collection. The hotel also offers a courtyard with a beautiful garden comprising, among others, a quaint pergola, a monochrome-tiled outdoor “fireplace” area as well as a giant painted wall showcasing Amsterdam-themed imagery, from windmills and jenever bottles to mushrooms (cheeky!). However, the hotel’s most memorable design feature would be the giant statues of a half-naked prince (the ‘Prince of Lost Dreams’) which are placed randomly throughout the hotel’s spaces – it is said that if you place your head below his cupped hands, he makes your lost and forgotten dreams come alive.
While the hotel does not offer a swimming pool, it does feature a spa as well as a fitness centre.
I should take a moment to applaud the front office team for their stellar service. Special mention goes to front office host Srishti, who offered a friendly welcome upon my arrival (“Have more prosecco! Take it up to your room!”) and whose thoughtful ear overheard me from a distance looking for my misplaced scarf at the breakfast restaurant and who swiftly returned the scarf to me like some caped superhero to the rescue. (Turns out it had fallen onto the ground in the elevator.) Also, the cold weather caused me to chip a brittle nail, and when I asked for a nail clipper at the front desk, fully expecting the team not to have one on hand, I was pleasantly surprised when a front office host miraculously produced a brand new one still in packaging. Life savers!
KING BED CANAL VIEW
Overlooking the Prinsengracht canal through floor-to-ceiling windows, the 28sqm King Bed Canal View is decked in the hotel’s signature deep shade of blue along with Delft-style blue and white motifs. The room’s striking interior design pays tribute to Dutch heritage and culture whilst adding playful flashes of Alice in Wonderland-whimsy. A tulip-inspired yellow reading chair next to the window allows you to take in views of Amsterdam daily life whilst flipping through one of the room’s many books covering Amsterdam history and culture; traditional wooden Dutch clogs hang on the wall above the large workstation; a photographic image of a giant fish/spoon hybrid with three Saint Andrew’s Crosses (i.e. those depicted on Amsterdam’s flag and coat of arms) is presented on the wall behind the bed; and a complimentary hotel-branded box of Stroopwafels awaits your dining pleasure.
Most impressive is the wallpaper in the toilet, which bears enough facts and quotes about Amsterdam for you to not require any reading material whilst on the throne. (Do you know Amsterdam is the home to the world’s first stock exchange, or that the Dutch flooded their own land as a strategy against the French in the 17th century?)
The pantry is equipped with a Nespresso coffee machine, while all non-alcoholic beverages, beer and local snacks from the minibar are complimentary. The open-concept bathroom boasts a freestanding vanity and porcelain wash basin, with hairdryer conveniently pluggable underneath the mirror, along with a walk-in rain shower room with glass walls which are almost – but not entirely – one-way mirrors, a feature that the self-conscious would be appalled by but which voyeurs and exhibitionists would applaud.
Juniper-scented bathroom amenities are courtesy of Dutch brand Liza Witte.
Breakfast is a semi-buffet affair presented at Bluespoon Restaurant on the ground level. The buffet spread comprises a variety of breakfast sides such as Sauteed Mushrooms with Spinach and Chicken Sausages; an extensive range of freshly baked pastries; and a variety of cold cuts, including Pickled Herring and Dutch Cheese. In addition, guests can order from the restaurant’s breakfast a la carte menu, which features dishes such as The Dutchie (egg-coated white toast, turkey, cheese, truffle mayo), Spicy Avocado (poached eggs, sourdough, avocado, chilli), Mediterranean Eggs (fried egg, feta, Kalamata olives, tomato, rocket), Avocado Marinated Tofu Bowl (cashew, tomato, baby spinach, cucumber) and Banana French Toast (berries, yoghurt, mixed nuts, maple syrup).
I went for the Two Eggs Cooked Your Style with chosen sides being chicken sausage, smoked salmon, hash brown as well as the ridiculously crispy and amazing Dutch bacon (which also exists as a free-flow selection on the buffet). On a cold morning, the luxuriously rich and indulgent Submarine Hot Chocolate (whereby a large chunk of chocolate melts in warm milk) is available to assist with some fireplace warmth and love.
Past breakfast, the restaurant’s sharing-style menu showcases Josper grill dishes such as Monkfish (Mezcal sauce, porcini, peas, shimeji mushroom), Black Angus Beef Tenderloin 200gr (red onion, watercress salad, grilled avocado), Dutch Lamb Rack (broad beans, herbs crust & Mediterranean sauce) and Dutch Weiderund Tomahawk 800gr (bearnaise sauce, demi-glace & shallots). The Dutch Seafood Borrel (Dutch imperial flat oyster, herring brioche, eel bruschetta, grey shrimp salad) was an umami tiered affair, while elsewhere the Cod Fritters (paprika mayo & katsuobushi flakes) played it all takoyaki octopus ball and the Halibut Fillet (baby potato, spring onion, verjus beurre blanc, samphire, kombu cracker) was suitably hearty.
A space near the entrance of Bluespoon Restaurant serves as the venue for the hotel’s Daily Genever Hour, during which guests can enjoy complimentary portions of or simple cocktails prepared using the the juniper-flavoured Dutch traditional liquor.
Looking out onto the sidewalk and the canal beyond, lounge bar Bluespoon Bar serves a selection of cocktails, from spritzers and highballs such as the Smokey Paloma (Aprendiz Mezcal, Campari, homemade grilled peppers cordial & top up with Three Cents pink grapefruit soda); sours such as Soul Reviver No.2 (Tanqueray London Dry gin, Quaglia chamomile, Lillet Blanc, lemon & absinthe); to spirit-forward tipples such as Dutch Appeltaart (Hooghoudt Old Genever infused with raisins, Licor 43, cinnamon, apple juice & fresh lemon juice) and So Confused (Hennessy VS, Bulleit Bourbon, Dry Curacao, Amaro Montenegro & Aperndiz mezcal).
There are many reasons to recommend the hotel, from its memorable design qualities and strategic location near popular Amsterdam destinations to the commendable service offered.
P.S. If you visit, definitely get at least a canal-view room. You’d thank me later.
Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht
Prinsengracht 587, Amsterdam 1016 HT
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