When you catch your first sight of the Grand Hotel Amrâth Amsterdam, you know instantly it’s a building with a story to tell. The closer you get, the more details begin to emerge in the building’s façade. Anchors, mythical figures, and even sea creatures are carved into the stone exterior or shaped from wrought iron. As you follow the red carpet to the revolving doors it becomes obvious the Amrâth’s tale involves the sea.
An easy walk from Amsterdam’s Central Station, the five-star hotel is located in the Scheepvaarthuis, Dutch for shipping house. It was built more than 100 years ago, in 1913, when six of Amsterdam’s shipping companies decided to work under one roof and combine their strength to promote trade via the sea. It needed to blend with Amsterdam’s unique personality, canals and houses, while at the same time be a landmark. Declared a national monument in 1972, what were once busy offices are now 165 one-of-a-kind guest rooms.
There were many moments when the hotel reminded me of what it’s like to be on board a ship. Navigating the hallways to rooms comes with a short learning curve, and just like a ship there aren’t interior windows, so the only light comes from port hole style light fixtures.
But when I opened the door to my Superior Deluxe Room, natural light poured in from the wall of windows overlooking the canal below. The once office, now oversize room offered nice, practical details in keeping with the property’s maritime theme. The entry area had hooks for coats and scarves and plenty of room for bulky items like luggage. The bathroom was actually two rooms, one with a shower and toilet, the other with a tub and double sink. High ceilings make the space feel even bigger. Room prices include Wi-Fi and a non-alcoholic minibar that is restocked daily. All rooms are non-smoking.
Exploring the hotel is a bit like wandering at a museum. Climb the stairs from the hotel lobby and you’ll see nautical inspired stained glass windows, wrought ironwork, paintings and antique furniture. When you reach the top, look up. The ceiling is a map of the world in leaded-glass more than a thousand square feet in diameter. Day or night, it shines bright.
The Council Chamber, where shipping barons used to have their meetings is still intact. You have to ask to see it, but unless there’s an event, the staff is typically happy to oblige. Original, opulent details include tapestries and dark hardwoods adorned with assorted sea creatures.
The hotel’s Restaurant Seven Seas offers a breakfast buffet and dinner menu. The Bar Lounge, just off the lobby serves drinks and a light menu that includes sandwiches and salads.
The Amrâth’s Spa & Wellness Centre is the perfect way to rest and reward weary legs and feet after a long day of exploring Amsterdam. Along with two saunas, there is a hot tub and heated swimming pool. If you’ve got the energy there’s also a fitness room. The facilities are open daily from 7am to 11pm.
Dana’s stay was hosted by the Amrâth Amsterdam, but as always her thoughts and opinions are her own.