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Intercontinental Amstel, Amsterdam

Jamie Bolton-Debbage is given a warm welcome at Amsterdam's palatial Intercontinental Amstel

The Credentials:

Since opening in 1867, this luxury Amsterdam hotel has been revered around the world for its palatial grandeur and warmth. Noteworthy features include the Michelin-starred restaurant La Rive overlooking the Amstel River, crystal chandeliers hanging in the Amstel Lounge, and a 15 metre heated indoor pool.

As we travelled along the streets with our tightly packed suitcases I realised that the temperature was dropping. This being my first visit to Amsterdam, I was delighted to receive a warm welcome on approaching the vast Intercontinental building stacked with 19th century formality. The friendly concierge staff took our bags, keen to show us our room and inform us how the building adjoined the famous river Amstel.

The long, deeply carpeted corridors of the building are comforting and in the basement there is an installed health and fitness cub with a swimming pool, steam bath and sauna.


The famous A bar seemed to be the only area dedicated to modernity and ‘Dutchness’ in the building. Its chandeliers are shaped into blue tulips, the signature Dutch flower, and the bar served a range of Dutch beers as well as the ubiquitous cocktails.

There are other, more traditional restaurants as well; the Amstel Brasserie’s versatile menu covers some accomplished fish dishes, such as marinated mackerel and albacore tuna. The La Rive restaurant possesses a Michelin star, no less.

The breakfast menus are extensive and well thought-out, with an array of egg and omelette choices and—of course—traditional Dutch pancakes. The Royal Breakfast serves salmon and caviar with a glass of Moet et Chandon.


With a rococo theme and red wallpaper, the executive room did not disappoint. The décor screamed luxury; the lifts were even fitted with chaise longues and portraits of pre-revolution French monarchs.

The bed was large, as was the bathroom, and if you’re lucky you will receive a window view of the canal, though unfortunately that was not the case for us. Despite the large number of rooms on each floor, once inside each you feel you have optimum privacy.

Who goes there?

A-list celebrities seeking a quiet spot and people who are looking for a very formal, classic setting; the well-dressed and those who indulge at breakfast.

Out and about:

Although it is a quiet area, as soon as you stroll over the Amstel a lot of central nighttime hotspots are at your disposal, such as Rembrandt Square, which originally hosted a dairy market but is now a hub for the young people of the city.

The fashion district is also within walking distance, albeit in the other direction, as is the Van Gogh Museum and Royal Carre Theatre. If you are not a fan of walking there are tram services or, for the truly lazy, a funky bar just across the road to spend your evening in.

The worst thing:

For me it was a little out of the way of the swathe of main attractions in the city, but this is just nitpicking.

The best thing:

The concierge team/porters outside were very humble, helpful and made a great first impression. There is also some fantastically opulent décor.


Rooms from ‎€489, additional ‎€65 for breakfast.

Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam, Professor Tulpplein 1, 1018 GX Amsterdam, Netherlands; +31 (0)20 622 60 60; amstel@ihg.com