Opened in June this year, the Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Amsterdam provides an oasis of calm in a busy city and beautifully blends the traditional with the contemporary. On arrival you are greeted not only by immaculate doormen and hotel porters at the ready with old fashioned brass trolleys to carry your luggage, but also a charming robot which weaves its way around the large reception hall carrying mints and maps of the city.
As fascinated as we all were by the robot, thankfully there were also countless real staff on hand to help with anything you needed during your stay and the service was faultless. The main lobby is divided into pockets of comfortable seating areas with leather wingback chairs contrasting with dramatic modern chrome sculptures.
Why stay here?
Located on Dam Square, facing the Royal Palace and National Monument, you couldn’t choose a better location for a hotel in the heart of Amsterdam. It is just five minutes from Centraal Station, and a 25-minute drive from the airport. From Dam Square you can walk to most of the city’s main attractions, and there is a great network of trams if your feet get tired of pounding the pavements.
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Described as the “Venice of the North”, Amsterdam developed around a dam in the Amstel river at the end of the 12th century and now has more than 100km of canals. The three main canals, dug in the 17th century, form concentric belts around the city and were listed as a Unesco World Heritage Site in 2010. The Krasnapolsky hotel has its own private pier for boats on the Oudezijds Vooburgwal Canal.
If you are coming to Amsterdam on business, the hotel is ideal – it has all the facilities for everything from board meetings to gala dinners in the beautiful Winter Garden. Outdoor events can be held in the Summer Garden, on the rooftop terrace, or on a canal boat moored at the pier.
The rooms and facilities
The building dates back to 1856, when Polish tailor Adolph Wilhelm Krasnapolsky first opened a coffee house on the site. As the café grew in popularity, he added rooms for rent and later built it into a modern hotel. There are black and white photographs exhibited throughout which chart the history of the hotel, and the award-winning bar, The Tailor, pays tribute to Krasnapolsky’s original profession.
The 402 refurbished rooms and suites are modern and stylish, in a neutral palette, with crisp white linen and comfortable beds. We were lucky enough to have a fantastic view over Dam Square from the oversized windows in our suite. As you would expect from a five-star, the rooms are well equipped with flat-screen TVs, rainfall showers, Nespresso machines and complimentary Wi-Fi, and there is even a pillow menu.
The hotel also has a new Anantara Spa with a relaxation area overlooking the Summer Garden, three treatment rooms and Finnish, wet and infrared saunas, plus a new gym with the latest cardio and weights technology and a rotating climbing wall.
Eating and drinking
The hotel has a variety of options for dining, from The White Room under the helm of former three-Michelin star chef, Jacob Jan Boerma, to the Grand Café Krasnapolsky, overlooking Dam Square, where we had a lovely family dinner on our first night.
The Grand Café has smart leather banquettes and white table cloths and houses The Champagne Room, which offers ten different Champagnes by the glass, I went for a refreshing Moet rosé. The food is Modern European, and we started with a delicious creamy burrata salad, followed by a duck breast with celeriac purée which was equally good. The children enjoyed choosing their own puddings from The Cake Room, which has an incredible selection of pastries and freshly baked macaroons for afternoon tea.
The real highlight was the sumptuous breakfast in the iconic inner Winter Garden. You cannot help but be wowed by the beautiful setting in this Art Deco-style ballroom with a magnificent 19th century iron and glass roof, like a Victorian station in design. It’s like dining in an enormous orangerie or glass house, with verdant hanging baskets and trailing plants suspended from the mezzanine gallery. Breakfast itself was amazing – an incredible buffet spread of anything and everything you could ever wish for to prepare you for a day of sight-seeing, from fruit and yoghurt, to eggs and bacon and even donuts, which delighted the children, and of course traditional Dutch waffles.
What to do
Amsterdam has a brilliant selection of galleries and museums to suit a range of different interests, but you need to book tickets in advance. We were sadly unable to go to the Anne Frank House, where the diarist and her Jewish family and four others hid from the Nazis in a secret annex during the Second World War, because tickets were sold out. But we did manage to get tickets for the Van Gogh Museum, when combined with a boat tour, at short notice. Both are well worth doing.
The Van Gogh Museum has more than half of the artist’s work and charts the progress from his darker early paintings like The Potato Eaters to the more colourful style he discovered while living in France, including a version of the iconic Sunflowers.
A boat tour is a must in Amsterdam, it’s a wonderful way to see the city’s sights and the famous narrow townhouses lining the canals. We did ours in the evening, when the bridges were lit up with pretty festoon lights, and there was a very informative historical audio commentary.
Other highlights include the Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt House, Nemo Science Museum and Moco Modern Art Museum; there’s also a replica Dutch East Indiaman ship, and the De Gooyer Molen, a pretty thatched windmill with a brewery next door. The zoo is nice to visit with children and there is a good restaurant next door to it, De Plantage, where we enjoyed a healthy lunch.
Out and about
Aside from the main attractions, Amsterdam is a great city to just wander around, criss-crossing the canals, or to discover on two wheels. Bikes, which can be easily rented, are hugely popular in Holland and the city is well set up for cyclists, though you do have to watch out for trams! De 9 Straatjes (the nine streets) are full of quirky boutiques and eateries; we had delicious freshly cut, double-fried chips from Fabel Friet as a little snack when the small people started to flag after an afternoon of sight-seeing.
And you can’t come to Amsterdam without trying the city’s famous pancakes! We attempted to try Pancakehouse Upstairs, a tiny, charming restaurant up a steep flight of narrow stairs in a 16th century townhouse, but sadly it was fully booked. We ended up at Mama Pancake instead, where we shared two plates of wonderful warm, fluffy mini Dutch pancakes with chocolate sauce.
If you visit in spring, it is worth factoring in enough time for a trip to the world famous tulip fields just outside the city centre. The next Tulip Festival runs from 23 March to 14 May 2023. The hotel is happy to arrange any excursions and the concierge couldn’t have been more helpful in recommending activities to suit our party during our stay.
Amsterdam is just a short flight from the UK. We flew in from London Stansted and with the time difference we arrived back home before our take-off time, as the flight was under an hour. We had a transfer from the airport organised by the hotel, but it is easy to get the train from the airport into the central station.
Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Amsterdam, Dam 9, Amsterdam, Netherlands. Premier rooms from €346 (£298) per night, based on two sharing, including breakfast and taxes; anantara.com
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