Washington Life Magazine
Washington Life Magazine

Amsterdam, a traditional european city with modern flair


Amsterdam offers the best amenities of a European city: food, fashion, culture, architecture and design. The narrow streets and numerous canals make it ideal for walking and biking, adding to the romantic ambiance of the city. With direct flights from Dulles Airport on KLM, United and Northwestern Airlines, Amsterdam is an easily accessible destination. When planning your European itinerary, you may want to consider some of the following accommodations, restaurants and hotspots.


The Dylan:
The Dylan Amsterdam (at the time of our visit it was named The Blake's) is a chic full-service boutique hotel located on the Keizersgracht, one of city's most famous canals. Around the corner, the Nine Little Streets District offers numerous small, exclusive antique shops, designer boutiques and interior design stores. Major museums are only a fifteen minute walk away, and the hotel offers bike rentals.

The hotel dates back to the 17th century and has gone through many metamorphoses. Vivaldi once conducted orchestras in the building; at another time it was a church where Dutch royalty attended services. Now the Dylan is a funky, yet luxurious hotel decorated by British designer Anouska Hempel. The stylized hotel boasts a full-service spa, state-of-the-art gym, and a friendly, attentive staff and concierge. Upon arrival or after returning from a long day of shopping, guests are greeted with the hotel's signature drink, a delicious, smooth, chilled lemon grass and licce fruit beverage. The mini-bars include such unique items as twisted cheese straws, facial masks and even small oxygen tanks. The attention to detail is everything you expect from a fine hotel.

The 41 rooms and 18 suites are uniquely decorated with an emphasis on “color, texture, and atmosphere.” Guests can choose from six themed rooms, including one style with open lofts, a minimalist decor and crisp, white cotton Egyptian sheets; and another garden-style, inspired by rosemary and lavender with poster beds. The Manhattan suite is an elegant salute to any Fifth Avenue apartment, draped with hundreds of yards of black and gold silk and complimented with mahogany paneled floors. The romantic “klassbols” rooms are decorated in bright raspberry red and have numerous candles throughout. All rooms have luxurious bathrooms with oversized bathtubs. Room rates range from $350 to $1,500 a night.

The restaurant, also named The Dylan, fuses contemporary and classic Italian and Thai dishes that have gained five star ratings from discerning food critics. Located in what used to be a bakery, the restaurant has a polished industrial look with a black and white theme that is contrasted by the warmth of old brick walls. Butter is served on slate slabs, and porcelain cachepots double as candle holders. In addition, the hotel hosts a daily afternoon tea in the gallery, which is also a popular meeting spot for drinks.

The Dylan; Keizersgracht 384m 1016 GB Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Phone 31(0)20 530 20 10,

www.dylanamsterdam.com, hotel@blakes.nl.


Seven One Seven :
For more traditional accommodations, the intimate Seven One Seven is an upscale bed and breakfast or European guest house. Seven One Seven is centrally located in the heart of the city and is just steps away from many museums and galleries, including the renowned Municipal Museum of Modern Art and the Rijksmuseum. Just around the corner is the Spiegelstraat, the famous antique quarter.

Seven One Seven is not a full service hotel, but there are always one or two staff members on hand to serve a drink and an amuse bouche, make a restaurant reservation, mail packages or let you in after a late night. The three sitting rooms feature wall-to-wall bookshelves, fireplaces, ornately carved wooden chairs with crushed velvet upholstery, large gold leaf mirrors, brass chandeliers, antiques and an abundance of knick-knacks from around the world.

There are only eight rooms in this upscale guest house. All rooms are unique, spacious and decorated more simply than the public spaces with large easy chairs and hand-made brass beds. Each of the rooms is inspired by an artist, musician or writer (Picasso, Liszt and Shakespeare) and features their work in some capacity. Some rooms have marble fireplaces, others have patios overlooking the Rijksmuseum canal, and most have large bathrooms, but a couple only have showers. The least expensive room, the Mahler Room, is separated from the main building and is accessed through the hotel's private courtyard garden, which it overlooks. The room feels like a cozy Nantucket cottage with large French windows. Breakfast is included in your room rate and can be served in your room, the downstairs lounge, or in the serenity of the courtyard. Prices range from $400 to $900 a night. Hotel Seven One Seven; Prinsengracht 717, NL-1017 JW Amsterdam. Phone +31 (20) 4270717, www.717hotel.nl, info@717hotel.nl.



Dekas :
De Kas (Dutch for greenhouse) is a gourmet restaurant not to be missed, and well worth the twenty-five minute cab ride outside of the city. Reservations need to be made at least four to six months in advance. De Kas started after Chef Gert Jan Hageman tasted a sunripened tomato in his friend's greenhouse, which inspired him to convert a 1926 green house into the restaurant. The menu features hormone-free meat with organic purees, vegetables, and herbs. De Kas; Kamerlingh Onneslaan 3, 1097 DE Amsterdam, Phone 020-4624562, www.restaurantdekas.nl., info@restaurantdekas.nl.

SupperClub, an űber trendy hotspot, attracts tourists, as well as locals, and is more than just a dining experience, it's a spectacle. Guests lie on communal beds without shoes in a white room and are treated to a surprisingly delectable Mediterranean five-course tasting menu. One course offers the fun gimmick of using plastic gloves instead of utensils. Courses are served at the same time, and in-between guests mingle and chat. The wait-staff, some of whom are transvestites, are known for their eccentric personalities, which add to the experience. The restaurant features many prominent European DJ's and colorful lighting. Advance reservations are a must. Supperclub; Jonge Roelensteeg 21, 1012 PL Amsterdam, The Netherlands, Phone +31 20 344 64 00, www.supperclub.com.


Amsterdam is filled with small boutiques. Make sure you check out the following shopping districts. P.C. Hoofstraat is the Rodeo Drive of Amsterdam, with shops offering all the major European labels such as Gucci, Hermes and Cartier. The Jordaan and the streets around it contain many small interesting shops, cafes, galleries and antique markets.

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