Concierge.com's insider take:
Don't weep, Anouska Hempel fans—Blakes is alive and well. It just has a new name (since October 2004). The owners are new, too, but the management is the same, as are Hempel's trademark touches, familiar from Blakes London and Paris's Louis Vuitton flagship store in Saint Germain-des-Prés. Both London-based Lady Weinberg's flamboyant style and her minimal phase are on display here: There are Oriental rock 'n' roll rooms in cardinal red and cream; Japanese rooms in black, navy, and beige; and spice-trader East India rooms in cinnamon, mahogany, and black lacquer. In a word: theatrical. If the other word that leaps to mind is claustrophobic, head to the adjoining historic building, which was renovated and added to the Dylan in 2006. The airier rooms there favor a more neutral mix of creams and grays, architectural four-poster beds, and a soothing view of the canal. Under the direction of executive chef Dennis Kuipers, the restaurant, which was renamed Vinkeles in July 2008, remains exclusive and exciting. Kuipers also oversees the more casual Mediterranean-style Terrace restaurant. Bikes (cheap) and captained boats (not cheap) are available to rent; both are handy around Leidseplein.—Updated by Raphael Kadushin
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