There is no right mood to go to Amsterdam. Nor is there any right season. It’s that patch of land on earth that embraces everyone who steps in, every time one does. It definitely is one of Europe’s great cities which has been thriving since the 18th century. The people are warm and the streets are strewn with cyclists, who carry on with daily chores with a smile on their face.
I spent three days in Amsterdam and I must admit the charm of the entire city is just infectious. Here are some recommendations on how you can enhance your Amsterdam experience.
Where to stay
What’s a stay at Amsterdam if you aren’t greeted by the canal in the morning. That and the opulence of the Luxury Suites Amsterdam can make for an unmatched holiday experience. Located in the heart of the capital, the property delivers with the perfect ingredients of an Amsterdam homestay. Each suite is blessed with a dining area and kitchen and is 560 square feet large so that you never run out of space. Some suites even have their own private terrace. The attention paid to the detail in the bathrooms, bedroom and living area is admirable. What’s more is that you’re just a 10-minute walk away from the Royal Palace. The suites arrange for your transport to all key historical areas of interest.
Where to visit
Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum
Known for its well-preserved history, Amsterdam’s museums are famous across Europe. And among them are the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum. Constructed in 1875, the Rijksmuseum was visited by the great Van Gogh himself. The artist was an admirer of the art on display at the museum at the time and soon became one of the many inspirations for a museum to be set up with his name. The right travel companion such as Viator.com or Civitatis.com can help you skip unending queues that form to appreciate the timeless collections.
You know you’ve arrived at Amsterdam when you find yourself staring up at the monument at Dam Square. Like any major city square, this central location is where you can enjoy performances by buskers and the constant chatter of multi-ethnic groups of international tourists, constantly flowing through the cobblestone streets. It’s here that you have to be before planning a trip to the Royal Palace or if you’re here on a day of any significance. It’s the perfect thoroughfare to soak in the celebratory spirit of the city. The annual fireworks show and Christmas lights at de Bijenkorf are a spectacle with 600,000 LED lights illuminating the façade.
Evening Canal Ride
Amsterdam transforms into another world once the evening lights come on. This is when a romantic ride through the canals is highly recommended. It’s here where you can truly appreciate the canal houses that rim the water-body, and the historic monuments that lie in its wake. Setting off on the famed evening cruise can treat you to audio commentary in up to 19 different languages. The canals are preserved by UNESCO. Each ride can last for about an hour and touches up on some of the most important destinations that the city has to offer.
Where to eat
To complete the experience of visiting Rijksmuseum, one must make their way to the Michelin-starred Rijks restaurant. It’s here that you can find an impressive collection of local wines and Dutch beers and even Dutch Gin (jenever). Chef Joris Bijdendijk infuses international ingredients rather organically into his cooking to create the restaurant’s bespoke delicacies. The 140-seating restaurant is often the haunt of art-lovers, who’re reflecting on the wonders they’ve just witnessed at one of the world’s most renowned museums. Join them in an air of reflection and splendour.
Afternoon Tea at Waldorf Astoria
There’s nothing like a themed funfair to keep your afternoons less drowsy in the bustling city. The Waldorf Astoria hosts an afternoon tea that is the finest in the land, both, in terms of ambience and service. Set in a 17th-century palace and welcoming guests into what used to once be a bank vault, the property opens out to UNESCO-registered gardens. The afternoon tea is served in the Peacock Alley, in between piano symphonies. You can enjoy a range of teas here, from the Golden Yunnan to the Sencha Lemon from Japan and even the Indian rose tea. A team of scones, pastries and tea cakes adorn the table to great effect.
One wouldn’t be recommended a French cuisine in the heart of The Netherlands, but the Hoofdstad Brasserie begs the exception to be made, with its delectable ensemble of gastronomic treats. The open kitchen ensures that you’re privy to all the action that goes into preparing the city’s most famous interpretations of French cuisines. The décor hints at a casual setting aimed to make you feel comfortable even while upping the exclusivity, the prices are surprisingly moderated, and the food is memorable.
Where to shop
Set up in 1870, De Bijenkorf is one of the hallmark stores for luxury fashion, in Amsterdam. It’s here that you can find the finest luxury and fashion brands. If you’re looking to bring back something good from Amsterdam, then the chocolates on sale here are absolute must-buys. If you’re a non-EU tourist, you could also avail of the tax refund on purchases amounting to 50 Euros or more, per day! The multilingual staff is friendly and welcoming. If you need a break between an extended shopping ritual, then the store has a restaurant and a coffee bar to offer.
De 9 Straatjes
What literally translates to The Nine Streets Neighborhood, the streets outline the canal belt of the city. It’s here where all those stunning Instagram-worthy pictures are clicked. The restaurants and cafes here, each have their own flavour in design and servings. Each street has its own characteristic and style. We highly recommend De Kaaskamer for those who have a tooth for cheese. For those looking to shop, the local brand stores have some fine garments on display, all year round. Our recommendation for the ladies would be Van Ravenstein.
No matter where you’re travelling from, KLM airlines should be your first-choice carrier. They offer connectivity to most cities across the globe. Their designer-inspired Business Class offers full-flat seats that can be reclined to 180 degrees, offering long-haul fliers the much-desired rest they need. The seats have a privacy canopy and power facilities to connect devices along with a 17-inch entertainment system.
Note – I was invited and hosted by the partners of Amsterdam Luxury But all the opinions expressed herewith are my own