At Paper & Diamond, we are constantly scanning the globe for worthy destinations to send our clients to; destinations that offer a well-rounded tour through art, adventure, relaxation and sensorial surprise for a full immersion into the local culture.
We’ve recently been keeping an eye on the way Amsterdam seems to be rebranding itself, as if keen for the stereotypes of its nefarious neighborhoods to be abandoned in favor of a higher ranking among Europe’s reigning gems. Eager to explore for ourselves, we embarked on a journey to the Netherlands in order to affirm Amsterdam’s modern identity. What we found? A city that delighted us across the board with its ease and convenience, its sparkling cultural scene, and the overall manageability of experiencing the full scope of what it has to offer in just a couple of days.
WHERE TO STAY
There is no shortage of luxury five-star properties we recommend, depending on exactly what you are looking for. For the classicist, the Waldorf Astoria appeals to your tastes. The location has been restored from its original heritage as a set of half a dozen 17th century palaces, and the grandiose royalty still reigns within its essence. It feels like you've been transported back in time to the days of Europe's royalty, yet offers ever present day amenity you could imagine.
Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, for example, is formerly a library converted into a hotel, right atop the canals and in the midst of the city's desirable shopping destinations. The decor is rooted in a bit of fantasy and surrealism, between the high back chairs and swirling lighting among other hip touches, making it perfect for the guest with a modern taste.
From the Frette bathrobes to the James Heeley bath amenities, The Dylan offers is utterly luxurious, and relaxing stay from its vantage point right alongside the city's central canal. The trendy romance that is inherent throughout the property makes it nearly impossible to believe that The Dylan is an entirely renovated 1600s theater, that had once burned down before being transformed into the gem that it is today.
You cannot go wrong with the comfort of the Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam. Between the Turkish baths and French cosmetology training of the spa professionals, it is truly the perfect destination to relax and unwind, particularly should you be stopping through.
WHAT TO SEE
Between photo-ops along the iconic 200 year old canals and admiring the charming facades as you wander the city on foot (or bike -- it is a well known fact that Amsterdam plays host to a larger population of bikes than people), there is much to occupy your time during your stay. Whether your ideal way to connect with a city is through the coffee culture of its whimsical cafes, or if you prefer to glide through boutiques and art galleries, an abundance of new havens have cropped up to offer a sense of modernity. In contrast are the dozens of historical museums, also well worth engaging with. Between the two, this fusion of old and new offers a best of both worlds type scenario.
Culinary delights cannot be overlooked when it comes to considering travels to the Dutch capital of the world. While of course there are the obvious contenders such as Dutch cheeses, stroopwafel and frites, outside of the street food scene there are also an abundance of Michelin-starred restaurants and culinary masters inhabiting this town. With over 180 different nationalities residing in Amsterdam (the most in the world), it is little wonder that the food scene is so rich and vibrant offering the ability to indulge cravings for any and all types of cuisine.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed at this point by the abundance of opportunities at your fingertips, allow us to put you in touch with one of our local guides such as Tom van der Leij of Tom’s Travel Tours, who offers personalized and private experiences around The Netherlands for your enjoyment. Simply inform him of the type of experience you’re looking to prioritize and allow the agency to set up something catered just to you.
While Amsterdam is full of a plethora of possibility in terms of exploration, it almost functions best as a shorter stopover as part of a longer travel excursion. Schipol Airport is Europe’s fourth largest, meaning it offers excellent connections in terms of timing and flight patterns to the greater world. Temper the fatigue of long flights to an African safari with a few days in Amsterdam first, or pause here en route to Asia.
To learn more about how we can integrate Amsterdam into your upcoming trip, or to plan a trip specifically to Amsterdam, you can get in touch here.