To be cosseted by a regal, grand dame five-star hotel in the beating heart of Amsterdam.
Set the Scene
The 19th-century Renaissance building looms large at the crossroads of the Amstel River and Rokin canal; look left and you can make out the curves of the national ballet. The 107-bed hostelry is a well-heeled hive of activity – in the warmer months, museum-fatigued patrons sup Aperols on its waterfront terrace; when the barometer drops, visitors seek refuge in the regal lobby, with its mirrored walls and opulent silks and velvets or seek out its stylish Provençale-style bistro, Marie followed by a nightcap at Freddy’s bar. In a city with few blockbuster opulent hotels, this is Amsterdam’s Claridge’s or Le Bristol. The newer wing, the t’Huys, hosts a flower shop, the ‘Wunderkammer,’ with displays curated by floral artists.
Set on the site of former defence walls, the handsome 19th-century building housed a ‘gentleman’s inn of distinction’ in its former years. Since the 1950s it has been owned by the Heineken family, who have furnished its walls with their impressive Dutch art collection and have steadily been acquiring next-door buildings. They have just reopened following an extensive redevelopment, with three new restaurants and new suites dressed by names in the fashion and design world.
The eight t’Huys suites are all individually designed, from Bibi van der Velden’s deep plushes and sculptural accents to modern photography-adorned walls curated by The Ravestijn Gallery; a further six will follow next year, with designers to be announced. Otherwise, choose a room overlooking the waterways for showstopper meditative views. The beds are dressed with 400-count satin sheets and deep Coco-Mat mattresses with bespoke bronze and teal geometric silk headboards. Burnished velvet accents throughout the rooms add warmth, as do the heated floors in the floor-to-ceiling marble bathrooms, which come stocked with Diptyque amenities.
Food and drink
If you can’t stretch to a room, get a table at the wonderful Marie’s. With its soft rose banquettes, mint green mid-century chairs and trance-inducing vistas of the lapping waves, this is one of the smartest spots in town for a plate of butter-drenched white asparagus or steak tartare. Named after a Heineken cousin, the food was inspired by her travels in the Cote D’Azure. For a blowout, two Michelin star Flore offers up conscious fine dining, with dishes sourced from weekly trips to farmsteads outside the city. Dishes can include North Sea crab with sour quince gel, chanterelle mushroom, walnut leaf, or eggplant steak with blueberry salt cure cooked over fire. The Italian-focused Trattoria Graziella is a beacon for families with its jaunty salmon, cream colour scheme, and afternoon-nap-inducing spaghetti carbonara. Night owls can settle into one of Freddy’s derriere-polished leather armchairs for a nightcap – a bar named after Alfred ‘Freddy’ Heineken’s favourite post-prandial spot.
The subterranean gold-mosaiced Le Spa houses a small gym and functional pool – leave your goggles at home – but there is a tightly edited collection of treatments by Skin Institute, from their plant-based Marie Veronique facial to their rejuvenating Swedish massage.
The neighbourhood/ area
Well located for the museums and galleries, as well as the Nine Streets, reminiscent of Le Marais, with independent stores and cafes, although they can get packed, so choose your timings wisely. A river cruise with food from Marie is a gentler way to explore the city, or take an E-bike to Spiegelkwartier or ‘mirror quarter’, a treasure trove of art and antiques. Seek out some of the city’s pioneering restaurants, such as the blink-and-you-miss-it wine-focused De Juwelier, where bar-propped oyster snacking turns into long lunches of morel-smothered hake washed down with coupes of Eric Isselee Champagne.
Slick and knowledgeable – a particular shout out to their excellent sommeliers and bartenders. The concierge was very helpful, providing tips for beating the traffic – including one of the most memorable de L’Europe experiences, a zippy lift to the station on the electric buggy (this is Amsterdam), complete with top-hatted liveried driver.
No kids club or specific family experiences, but rooms from the premium deluxe category can interconnect. The concierge will arrange suitable local activities such as a private river cruise in the hotel’s panelled vintage cruiser or a family bike ride.
The De L’Europe was the first hotel in Amsterdam to receive a Green Key Gold for its environmentally-friendly hospitality. Culinary Director Bas van Kranen, the youngest holder of a Michelin Star chef in the Netherlands, focuses on sustainability with a largely plant-based menu based around the team’s weekly trips to the countryside.
De L’Europe Amsterdam is wheelchair friendly. The hotel has four elevators, including access to the spa, and all the restaurants offer wheelchair access except for the terrace at Marie. It also has several accessible room categories that provide wider doors, adjustable sink heights and handrails. Guests can mention in their reservation if they would like to request an easily accessible guestroom.
Anything left to mention
There is an ongoing partnership with the Van Gogh Museum, including exclusive access to the museum’s exhibition ‘Van Gogh along the Seine’. Until 14 January 2024, the hotel’s VIP cultural package offers guests exclusive access to the exhibition via a two-night stay in one of the hotel’s rooms or suites, two VIP exhibition tickets and a boat ride to and from the museum. Amsterdam is gearing up for its 750th-anniversary celebrations next year, with events and parties happening throughout the year.