I love small intimate hotels rather than big flashy ones and ‘t Hotel in Amsterdam fitted the bill perfectly for my stay there over the weekend. My daughter discovered it – she sometimes goes to Amsterdam for work – and suggested we book there for our stay. It’s an historic canal house dating from the 17th century and lies on a pretty canal in the Jordaan-Centrum district, Leliegracht. Situated just round the corner from Anne Frank house and Prinsengracht, it’s an ideal location for exploring Amsterdam but also gives you a real feel for the city. Being an old canal house, it’s narrow and stairs are steep and narrow too, and there’s no lift. But the friendly guy on reception offered to carry our cases up and there’s also a chair lift for anyone who can’t climb stairs easily.
It’s a family-run hotel with only 8 rooms. We paid a little extra for a room for a view of the canal and I’m so pleased we did because it was a lovely view.
It could be a little noisy in the day with people passing and boats on the canal, but that’s part of staying in the centre of Amsterdam and not easily avoided, especially if you want a canal view. At night it was peaceful – apart front the sound of bells ringing on the hour. Fortunately we weren’t close enough to any churches for the sound to be loud enough to disturb us. In the morning when I looked out on the pretty peaceful world, the water was so still that I could see reflections of the buildings in the canal.
It was pretty at night too.
Breakfast is served in the reception area where you can look out over the canal and watch the Dutch world go by … and lots of bikes! Everyone cycles in Amsterdam. And it’s a city built for cyclists like no other; cyclists rule the road. We didn’t hire any this time but it’s fun to do so, especially if you want to explore further afield.
Breakfast was included in the price and is a buffet bar but it’s done in a really great way. There are slices of Dutch cheese and hams – a typical Dutch breakfast; juices and bowls of yogurt, fruit salad and dried fruits. There’s a selection of cereals and lots of breads, sweet fruit breads, fruit buns and croissants. The breads and pastries were really good; so good they had to have come fresh from a bakery that morning.
Coffee was freshly ground and brewed to make whatever kind of coffee you wanted. There was hot water and a selection of teas if you preferred tea. There was a big bowl of fresh fruit too: apples, bananas, nectarines.
Amsterdam is a very quirky place. There’s a wonderful laid-back and arty feel to it; there’s a sophisticated cafe society and funky shops and street markets. The people are friendly and easy going; people in restaurants, shops and cafes are friendly yet efficient in a way the Dutch excel at: neither over familiar nor too formal. And the ‘t Hotel reflects this well. It lies in a fashionable area full of art galleries, ceramic shops, wonderful restaurants and cafes and is quite simply the best area to stay in.
Whoever was in reception when you went in would be really friendly and helpful: suggesting things to do, booking restaurants, etc. The breakfast room and bedrooms are simply decorated and furnished but with great style. The beds were very comfortable, there was a fridge and kettle and mugs so you could make your own hot drinks and store anything cold. Everything was done with a nice touch of thoughtfulness and care. This was a hotel that felt loved. Although I was travelling with my daughter I know I’d feel very comfortable there on my own too. And I’m pretty sure it won’t be long before I go back!