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Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam, Amsterdam

Editor's Pick
Netherlands, Europe: The exterior of the Grand Hotel Amrâth in Amsterdam, Netherlands
108 Prins Hendrikkade
Netherlands 1011 AK
Tel: 31 20 5520 000's insider take:

The Amrath's June 2007 debut was one of the most dramatic Amsterdam hotel premieres in recent memory, and the culmination of a massive restoration job. In renovating the Scheepvaarthuis—a shipping company office shaped like an ocean liner overlooking the harbor, just east of the Central Station—the hotel's designers zealously respected the building's Amsterdam School architecture (the austere Dutch version of Art Nouveau). The main entrance area feels a bit squeezed (it represents the bow of a ship), but look up and the entire world lies before you: The spectacular stained-glass ceiling crowning the entranceway depicts the globe. There's more breathing room past the lobby, where the space opens to the hotel's twin public attractions: the seafood restaurant Seven Seas (still finding its legs) and a combination bar and lounge. The 165 guest rooms echo the drama of the lobby in their soaring ceilings; masculine, dark wood furniture; honey-toned wallpaper, adding to the room's burnished patina; and some 21st-century touches (free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs). Nab a room facing the River IJ: The Dutch light pouring through the high windows turns everything golden. If all the nautical allusions put you in the mood for a dip, there are a swimming pool, Turkish bath, and whirlpool hot tub in the basement Wellness Center.

From the editors of Condé Nast Traveler:

The grandly restored 1916 Scheepvaarthuis, or Shipping House, is a spectacular example of the Amsterdam School, where form trumps function at every turn. Conveniently located just half a mile from Central Station, the Amrâth has all the grandeur of the venerable InterContinental Amstel but with details that lend it more of a sense of humor. The erstwhile office building's connection to the seafaring city is remembered inside and out in nautical decorations of marble, terra-cotta, granite, and exotic hardwoods. The eye-popping artistry of the lobby and main stairwell transitions smoothly into the 165 rooms, where Art Nouveau blends with contemporary amenities, which include a complimentary minibar, a 32-inch flat-screen TV, and free Wi-Fi. The elegant Seven Seas restaurant puts out a Mediterranean menu with an emphasis on seafood, and a classy lounge and bar fill in between meals. The buffet breakfast is overpriced but avoidable: Each room has its own espresso maker.

—2008 Hot List

When to go: Late spring, but avoid the tulip-daffodil crowds (around Easter).

Which room to book: City views are best, from the fourth floor of the Binnenkant (canal) side of the hotel.

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.