Overlooking the Keizersgracht canal in an area known as the Notting Hill of Amsterdam, this five-star, 40-room hotel fits in perfectly with the surrounding chic shops, cobbled streets and historic houses. Labyrinthine corridors and exposed wood beams hint at The Dylan’s past. It was home to Amsterdam’s first theatre; composer Vivaldi conducted his orchestra here in the 18th century. Around 100 years later it became an orphanage and soup kitchen run by the Catholic Church (check out the bread ovens from those days in the Michelin-starred Vinkeles restaurant) before offering a rather more luxurious form of hospitality in 1999.
We forsake High Wine (their famous take on high tea) for lunch at the Brasserie. My ravioli filled with tangy gorgonzola and sweet pear with a chestnut sauce was spot on, while the boyf’s generous perfect squares of club sandwich with fries was just as it should be – although too much for him to finish. We didn’t have room for dessert (and I usually like something sweet to feel satisfied). The Monday to Friday two-course lunch menu (£27) is good value, too.
There’s everything you could want for breakfast from a full buffet and a hot menu which includes traditional English and American. Plus, service is slick (in a city not known for good service).
Award-winning design duo FG-Style have respected the hotel’s Anouska Hempel heritage of luxurious-yet-minimalist detail. Each no-expense-spared room is individually designed. We admired the beautifully lit, spacious marble bathroom with its freestanding bath and built-in make-up area and the gorgeous drinks cabinet with its pretty mother-of-pearl and jade handle.
Who Goes There?
Mariah Carey stayed in a loft room overlooking the courtyard and took a private cruise in the hotel’s own boat; Notting Hill resident Annie Lennox has also stayed; plus Paris Hilton and a number of other A-listers. The bar is a popular hang-out for musicians after concerts. We noticed a number of local families and couples in the restaurant and bar area (around 40 per cent of the hotel’s guests are Dutch).
Out & About:
The Dylan is a stroll away from the city’s highlights; including the Anne Frank house, flower market, Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum and the Hermitage. Visit the Anne Frank house later in the day (it’s open until 9pm or 10pm in the summer) when it’s less busy and book tickets for the Van Gogh Museum through the hotel to avoid the long pay-on-entry queue. Explore the chic shopping area ‘de negen straatjes’ for galleries, boutiques, bars and eateries. I loved trendy brasserie Cafe George and buzzy Palladium.
The Best Thing:
The hotel has pulled off style and comfort while respecting its history.
The Worst Thing:
You need to be fit. Our room had a narrow flight of stairs between our bathroom and bedroom.
Stay at The Dylan in a double room from €325 (£269) per room per night, excluding five per cent city tax and breakfast. Breakfast costs €28 per person.
High Wine for £32.72 (€39.50) per person at The Dylan is the hotel’s unique take on High Tea. Available every day between 3pm and 7pm, High Wine features a selection of four different wines from the cellar, accompanied by four different amuse-style bites, selected by The Dylan’s executive chef Dennis Kuipers.