Banks Mansion, Amsterdam $$$$
Concierge.com's insider take:
The blah Canal Crowne Hotel was taken over by Carlton Hotel Collection, a NetherlandsUK boutique chain, and reopened in May 2004 as a far nicer prospect. Instead of relying on high design as so many other new places in the Dutch capital do, it's taking a shot at being the coziest, comfiest hotel in town. In fact, the design is fine too, taking its cue from the early-20th-century building itselfa former bank on the Vijzelstraat "Golden Bend" of the Herengracht Canaland riffing on H.P. Berlage's Amsterdam School and Frank Lloyd Wright. It all ends up looking homey in a vaguely Art Deco way, especially in the lounge, called "The Living," with its leather chairs and brass lamps, and in "The Kitchen," with its checkerboard tiled floor, pine dresser, and giant old-fashioned range. Breakfast (included) is cooked to order in "The Kitchen," and guests are encouraged to hang out there and in "The Living," where all drinks and snacks are free. Contents of your minibar and unlimited Internet and movie channels are gratis as well. Right there, they're onto a good thing, and the website has incredibly low last-minute deals. Who needs a spa anyway?
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