Amsterdam’s Hotel de l’Europe has the sort of gravitas that only the cream of historic hotels can muster. Presiding over a bend in the Amstel River at the very core of the city, this 19th-century grand dame epitomizes the grace and elegance of its era. While old-world luxury properties can sometimes feel like a bit of a time warp, Hotel de l’Europe has kept itself fresh and relevant, thanks to judicious renovations, a willingness to embrace technology, and a finger firmly on the pulse of what matters to discerning guests.
As soon as the doorman, clad in top hat and tails, ushers guests into the Hotel de l’Europe’s extravagant lobby, it’s clear that a special stay lies ahead. Beginning right at check-in, service is discreet, thoughtful and unfailingly gracious. Each guest is made to feel like a VIP, and it’s impossible not to fall under the spell.
The Promenade, a massive formal salon with a procession of crystal chandeliers, gilt ceilings and luminous red-orange walls, lies at the heart of the first floor. Should you arrive early and need to wait while your room is prepared, this is the spot to settle in and unwind. Ask the concierge for a map, and plot out your sightseeing over an espresso or a glass of Champagne — the hotel is a stone’s throw from most of Amsterdam’s major attractions.
Hotel de l’Europe has two sections: the Rondeel Building, which houses 88 rooms and suites, and the newer 23-suite Dutch Masters wing. Cribs and extra beds are available on request for Premium Deluxe rooms and up, and kids under 12 stay free. There’s a maximum of three people in each category, so larger families may need to book connecting rooms. For the ultimate splurge, consider the decadent six-bedroom Penthouse Suite, which includes an expansive living/dining area and a private terrace overlooking the Amstel River.
Accommodations in the Rondeel Building feature tailored, traditional decor, with soft palettes, Art Deco-style desks and delicately patterned wallpaper. In the Dutch Masters wing, the look is more streamlined, yet no less elegant — monochromatic strokes of Delft blue or aqua are paired with contemporary furnishings and fixtures, plus the same rich woods found throughout the hotel. Select rooms in both wings offer balconies with city, courtyard or river views.
Across all categories, the accommodations include bespoke detailing that whispers of pure luxury. Cloud-soft Coco-Mat beds are layered with linens that feel smooth as silk. Clever design notes lend a sense of place — many of the headboards bear a stepped motif that evokes the rooflines of Amsterdam’s canal houses, and in each room hangs a large-scale vignette pulled from a classic Dutch painting in the Rijksmuseum nearby.
Despite the old-world ambiance, the rooms are a technophile’s dream, with Bose surround-sound systems, iPads for ordering room service, and desks with outlets for multiple plug styles (no adapters required). My favorite touch: If you get out of bed in the middle of the night, tiny motion-sensor floor lights switch on automatically. What a perfect solution for kids who need to find their way to the bathroom!
The elegance doesn’t end at the bathroom threshold. Walls and flooring are wrapped in handsome gray-veined marble, and radiant heating wards off the chill of Amsterdam’s often-rainy weather. Kids will be fascinated by the TV screens integrated into the mirrors as well.
In Premium Deluxe rooms and up, bathrooms have separate soaking tubs in addition to showers. The Blaise Maupin bath amenities, in a scent created exclusively for the hotel, include a full spectrum of skin and hair care products — even a mini jar of bath salts for a little in-room pampering.
With five restaurants and bars onsite, plus 24-hour room service, guests are spoiled for choice. The signature is the two-Michelin-star Bord d’Eau, with a menu that artfully weaves Dutch, French and Asian influences into dramatic dishes such as Anjou Pigeon with Mustard Miso. This is a parents-only spot; take advantage of the hotel’s nanny service to enjoy an evening à deux. Afterward, stop by the convivial Freddy’s Bar, named after famous patron and late hotel owner Alfred Heineken, for a nightcap.
All-day dining is available at the bright, casual Hoofdstad Brasserie, from a sumptuous breakfast buffet to updated Dutch favorites (and a kids’ menu) at lunch and dinner. In fine weather, guests can relax over sandwiches, pastas, seafood and more at Het Terras, an open-air terrace on the river. And the Promenade is the gathering spot for high tea or a twilight cocktail.
In keeping with Hotel de l’Europe’s luxury status, the list of amenities seems endless, from butler service to a state-of-the-art fitness center, a full library and a private wine cellar. For those who can’t bear to leave their furry family members at home, the hotel can arrange walks, special treats and more. Fancy a sightseeing cruise through Amsterdam’s canals? Just ask the concierge desk, and they’ll have a boat collect you at the hotel’s private dock. They can also recommend kid-friendly itineraries, tours and activities.
The onsite Skins Institute-De L’Europe offers a complete menu of organic spa and beauty treatments, plus a tranquil indoor pool and Jacuzzi. The highlight is a small, secluded patio that’s accessible only through the spa. For busy parents, it’s the perfect mini-escape from the real world — even if the real world, during your stay, is an awfully pleasant place to be.
Editor’s Note: Hotel de l’Europe provided a media package in order for Ciao Bambino to review the property. As always, our opinions are our own. Photos by Lisa Frederick.
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