Pulitzer Amsterdam combines quintessential Dutch elegance in an intricate maze of 25 connecting Golden Age canal houses. After a full renovation, which completed in August 2016, this hidden neighborhood now features: intimate guest rooms, tranquil inner gardens, meeting and event spaces, a garden café, a hotel bar and a restaurant that serves simple yet beautifully crafted dishes. Pulitzer Amsterdam is a unique blend of up-market, traditional and modern Dutch craftsmanship hidden amongst the city’s iconic canals.
The main restaurant Jansz is a destination in itself. All dusk grey walls, marble tables and large sash windows. Recurring copper accents a nod to Volkert Jansz, a wealthy coppersmith who owned the building in the 17th century.
Dinner was faultless, the menu a mix of classic Dutch and pan-European dishes with international flavours tossed in for good measure. Each dish was brilliantly executed and service was impeccable.
Breakfast was a broad selection of warm a la carte dishes such as eggs benedict and French toast, alongside a sophisticated buffet selection ranging from pastries, quiches, cereals and fruit, to charcuterie and fish platters, and a full cheese board. There was a welcoming bottle of chilled Champagne for guests to help themselves to, alongside every type of juice or coffee one could wish for.
Food-wise, equally amazing, but service rather let itself down at this point. It took several attempts to summon a waiter, and with checkout looming, we’d almost given up hope by the time our eggs benedict arrived.
The hotel is comprised of 25 canal houses on the Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht, all dating from the 17th and 18th centuries.
We were given a room on a floor of its own, spacious, warm, with considered lighting, vaulted beamed ceilings and a tonal sapphire and aquamarine colourway. The whole hotel had a refurb earlier this year with esteemed interior designer Jacu Strauss at its helm.
The South African designer spent a night in each of the hotel’s 225 rooms before settling on a design strategy. This commitment to his craft can be seen both in the originality of his vision and the sensitivity to the history of these UNESCO-protected buildings. Original features feel integrated rather than at odds with the overall design, which I imagine looks more effortless than it was.
Every room is unique, but certain items worked so well they were re-commissioned throughout – every room comes equipped with the same polished walnut drinks cabinet and crystal glasses for example.
Who goes there?
Not too many Brits, which in Amsterdam is a Good Thing. There was a motley selection of upscale Europeans, a smattering of quiet, civilised Americans, and then, Chad and Ashley, from Tennessee.
For a minute I thought Chad was joking, about his name, his accent, everything – a grand satire of the all-American caricature.
But no. The loveliest couple you could hope to meet, been back every year for their anniversary, but wow. These guys. You couldn’t write this shit. Chad was evangelical about Trump, Ashley was just excited to be out of the US.
They were so astonished that anyone might not be overjoyed at the new President Elect, all they could do was wax delirious about the Brave New World to come. I honestly wasn’t sure whether to laugh or cry. But these guys were great. Everyone else at the hotel was also lovely, but, it’s once in a lifetime you meet people this different, and in a city so removed from either London or the political echo chamber that is Tennessee.
Out & about:
I’m confident in saying I found my new favourite café/ bar of all time. Super close to the hotel, Café tsmalle was so unbelievably perfect I dragged my poor compatriot there not once, but both afternoons we had to spare in the city.
The worst thing:
Perhaps the hotel’s size or popularity made the reception staff a little impersonal or offhand.
The best thing:
The Pharmacy room – an ode to apothecaries of yore, this beautifully lit installation of a space served as a second entrance to the Jansz restaurant.
The hotel’s classic canal boat dates from 1909 and is the ideal way to explore the city. The route took us on a pretty comprehensive tour, and with on-board refreshments and a beautifully turned out captain it’s definitely not to be missed.
The themed suites in the hotel were sadly booked up, but the Art suite looked incredible. The hotel understates its Pulitzer Prize credentials – its library features every Pulitzer prize winning book that ever was.
There’s also a beautiful florist in the slate grey double-height hotel entrance. Vast blooms of peonies and lilies merged with torrential rain pounding the canal, filling the air with the regenerative scent of pollen and petrichor.