Swish New Hotel: Andaz Amsterdam

Posted: December 7, 2012 in Hotels, Tourism
Tags: , , ,

Hotel Insider: Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht

Kipat Wilson on Dec 14, 2012

The welcome

A large flag helps me locate this five-star property set amid the pretty canals of Amsterdam’s city centre. Built in the 1970s as a public library, what was once an austere five-storey building has been transformed into an inviting luxury hotel with exuberant interiors by the Dutch designer Marcel Wanders. Once inside, I find myself in a lobby that has a fairy-tale atmosphere, with large, white bell-shaped chandeliers, rings of coloured lights and bright red, oversized chairs.

The neighbourhood

Prinsengracht is a classic Amsterdam street complete with cobblestones, bicycles, humpbacked bridges and canal boats sailing by, plus tall, grand, gabled buildings all squeezed together in a last-ditch effort to stay upright. It’s part of a well-heeled but not stuffy neighbourhood known as Nine Streets, which is full of charming little shops, engaging museums and snug spots to eat and drink. If you’re new to the city, you couldn’t find a more delightful place to start exploring.

The room

The 122 rooms (including five suites) have views over the canal, gardens or interior and are decorated in a fun style with white walls and a midnight blue ceiling. A large photo of a fish sits above the bed while a pair of clogs painted like a clown’s face hang on the opposite wall. Wi-Fi and the minibar are both complimentary, and there’s a small library of books related to Amsterdam.

The service

Slick and friendly. Unlike many hotels, there is no big reception desk in the lobby− just roving staff with tablet PCs who fix everything. The idea is to break down barriers, and it works.

The food

The Bluespoon Restaurant is an L-shaped space with a large, open kitchen at the corner. The menu focuses on local produce and includes traditional Dutch dishes such as codfish stamppot (mixed with mashed potatoes; €19 [Dh90]).

Breakfast is more successful – a sumptuous buffet (€29; Dh138) featuring Dutch fish, meat, cheeses and honey worth lingering over.

The scene

Since opening in October, the hotel has attracted a steady stream of visitors who appreciate the stress–diminishing style of Andaz properties.

Marcel Wanders has a well–deserved following too − described by The New York Times as the “Lady Gaga of the design world”, he co-founded the Moooi label and has worked with companies such as Alessi, MAC Cosmetics, KLM and Marks & Spencer. Everywhere you look you can see his touches, from the specially designed dinner plates to the hand-painted washbasins.

A mural entitled Alice in Amsterdam overlooks a large garden and courtyard, which will be a useful place to relax in summer. The property also has a fitness centre and a (small) Urban Spa with a mixed sauna and two treatment rooms.

Loved

The detail in Marcel Wanders’ designs. Many of the walls are covered with words and pictures relating to Amsterdam’s rich history, making the hotel feel like a walk-in book.

Hated

The 40 works of video art dotted around the public areas range from the decorative to the unsettling and include a large screen in the lobby showing a woman endlessly jumping up and down on a bed. It gets very tiresome − and the staff agreed.

The verdict

The pairing of Marcel Wanders’ playful designs with the feel-free philosophy of Andaz Hotels is a winning mix, and the canalside location is as good as it gets in Amsterdam.

The bottom line

A double room costs from €270 (Dh1,300) per night, including taxes. Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, Prinsengracht 587, 1067 HT Amsterdam, Netherlands (www.andazamsterdam.com; 00 31 20 523 1234).

Read more: http://www.thenational.ae/lifestyle/travel/hotel-insider-andaz-amsterdam-prinsengracht#ixzz2F2Z6TJ5g

More on Andaz

Here’s a second article about the Andaz in the New York Times By STEPHEN HEYMAN

 DECEMBER 5, 2012

  • The lounge area in the new Andaz hotel in Amsterdam.
  • The lobby.
  • One of the bedrooms, with overlooking view of the canal.
  • Bluespoon Kitchen at Andaz sports an open view of the kitchen

The new Andaz hotel in Amsterdam opened in late October on the Prinsengracht, the longest and probably the loveliest of the canals that ring the Dutch capital. Its arrival is part of a mini hotel boom in Amsterdam, a welcome development for a first-rate city that has long lacked first-rate hotels. The Andaz was preceded by the opening of the supersleek Conservatorium Hotel; next year, according to the city’s visitors bureau, a five-star Waldorf-Astoria will arrive along with 13 other new hotels.

For the first Andaz on the continent (there’s already one in London), the Dutch design hero Marcel Wanders was given carte blanche to transform a former city library into an eye-popping fantasia of filigrees, gigantic-backed chairs, matte-black candelabra, “monster” chairs and huge bell-shaped light fixtures. It feels very “Alice in Wonderland,” and that’s obviously one of the many things Wanders had in mind, because towering over the hotel’s garden is a gigantic mural of “Alice in Amsterdam,” a wispy girl who’s bent over and clutching a big blue spoon. “We don’t know what she took,” the hotel’s publicist told me. “But she definitely took something.”

My modestly apportioned canal-view king room was laid out in a similar fashion as the rooms at the W hotel in London: the bathroom and shower are hidden inside mirrored closets; the sink is contained in a multipurpose island table, so you can wash up and then serve drinks on the same surface. Of course the room design has also been Wandersized: wallpapered above the bed was a gigantic photograph of a herring fused together with a Champagne flute, bisected by the triple-x symbol of Amsterdam. There are clogs nailed to the wall. The w.c. is covered in local trivia, written out in Delft blue script.

This is a big beer town, God bless, but sometimes a weary traveler is in the mood for a well-made cocktail, which can be a tall order in many European cities. The barman at the Andaz, however, could teach his countrymen a few things about mixing drinks: a classic old fashioned here was appealingly stiff and citrusy and the New York sour — with port wine and scotch instead of the typical red wine and rye — made for a deeply delicious nightcap. Bluespoon Bar, the Andaz’s canal-side lobby lounge, has already become such a hit with Amsterdammers that the hotel had to relocate its complimentary afternoon wine service to a parlor off the lobby in order to discourage freeloading among nonguests.

Andaz Amsterdam, Prinsengracht 587, 011-31-20-52-31-23-4; doubles from about $425.

Original New York Times post found here

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