Going Dutch: Top tips for a long weekend in Amsterdam

Words by
Charlotte McManus

28th May 2020

With its pretty canals, top-class hotels and creative culinary scene, see why the capital of the Netherlands is the perfect destination for the curious bon viveur


Despite its super central location on Dam Square -— a stone’s throw from the Royal Palace — Hotel TwentySeven is an unexpected haven in the heart of the city. Heavy-duty glazing and sound-insulated doors provide relief from the hubbub outside, while the lashings of silk, velvet and crystal adorning every surface are a sight for sore eyes. Quality, not quantity, reigns here, with just 16 suites emphasising the exclusive feel. Each comes with Pierre Frey wallpaper, Nobilis bed linen and plush EBRU carpets, while the handmade stone bathrooms house double rainshowers and two-person Jacuzzis, more akin to bijou spas. Every aspect of a stay can be tailored entirely to one’s taste, from the use of personal shoppers and trainers to fine-tuning ambiance lighting and climate control in rooms. 

Going Dutch: Top tips for a long weekend in Amsterdam

Of course, R&R isn’t everything. If you’re looking to party, head to Soho House Amsterdam on the Spuistraat. Housed in a former 1930s office building, this is one of the group’s newer destinations, having launched in 2018. A strong Dutch design influence runs throughout each of its 79 hotel rooms, all wooden furniture, local artworks and stained glass windows. The freestanding copper tubs are a particular delight, as are the pre-mixed minibar cocktails and bathroom shelves groaning with Cowshed products. Work off the previous night’s excesses — the in-house club draws many a hip reveller — at the smart fourth-floor gym before re-indulging with rich Italian fare at Cecconi’s. Best of all, with the weather on the turn, there’s no better place in the city to enjoy a rooftop swim — or sundowner cocktail. 

Going Dutch: Top tips for a long weekend in Amsterdam

Alternatively, The Conservatorium is a slick, contemporary hotel near Museum Square, occupying a historic site that was previously used as a bank as well as a music school. Swish Italian furniture sits alongside subtle design nods to the building’s heritage, while a glass-covered courtyard artfully blends the interior with the exterior. It is here that the Brasserie & Lounge is located, serving agreeably healthy dishes throughout the day alongside a solid wine offering — the Lobster & Jazz evenings, held every Wednesday, are a lot of fun. The hotel also houses everything a discerning traveller may need, from spa and stylist to boutiques stocking clothing and even cigars. Opt for a split-level suite and enjoy the plush king-sized bed and deep soak tub. Staying in for the evening? Concerts are held regularly at the hotel, in tribute to the building’s musical past. 

Going Dutch: Top tips for a long weekend in Amsterdam

Opt for a split-level suite at The Conservatorium


Take the time to savour an outstanding tasting menu — which comes in five or seven courses at dinner — at Daalder on canal-side Lindengracht, where award-winning chef Dennis Huwaë weaves Asian influences into delicately executed cuisine. The menu changes frequently, from lasagne with celeriac to succulent turbot with white asparagus and mustard, while Huwaë’s inspired take on the Dutch stroopwafel is just the business. 

Going Dutch: Top tips for a long weekend in Amsterdam

Discover delicious cuisine at Daalder

For a change of scene, hop on a ferry over the north side of the IJ river to Stork, Amsterdam’s largest fish and seafood restaurant. Its airy, industrial-themed space comes with unparalleled views of the city waterfront — best enjoyed on the open terrace — and has plenty of room for groups. As you might expect, dishes feature the freshest of catches, while groaning platters of fruits de mer are a real treat, best paired with a glass of crisp picpoul de pinet. 

Going Dutch: Top tips for a long weekend in Amsterdam

Stork's sumptuous fruits de mer

Otherwise, a relaxed approach to fine dining can be found at OCCO Bar Brasserie at The Dylan, found on the Negen Straatjes (“nine little streets”) area of the Keizergracht. If the sun is out, nab a table in the charming private courtyard terrace. The Dutch “table oysters” are a speciality, as is the Chinese Oscietra caviar, served with egg, parsley and sour cream. 

Going Dutch: Top tips for a long weekend in Amsterdam

Enjoy relaxed fine dining at OCCO Bar Brasserie at The Dylan

After dinner, Amsterdam comes alive with choice watering holes. Start with Super Lyan, the first international outpost from mixology maven Mr Lyan (aka Ryan Chetiyawardana). Experimental serves come in the form of the Pearl Diver, with Bacardi and William George rum, and the Clover Club Royale — although the bar staff do pride themselves on their classic martinis.  

Going Dutch: Top tips for a long weekend in Amsterdam

Sup on creative cocktails like no other at Super Lyan

A short walk away, Pulitzer’s Bar oozes old-world glamour with Art Deco style — it was also named Best Hotel Bar in Amsterdam 2019. Curl up with a Scotch in one of its cosy leather armchairs, or sit at the bar and ask the knowledgeable bar staff to surprise you with a custom-made cocktail. 

Going Dutch: Top tips for a long weekend in Amsterdam

World-class mixology at Pulitzer's Bar


You really can’t beat a cruise down Amsterdam’s canals. Along the way, culture vultures should visit the excellent Van Gogh Museum. Alternatively, the House of Bols museum — themed around the history of cocktails and Dutch spirit genever — is good fun, with a bespoke drink to finish. 

As might be expected from one of Europe’s top capitals, Amsterdam’s retail offering doesn’t disappoint. A worthy rival of Bond Street, PC Hooftstraat features luxury’s biggest and brightest, including Chanel, Louis Vuitton and Hermès. For a more home-grown offering, it’s back to Negen Straatjes for its nine streets of interesting and eclectic boutiques. Marie-Stella Maris is great for natural skincare, while Concrete Matter stocks rugged menswear with a vintage undertone. 

Going Dutch: Top tips for a long weekend in Amsterdam

De Hallan offers fabulous food as well as excellent shopping

Finally, in Amsterdam Oud-West, it’s easy to lose a whole day in De Hallen, a cool cultural complex converted from a former tram depot. Peruse all manner of design-led products from independent creatives, sample new cuisines at the excellent food market, or kick back at the on-site cinema. 

In the evening, take a turn about the leafy Vondelpark before arriving at The Royal Concertgebouw concert hall nearby. Dating back to 1881, this gorgeous neoclassical building stages performances by some of classical music’s foremost talents every day of the week. 

Flights to Amsterdam from London Heathrow start from £52 with British Airways