Hotel Reviews, Shopping
October 27th, 2009
As with every city I visit (and now reside in), I’m always curious about the hotels and moreover, which one will provide the best overall recommendation for friends and family. Of course, all travelers are different and recommendations are best when tailored. For instance, I would never think of suggesting a hotel without a gym for my Dad nor one without excellent decor and service for my Mom, but either way, I always like to have a set ‘go-to’ suggestion for each city.
I liken my hotel recommendation hunt to that of my apartment hunt – you’ll never find a spot that satisfies all of your top desires, so in the end you pick and choose, prioritize and then determine the one non-negotiable. For me, its always been about location. I’d rather suffer so-so design in order to be right, smack in the area of town that I favor. I won’t bore you with my long held ‘one should live where he/she wants to wake up on Saturday mornings” adage and instead treat you to a brief peak at my favorite neighborhood in Amsterdam (NB: It’s only been 3 weeks so it’s clearly subject to change):
This grid of nine short streets between the three main canals are a bastion of charm with boutiques, vintage and second-hand clothing shops, tiny cafes and restaurants with curbside dining and specialty stores like the cheese shop whose pungent fragrance and vast selection makes me oh so happy to be living in Europe. So far, I have strolled the streets for window shopping purposes only and to my surrpise, have remained quite content. Okay, I lie. There may have been two shops where I fell victim:
Stocked with over 100 different wrapping papers, Italian stationery and delicate bound journals from Japan, I simply couldn’t resist. As they advertise, if you love the handrwitten note, you can’t go wrong here. I agreed!
This sleek European home accessories store is run by two men who handpick each element of their heavily Italian influenced inventory. From Missoni robes to Culti bed linen, the offerings beg to be caressed while the affable owners are eager to share their knowledge and design suggestions. They even do consulting for home decor. Also, this November the store is releasing it’s own, brand new label of high quality bed linen. With over 350-count fine Egyptian cotton and packaged in its own embroidered laundry bag, the duvet and pillow set offers refined style and chic comfort. After all, both owners use it at home.
So, with the desired neighborhood in check I got back to work (ehem, I’m a hotel reviewer) and did a quick search of the area hotels whose amenities (okay, number of stars) were up to snuff. Right away I came up with these two well-known favorites:
I must admit, I was more keen to find some off-the beaten path options, but pressed for time (there were incoming visitors), I needed to act fast.
I must admit, from the websites alone, there wasn’t much competition. One of the two (The Dylan) appeared far more to my liking. However, buoyed by positive reviews from Dutch friends and family, I kept Hotel Pulitzer in contention.
Individual reviews to come…