Ultimate guide to Amsterdam

Anna Walker

From the most delicious food to the most luxurious places to lay your head, here’s our guide to spending 48 hours in Amsterdam.

Where to stay for indulgent luxury: Hotel TwentySeven

Ultimate guide to amsterdam where to stay most luxurious hotel

Every inch of this beautifully-designed, suites-only hotel radiates opulence and luxury—and the genius is all in the details. From touchpad-controlled ambient lighting to heated toilet seats, a steam shower and two-person jacuzzi in every room, you might just find yourself never wanting to leave the sanctuary of your suite. The sumptuous hotel interior has been crafted from only the finest materials—marble bathrooms, handmade oak wood floors, silk cushions scattered across the large double beds and exquisite silk carpets.

As there are only 16 suites in this boutique hotel, every guest receives flawless personal attention. For this team, no task is too grand or too trivial, and they'll go the extra mile to ensure your stay meets every fathomable expectation. Every suite is assigned a butler, who offer an attentive personal service ranging from advice on the best spots for dinner and drinks to searching out the perfect blanket for an afternoon nap.

entrance to hotel twenty seven beautiful

With beautiful views over the iconic Dam Square, Hotel TwentySeven is located in the heart of Amsterdam, perfectly positioned for any type of city experience, equidistant from the finest canals and the vibrant Red-Light District.

Breakfast in the hotel’s Bougainville restaurant is an other-worldly experience. Reclining on the rich-fabrics of large velvet cushions, surrounded by larger-than-life floral arrangements and enjoying the sight of tourists feeding pigeons in Dam Square below, there’s a wonderful sense of at once being a part and apart from the hubbub of city life. Breakfast options are extensive and personalized—don’t be surprised when the staff remember exactly how you like your coffee the next morning, these waiters don’t miss a thing.  

 

Where to stay for the perfect location: The Pulitzer

The Pulitzer hotel review

Comprised of 25 different canal houses joined into a single destination, with 400 years of Amsterdam history between them, this elegant hotel is perched right on the canal side in the elegant district of Keizergracht.

It’s hard to imagine a more perfect blend of Amsterdam’s heritage with its present-day style and sophistication. The Pulitzer is stylish—without being gaudy—full of light and tasteful arty furnishings, with large windows in each airy room offering beautiful views of both the canal ways and Amsterdam’s unique skyline.

Located in the centre of the city, this is the place to stay if you want a taste of historic Amsterdam. A short walk from the Anne Frank Museum, the district maintains a dignified, reflective composure as you walk alongside the beautiful Keizergracht canal towards her house, pausing to admire the handsome shopfronts of the 9 Streets and elegant private houses along the way. The Pulitzer even has its own 1920s mahogany salon boat, on which guests can take private—and informative—tours of the local canals. There’s no better way to see the city than from the water—it’s allegedly the very boat Winston Churchill chose to explore the canals when he visited the city.

pulitzer room

Inside the hotel, rooms are comfortable and elegant, without being overly-fussy. There’s everything you need, but the accommodating service is subtle, leaving you to lead the way in your own Amsterdam adventure. With so many rooms (225 in total) there’s also a great amount of variety, with a room or suite tailored to every conceivable taste. History is celebrated in every corner, and each room comes with signs explaining the historical figures—mostly members of Amsterdam’s 17th and 18th century metropolitan elite—who once lived here.

Be sure to check out the Pulitzer’s handsome courtyards, gardens, bars and restaurants during your stay at the hotel—it would be frighteningly easy to enjoy a weekend in this city without even leaving the comfort of the Pulitzer, especially with complimentary stroopwaffles appearing in your room as if by magic several times a day.

 

Where to eat

jansz best place to eat in amsterdam

Amsterdam is a city full of culinary surprises, and if you’re looking for something a little different from the standard pancakes and stroopwafel tourist fare, Jansz is the place for you. With elegant, pastel-accented interiors that wouldn’t look out of place in a Wes Anderson film, dining at Jansz is a seriously sophisticated experience.

For starters, try the scallops with traditional Dutch pea sauce, bacon and pickled onion for delicate flavours and a satisfying texture. For mains, the risotto with lobster is impossibly fresh and delicious, filling without leaving you bloated. Finish your meal with mouth-watering chocolate fondant and a stroll along the canal side—visible from your seat—to find a perfect bar for after-dinner-drinks or to work off your meal before a peaceful slumber. In the summer months, there’s even the option to enjoy your meal outside, on the banks of the canal itself.  

Looking for something a little less formal? A short walk away, Moeders (above) is a traditional Dutch eatery with a twist—every inch of the interior is covered with framed photos of patron’s mothers. And they have the comforting, delicious food to match to match the theme. We’d recommend the stamppot for the true Amsterdammer experience, or the ribs if you’ve arrived with a serious appetite. And don’t forget to bring a photo of your own mother with you. Staff will be only too happy to add it to their walls—if only they can find a free spot!

 

What to do

things to do in Amsterdam

A trip to Amsterdam isn’t complete without a ride on the city’s canals. Amsterdam is transformed when viewed from the water, and with delightful murals painted under many of the city’s bridges and canal walls, there’s a whole artistic underground you’d miss from ground level alone. A day pass with a company such as Lovers Canal Cruises is handy for a whirlwind one-day tour of the city. Buy your pass and use the boat to travel from the Anne Frank House to the Museums district—and it’s also redeemable on City Sightseeing Buses.

Alternatively, book in with Those Dam Boat Guys who offer informative tours with a focus on letting loose and having fun. Pack a picnic to take with you and enjoy a laugh as well as a lesson in the history of this fun-loving city.

If you’re looking to take in some culture, there’s no end to the possibilities with around 75 museums to choose from, from the obvious appeal of the Van Gogh Museum to the less-heralded charms of the Cheese Museum and niche-interest Cat, Medieval Torture and Handbag museums.

Rijsmuseum what to do in Amsterdam

If you’re new to the city, the Rijksmuseum is a must-visit for a flavour of the city’s history through its world-famous art. Enjoy Hendrik Avercamp’s visions of the frozen-over canals or marvel at Vermeer’s iconic portrait of The Milkmaid and the enigmatic scene of Rembrandt’s The Night Watch. If you’re looking for art by women, perhaps look elsewhere—we’d suggest the Stedelijk Museum for captivating works by Austrian artist Maria Lassnig, haunting pieces by Charley Toroop and the mysterious video installations of Nalini Malani.

If shopping’s more your bag, you’ll be spoiled for choice. With the quaint 9 Streets district offering an array of independent and sophisticated stores to the delicious food markets, Albert Cuyp and Food Hellen and the beautiful blooms of Bloemenmarkt flower market, there’s enough retail therapy to easily fill an entire weekend in the city.   

 

Visit Holland.com for more advice on the best things to do in the Netherlands