Travel Inspiration By A Pro Trip Designer


October 28th, 2009

Okay, so its not exactly ‘off-the-beaten-path’ or an obscure find in the middle of the city, however, I still prefer to consider the Dylan Hotel in Amsterdam a Hideaway based on its size, setting and distinct style. With just 41 rooms, all totally different, and a tucked back location complete with intimate inner courtyard, the Dylan feels every bit the secret garden spot you covet right in the middle of the city.

The inner sanctum - the Dylan Courtyard is festooned with tall heatlamps in the cooler months

The inner sanctum - the Dylan Courtyard is festooned with tall heatlamps in the cooler months

Located on the Keizersgracht, not far from my beloved, 9 streets, with a layout conceived of conjoined canal houses, the Dylan appeals equally to business and leisure visitors.  Originally decorated by the notable Anouska Hempel of Blakes fame, the Dylan oozes sophistication and evident luxury (two things often elusive in Amsterdam). Her customary exuberance and fondness for bright silks are ever apparent and create an instant contrast from the old-world village feel of Amsterdam’s charming canal ring. As soon as you enter through the Dylan’s large iron gates and cross the marble threshold, it’s evident you’re somewhere else entirely.

Hempel's customary matching curtains and bedspread
Hempel’s customary matching curtains and bedspread

The guestrooms recall those of Blakes, particularly with their variance in color scheme and size, however the exposed canal-house bones (including slanted floors and narrow staircases) lend the rooms a distinctly warm tone.  Recently, the Dutch owners have started to move away from Hempel’s original decor, having hired a domestic design team to refashion both the Long Gallery area and a few guestrooms.  In an effort to make the property feel and look more “Dutch”, the Long Gallery (an elongated library space) now features contemporary lime green sofas and bright carpeting which strike a sharp contrast to the black walls.  The guestrooms have also been paired down a bit -the tower of silk pillows at the foot of the beds (a Hempel’s signature) have been removed along with some of the wall prints.  The designs for the new guestrooms are still in development but are promising a more “Amsterdam” character.

A fresh, tranquil Hempel room

A fresh, tranquil Hempel room

Fortunately, Hempel’s classic and sophisticated touch remains in the lobby and bar area with marble flooring, potted orchids and alternating crisp white and black walls. The Lounge exudes sleekness with curved couches surrounding a modern style fireplace while Bar Barbou features a classic wooden design that’s been entirely whitewashed. The restaurant, Vinkeles, enjoys a vaulted reputation for private events and though I’ve only had lunch and breakfast, serves consistent high-quality dishes (at a premium, of course).

I very much enjoyed my stay at the Dylan, though would have preferred a larger room. The superior doubles are not superior in terms of size and often suffer awkward layouts due to the historical buildings regulations. I would recommend that to truly enjoy your stay at the Dylan, it’s well worth it to book a suite.  Though quite expensive – the extra space, canal (or inner courtyard views) and plush comfort of a big bed and bathroom are exactly what you want after a day touring (and dodging bikes) in the wonderful Netherlands capital.

DON’T MISS: Poring through the Dylan’s library of fine-art and travel books. They have a partnership with Mendo, the bookstore around the corner and have fascinating books on display. It makes waiting for your partner infinitely easier.

SUGGESTED CHANGE: I find it slightly cheeky that they charge for breakfast when so many hotels in Europe offer it included. It has a bit of a sting after the high-rate of the room.

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Posted in: Hotel Reviews, Travel Tips

Published by Meg, Friday, October 30, 2009 No Comments

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About Meg


Meg is the founder of luxury travel consulting company, Friend of a Friend Consulting. Her three books, Italian Hideaways, Caribbean Hideaways and England's Hideaways are published by Rizzoli. Passionate about travel, hotels and wine, she continues to write freelance travel pieces and is currently pursuing a Masters in Wine through the WSET.

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The opinions expressed on this blog are solely my own and do not reflect separate business relationships with the subject. Whenever posts are supported financially, they are designated as such.