Arriving at the Waldorf Astoria, Amsterdam, we looked up at the beautiful buildings, wrapped with a sparkling festive bow, and were won over immediately.
First admiring the marble floor, incredibly detailed ceilings and beautiful sweeping staircase, we were lead to our room to check in. The welcome was so warm and friendly I felt quite at home (although of course at home I don’t have a personal concierge, choice of rooms scents, or a mini bar, but, you know!)
Our room was light and bright with beautiful white embroidered bed linens. Classical music whispered gently in the background.
From the large windows we had full view of the city’s grandest canal, Herengracht (Gentlemen’s Canal), which was built in the Golden Age and is now a UNESCO heritage site.
On a table next to a vase of almost-open tulips, atop a glass stand, sat a chocolate dome – hand decorated with a row of marzipan canal houses in front of a frosty night sky. Underneath this fabulous cloche of cacao freshly baked cookies sat neatly on a paper doily. Doesn’t it sound decadent? You should have seen me modelling that chocolate masterpiece as a very fetching (and melty) hat. So decadent.
The fruit bowl was brimming with berries, beside it cotton napkins and a finger bowl decorated with petals. The mini bar was stocked to the gunnels with all the best bits, and the bathroom had everything you could possibly need.
But, the carpets. You know how I love a good hotel carpet! The carpets were fabulous – designed especially for the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam to reflect the calm waters of the canals outside, with a little nod to the palette of Vermeer too.
It was hard to leave the room when it was so comfortable and relaxing, but there was a whole hotel to explore, and then some more of the city – which included the fabulous Botanical Gardens, and the not so fabulous purple-potato dinner ( all of which you can read about over here).
I couldn’t help be be drawn to the gloriously glitzy Christmas decorations – the huge wreaths, the piles of golden fir cones, and the massive tree with it’s small heap of presents placed around it. (No, I don’t think those packages were empty. Yes I do think they were full of magic.)
The hotel is made up of six individual canal houses neatly stitched together with personality and charm. Most of the buildings had been a bank, and the old safety deposit boxes remain – now a feature in The Vault Bar, providing storage for single malts and aged cognacs.
Behind the beautiful buildings is a large private garden (the largest in the city) which, in the spring, bursts into colour with thousands of tulips.
Looking up to the rooftops, along the undulating roofline, there’s an interruption of houses so small they look to be only good for Borrowers, or bees.
When the Waldorf Astoria brought the bees to the city they made every effort to welcome them. The Queen bee arrived by Rolls Royce and was walked up a red carpet to a welcoming reception and ceremony fit for royalty. I would have dearly loved to have been there for this experience, but it’s okay, my imagination is vivid and I can picture it all quite well. (Her crown was a work of art!)
Everywhere I looked I spotted charming details – odes to the past, marble and plasterwork, and a finish that looked like it had just been completed yesterday. Maintaining such historical buildings is an ongoing task, and one that the Waldorf Astoria appear to do with unseen precision. Not a thing out of place, not a chip in the paintwork, nor a crack in the ceiling, everything thing is perfect as it should be. It might be odd, but I am always most impressed by these things!
I had the most peaceful and comfortable nights sleep I have ever had away from home. Eight solid hours, undisturbed. I didn’t want to leave.
For breakfast we ate the Waldorf Astoria classic of Eggs Benedict, sat in the calmness of the gently toned Librije’s Zusje restaurant, sipping hot tea and discussing what we’d do next time.
Next time I’d dine in the 2 Michelin starred restaurant, drink cocktails in The Vault Bar and take afternoon tea in Peacock Alley. I’d have lunch in the Goldfinch Brasserie, swim in the beautiful pool, and have a treatment in the exclusive Guerlain Spa. Next time.
I feel happy to think that there could be a next time. One night might not be enough (it wasn’t!) but it was such a delight to extend a work trip and make it into a superb getaway, that it feels like a real privilege to even be able to think ‘next time!’
Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam Herengracht 542 – 556, 1017 CG
With the greatest thanks to the wonderful people of iamsterdam for hosting me in their beautiful city, and the Waldorf Astoria, Amsterdam for hosting me and my guest for a night in their incredible hotel.