Travel Inspiration By A Pro Trip Designer

Amsterdam

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):

9 Straatjes (Nine Streets).

map of the 9 streets

I borrowed this photo from another blogger Lizzy whose website is fantastic and a great source for me. Thanks Lizzy!

map and current day shot of the 9 streets (courtesy of Lizzie)

Timageshis 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:

1. CORTINA PAPIER.

The exterior

The exterior

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!images-4

2. BUTLER’S

The tempting storefront

The tempting storefront

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:

The Dylan

The famous Dylan Courtyard

The famous Dylan Courtyard

and the Hotel Pulitzer

Hotel Pulitzer's private canal dock
Hotel Pulitzer’s private canal dock

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…


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Posted in: Hotel Reviews, Shopping

Published by Meg, Tuesday, October 27, 2009 No Comments

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About Meg

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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.