With a 2 Michelin-starred restaurant, an inviting spa, and a secret bar housed in an underground bank vault, the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam is the perfect sanctuary for a sophisticated, restful city break. Set on the banks of the UNESCO-listed Canal Ring, with a storied past, still evident in the hotel’s exquisite design, it invites travellers to immerse themselves in a world where history and modernity seamlessly coalesce.
Arriving at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, we were greeted by immaculately uniformed door staff who cheerfully helped us with our luggage up the steps of the canal-side entrance. Once through the large wooden doors, the space opened up in front of us. High ornate ceilings and walls with elaborate mouldings are painted white, giving a notably light and airy, contemporary feel to the original 17th-century architecture. The historic grandeur is a result of the building’s heritage; six canal palaces have been incorporated to house the hotel.
Situated on the Herengracht Canal, part of the UNESCO-listed Canal Ring, this former Mayoral residence is a haven of calm sophistication and contemporary elegance with an emphasis on indulgence and sensory luxury. Our own sensorial experience began at check-in with a glass of Pol Roger champagne, and a sampling of Trudon scents, the oldest candle manufacturer in France, which supplied scented candles in the hay days of the Palace of Versailles (incidentally, the hotel’s main building shares an architectural connection with the palace). We plumbed for Ernesto, with its sweet hints of tobacco, and the scent was placed in our room, forever sealing the association between this divine fragrance and our stay at the hotel. From the meticulously designed rooms to the world-class Guerlain Spa, every facet of the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam exudes an air of relaxed grandeur that echoes the city’s rich cultural heritage.
The elevated but restrained design carried through into our generously proportioned 3rd-floor room, one of 93 rooms and suites, effortlessly blending all the modern comforts we would expect from a hotel of this calibre, with classic elegance. The interior featured plush textiles, a marble bathroom, and a muted palette that reflected the soothing hues of the location. Situated at the rear of the hotel, we had a view of the property’s impressive gardens, the largest private green space within the city centre.
Right on time
While you’re Out There
During your stay be sure to visit the iconic Rijksmuseum, a cultural gem located just a stone’s throw away. A treasure trove of Dutch art and history, offering an enriching experience for culture enthusiasts and art aficionados alike, the museum showcases everything from intricate Delftware ceramics to exquisite period furniture. Home to an impressive collection of Dutch Golden Age masterpieces, including works by Rembrandt and Vermeer, this world-renowned institution offers a captivating journey through art and history. A stand-out moment for us was standing in front of Rembrandt’s ‘The Night Watch’, a colossal canvas that captures the essence of 17th-century Amsterdam. When you’ve had your fill of art and culture, take a leisurely stroll through the museum’s well-manicured gardens. These lush, green spaces offer a tranquil escape from the bustling city streets, providing a serene moment for reflection.
We took full advantage of the sanctuary provided by the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam – its Guerlain Spa offers an array of treatments that we were told have been designed to revitalise the body and soul. We experienced one of the best full-body massages of our lives at the hands of an expert masseuse, followed by further relaxation in the hotel’s sauna, finished off with a decadent wallow in the chic pool.
Thoroughly rejuvenated, we set out to explore the vicinity. The property’s strategic location invites guests to immerse themselves in the vibrant culture of Amsterdam. Beyond the iconic museums – the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam is less than two kilometres from the Museum Quarter, home to the Rijksmuseum – this part of Amsterdam offers a plethora of experiences, from strolls along the iconic canals to an exploration of hidden boutiques and quaint cafes. You could also rent a bicycle to take to the city like a local. The famous Flower Market and the lively Leidseplein Square are just a stone’s throw away, providing visitors with a taste of the city’s unique charm.
We returned to the hotel for a Dutch Master Painters-themed Afternoon Tea with artworks by the likes of Van Gogh in the exclusive Peacock Alley Lounge. Dining at the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam was a relaxed affair, with an emphasis on allowing guests time to enjoy the kitchen’s delicious offerings at their own pace, which is typical of Amsterdam’s laid-back attitude – a welcome break from the overly attentive and sometimes intrusive service that we have experienced in other cities. We found the Vault Bar especially alluring for its cozy ambiance, not to mention its extensive selection of exquisite wines and cocktails. With a nod to the building’s history as a bank, the bar is housed in the original bank vault, adding an extra layer of meaning to the idea of a lock-in.
The hotel’s signature restaurant, Spectrum (formerly Librije’s Zusje), boasts an impressive two Michelin stars and delights discerning palates with an innovative menu of meticulously crafted dishes celebrating locally sourced ingredients. It’s a must-do indulgence for any stay. In any case, you can always work off the extra calories in the hotel’s well-equipped gym.