BACKGROUND Amrath Hotels is a steadily expanding Dutch hotel group owned by the Van Eijl family. The Grand Hotel Amrath Amsterdam, which opened its doors in June 2007, is the group’s first five-star property, joining its 11 four-star and two three-star properties. The Amsterdam Amrath is a member of Worldhotels’ Deluxe Collection.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Built in two phases during 1916 and 1928, in the Amsterdam School style of architecture, the property was for many years the headquarters for major Dutch shipping companies. This is particularly evident inside: the marble staircase leading up from the entrance lobby sits below a stained-glass ceiling depicting ships and astrological signs, and on the second floor are the original glass-fronted hatches where people used to queue to buy tickets for cruises. On arrival, guests are welcomed in a side room to a sit-down personal check-in.
WHERE IS IT? A five-minute walk from Amsterdam Central station – cross the street and turn left along the main road. The entrance is on the corner of Prins Hendrikkade and the canalside Binnenkant.
ROOM FACILITIES Just over half the rooms have city views, but the ones overlooking the tree-lined canal are the best. All rooms have a Nespresso coffee machine and tea-making facilities, bathrobe and slippers, umbrella, safe, trouser press, Lanvin toiletries in the bathroom, free wifi access (although it was a little weak in my room), 2.1-metre king/twin bed, 32-inch flatscreen TV and electric curtains (the ceilings are very high). Where possible, bathrooms have a separate shower and bath, and double sinks, but my Superior Deluxe room (32-45 sqm) only had a walk-in rainshower, a single sink and a separate toilet. The in-room décor contrasts a gold and red-striped carpet with patterned terracotta wallpaper and sea-green curtains.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS On the lobby level is the Seven Seas fine-dining restaurant with pink, gold and navy banquette seating, marble floors and sea-themed prints on the walls. It serves French/Mediterranean cuisine 6-11.30pm, while an impressive breakfast buffet is served here 7-10am in the week, 7-11am on Saturday and 8am-12pm on Sunday. (The jugs of freshly made smoothies are particularly good.) For a light lunch, coffee, high tea, canapés or a swift G&T, the Bar/Lounge across the hall is open 9am-1am (2am Fri-Sat).
MEETING AND BUSINESS FACILITIES There are eight rooms for hire, including the restored Council Chamber, which is fitted with carved wood panelling, a brass chandelier, stained-glass windows and a banqueting table which seats 22. The subterranean Ray’s Club has space for 150 people for a reception, as well as a “wine safe” behind the original steel vault door, where guests can try wine tasting or host a dinner party for 24 people. A business centre on the third floor has two PCs and a printer.
LEISURE FACILITIES Open 7am-10pm, the Wellness centre in the basement has a nine-metre pool with a blue “starry sky” above, a fitness area, relaxation zone, whirlpool, steam room and three saunas, including an infrared one.
VERDICT A unique high-class hotel, steeped in history, which makes a refreshing change from the predictability of the big chains. The staff provide a personal, welcoming service, and the little in-room extras such as the free minibar are a nice touch
HOW MANY ROOMS? 165 (all non-smoking from July 1), including 47 Deluxe, 90 Superior Deluxe, 14 Junior Suites, ten Senior Suites (including the three-floor Tower Suite) and four Single rooms.
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS Definitely the free minibar, available in all rooms and replenished daily. It’s stocked with red and white wine, two bottles of Gulpener Pilsener, miniature bottles of spirits, soft drinks, peanuts and a Toblerone bar, so there’s no need to go hungry – or thirsty. Free wifi is also very welcome.
PRICE Internet rates for a midweek stay in September started from £185 for a Standard room.
CONTACT Grand Hotel Amrath, Prins Hendrikkade 108; tel +31 20 5520 000; amrathamsterdam.com.