InterContinental Amstel, Amsterdam $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
In a town with relatively few grande dame hotels, the Amstel qualifies as Amsterdam's most dogged; it's been itching for that honor ever since it opened on the Amstel River in 1867. You feel its regal ambitions roiling the minute the supremely efficient staff whisks away your luggage and you enter the lobby, which is modeled on a French Renaissance palace and groans with marble. The restaurant, La Rive, flaunts its Michelin star; guests take high tea in the Riverside lounge; and in a rare concession to modernity, there's a health club and indoor pool. Most of the 79 patrician guest rooms are wrapped up in enough chintz and toile wallpaper to cover Versailles, and tellingly, the toile depicts Marie Antoinette look-alikes flitting through Watteau-worthy bowers. Each room also comes fully loaded with Dutch still lifes, Delft ceramics, and flat-screen TVs tucked discreetly behind built-in cabinetry; nothing less than marble would do for the bathrooms. All this pomp makes jet-lagged business travelers, and even the democratic Dutch, feel a bit aristocratic. Loiter long enough, and you may see an actual grande dame in the flesh (past guests include Marlene Dietrich and Madonna) or one of the local royals. Queen Beatrix celebrated her 60th birthday here, and there is a royal suite plumped and waiting for any passing family members.