What’s not to love about Amsterdam’s quirky culture and captivating canal-front locale, or Basel’s bustling shopping and arts scene set at the crossroads of French, German, and Swiss borders? Oh yeah, that one major budget buzzkill: An utterly unforgiving dollar-to-Euro conversion rate, or, worse yet, the excruciating dollar-to-Swiss franc exchange.
Happily, two empathetic upscale hotels—The Dylan in Amsterdam and the Swissotel Le Plaza in Basel—have created two tempting packages that represent savings of up to 30 percent, just for Fodor’s readers!
Up to 30% Off: Exclusive Package at Amsterdam Boutique Hotel, The Dylan
The Digs: Perfectly polished and delightfully unpretentious, The Dylan comes unassumingly tucked away in a historic, 17th-century canal-front building. Before being completely reinvented as a stylish boutique property in 1990, the building served former stints as a theater (where Vivaldi once performed) and a Catholic almshouse.
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Forty individually designed rooms feature contemporary design schemes (some are Asian-inspired), with hand-painted colors and sleek lines. Try the white-and-beige "Kimono" units (four come with canal views), or the copper-toned, butterfly-inspired "Loxura" rooms. All units come outfitted with Bose systems (with iPod hookup), free WiFi, laptop safes, Frette bathrobes, and Zenology bath amenities.
The property is also the setting for a duo of bar/lounges, a courtyard garden oasis, a fitness room, and two restaurants: the Michelin-starred Vinkeles, serving contemporary French cuisine, and the recently debuted Brasserie OCCO, showcasing seasonal ingredients and comfort cuisine.
The Deal: The Dylan’s "Lunch in the City" package includes two-night accommodations in a luxury double room; buffet breakfast; a Lunch Plate (a tasting of four small dishes) at the new Brasserie OCCO; an in-room tulip arrangement; and, just for Fodor’s readers, a one-day bicycle rental to explore the city like a local (an extra $62 value)—all valid for two guests. Rates for the two-night package represent close to a 30 percent savings, and start at $907 for stays in September and October, and from $808 for stays in November and December.
18% Off: Fodor’s-Only Deal at Swissôtel Le Plaza in Basel
The Digs: A Basel mainstay since the mid-80s, the Swiss city’s largest property, Swissôtel Le Plaza—a pioneer property for the rapidly expanding luxury Swissôtel brand—owes its continued popularity to its regular renovations (all guest units, excluding suites, were fully revamped in ’09), and a particularly polite and polished staff.
The 238 spacious, contemporary rooms (billed as the largest in town), come tastefully designed with modern furnishings, including a large working desk, seating area, and plush bed (complete with a complimentary pillow menu), drenched in white, blue, and golden hues, and trimmed with black-and-white photography. Amenities include a tea/coffeemaker, minibar, personal safe, and bathroom equipped with rain shower heads and Swiss-brand amenities from Pürovel.
A sleek lobby sitting area, anchored on a roaring fireplace; adjacent lobby Ô Bar, serving up cocktails, wines, and snacks; and the Grill25 eatery, specializing in grilled steaks and fish, comprise the hotel’s social hubs. Downstairs, a Pürovel Sportfitness area comes complete with a sauna, steamroom, and relaxation area; spa treatments can also be arranged. The hotel’s connecting Europcar car rental agency and an on-site partnership with a local Segway tour company round out the offerings.
Well-located in the city center, the hotel is a favorite with convention visitors, thanks to its direct link to the adjoining Basel Congress Centre (though note ongoing construction on the center is scheduled through spring 2013).
The Deal: Fodor’s readers get two nights’ weekend accommodations in a classic room, breakfast, one-day museums passes, transportation cards (valid for use on all city public transit for the duration of guests’ stays), and entrance vouchers for the nearby Bar Rouge nightclub. Rates start at $556 for two nights, for two guests, and represent an 18 percent discount. Note that the promo is only valid for Friday through Sunday stays through December 28, 2012 (note the weekend of October 26-28 is blacked out).
Photo courtesy: The Dylan Amsterdam; Swissôtel Le Plaza Basel