It’s a truth universally acknowledged that there is never a bad time to visit the Dutch capital. From the verdant blooming tulips of spring to the twinkling lights and warming Bisschopswijn of the Christmas markets, Amsterdam welcomes with open arms year-round. With the recent launch of the first ever direct Eurostar service to the city this spring it’s even more accessible than ever. Cutting out the awkward airport run means Londoners can now arrive at central station in just over three and a half hours, nudging it up the to-do list for an easy weekend city break (although border control niggles mean the return leg is still via Brussels). With the heady summer months providing no end to opportunities for lazy cycles around the Vondelpark, canal-side beers around every corner and literally dozens of festivals stretching into autumn, there’s no time like now to get a trip in the diary.
While the city has no shortage of accommodation, the central canal belt can end up becoming an incredibly busy tourist trap, particularly in the summer. Just a few minutes walk in the opposite direction from the station lies the Mövenpick Hotel Amsterdam City Centre
, a spacious alternative to the middle of town with spectacular views of the city to boot.
With 408 rooms there’s it’s big, and yet somehow manages not to feel it. While the hotel may be geared in part towards the business traveller - with a number of meeting rooms available -its size affords it a list of bonuses some of its smaller city centre counterparts may miss out on. Should it tickle your fancy there’s an in-house gym, Finnish sauna, bio sauna, ice fountain and massage room - just the ticket after a day pounding the city streets.
Choose a room with a city view and you won’t be disappointed. Our suite afforded us a breathtaking sunset across the river and city - something you certainly won’t find elsewhere in town - while the twinkling lights of the city unfolding beneath meant once the sun went down, the view was equally as pretty. Sustainability is high on the agenda at Mövenpick and not only did the luxuriously comfortable king size bed come with organic, fair-trade linen, but the bathroom is full of eco-friendly toiletries. Sustainability projects are tailored to each local hotel, but given it’s a global chain it’s reassuring to know that they’re doing their part to help the environment and make their guests more conscious.
With a welcome gift of Mövenpick chocolate and jam, a well-stocked minibar (of course featuring Heineken…), on-demand movies and an envious room service menu, you’d be forgiven for spending a night in, revelling in the bathtub and ordering dinner from the kitchen which, after an extremely drizzly Saturday walking miles on end and getting soaked to the bone, I admittedly thoroughly enjoyed. Needless to say the bathrobe and slippers provided were certainly utilised.
The latest development to ensure the perfect night’s sleep was introduced to the hotel earlier this year with its new ‘Sleep Individually Different’ concept. Luxury beds and customised rooms have adopted the latest innovations in technology to help you personalise your environment, creating the optimal conditions for a deep sleep. In the most quiet areas of the hotel, the rooms feature a unique YouBed with with adjustable firmness of the mattress, Philip Stein’s Natural Frequency Technology built in the bed for an enhanced sleeping experience, high quality pillows, duvets absorbing and releasing humidity, blackout curtains, earplugs, eye mask, blackout stickers to cover electronic devices and a copy of Arianna Huffington’s book “The Sleep Revolution”. With little extras including lavender sachets to place on your pillow and herbal teas, they really have thought of everything to ensure you have the perfect night’s sleep, all the better for saving up your energy ready for the inevitable miles you’ll be walking around the city.
The hotel’s Silk Road restaurant offers a seasonal a la carte menu, heavily influenced by the brand’s Swiss roots. My Friday night supper involved a delicious roasted goat’s cheese on a potato rosti (a menu staple…) followed by a simple, yet fulfilling, linguine Alfredo with plenty of parmesan. With other dishes ranging from the likes of baked salmon and spinach and ricotta ravioli to Zurich-style veal and a beef tartare there’s plenty of choice, though as bad luck would have it the local friend who joined me for dinner was vegan which proved a little more difficult. Luckily the kitchen was incredibly accommodating, with the chef whipping up a little something off-menu to satisfy his fussy palate.
Breakfast is a more laid-back affair, with a buzzing breakfast buffet back in the Silk Road’s main dining room. It can get pretty busy given the number of hotel guests, so it’s worth bearing in mind that an Executive Room grants access to a separate, smaller dining room with a slightly more relaxed vibe in which to enjoy a leisurely continental breakfast. Be sure to indulge in the Dutch tradition of chocolate hagelslag (sprinkles) on toast. When in Rome… it might seem lie breakfast for a five year old but trust me, you won’t regret it.
While on the subject of food and drink, the Executive Lounge also offers complimentary beverages and light snacks in the early evening, while the Silk Bar on the ground floor has a fairly extensive cocktail menu and a decent array of whiskies to try before hitting the town. It’s also worth noting there’s a great bar on the river just across the road from the hotel, dripping in fairy lights and calling out for a balmy summer evening tipple.
Tempting as it may be to book a city centre something for your summer stay, you’ll be missing out. Amsterdam’s Mövenpick outpost is worth a visit for the views alone, but with the new SLEEP rooms starting at just €115 per night, it’s a small price to pay for a perfect night’s sleep and a spectacular city sunrise.
For more information and to book visit www.movenpick.com