Fodor's Expert Review Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 197, Amsterdam, North Holland 1012EX, The Netherlands See on Map Fodor's Choice
If the walls of this historic hotel in the Old Center could talk, they’d have six centuries’ worth of tales to tell. Stories about the building’s beginnings as a 14th-century convent. About its elevation to become royal lodgings, and later the grand headquarters of the Admiralty of Amsterdam. And certainly, they would gush about former Queen Beatrix’s wedding here in the 1960s, when the building was Amsterdam’s city hall. Now one of the city’s best deluxe hotels, Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam won 13 prestigious awards in 2016 alone, including “Best Luxury City Hotel Europe” at the World Luxury Hotel Awards, “Best Historical Luxury Hotel Global” at the Haute Grandeur Global Awards and “The Netherlands’ Leading Hotel” at the World Travel Awards.
Architect Sybille de Margerie’s understated design underlines original architectural details with classic French elegance and modern flourishes referencing the famous people who’ve passed through, including William of Orange, Maria de Medici, Henry Hudson and Winston Churchhill (some line-up, eh?). There are 177 well-sized rooms, including 10 interconnecting rooms, 52 suites with butler service and 12 Canal House suites--all richly decorated in soft beiges, lilacs, and creams with mahogany, marble and steel.
In one word: wow! These are some lovely bathrooms. Super spacious, with walk-in rain showers and luxurious Hermès bath products. In the suites, you’ll find wet rooms with bath tubs and built-in TVs.
High arched ceilings and a perfectly symmetrical marble floor are all remnants of a very grand past, and fantastic floral arrangements are a nod to the Netherlands’ still-flourishing flower trade. The adjacent Library 'Or' has an extensive collection of books about local culture, architecture, and style.
To take some of Holland’s best and most beautiful blooms home with you, visit the on-site Floral Boutique (a florist to the King, no less!), which also stocks an assortment of fashionable vases and personalized gift baskets.
There's a heated in-door swimming pool with jetstream and Jacuzzi, and an adjacent sauna and Turkish steam bath.
Enjoy a body toning treatment, anti-aging facial or one of the many other spa treatments featuring premium products from Carita, Cinq Mondes and Soin Sublime by Marisa Berenson at the 350m2 So Spa.
A small fitness room is equipped with Technogym equipment and a Kinesis Training System.
With views of the oldest canal in Amsterdam and stunning art by revered Dutch CoBrA artist Karel Appel, stylish seafood restaurant Bridges has won many fans as well as a Michelin Star and numerous awards, including “Best Luxury Seafood Restaurant Europe” at the World Luxury Restaurant Awards and “Best Culinary Experience Netherlands” at the Haute Grandeur Awards. The best hotel breakfast in the city (we think) is also served here, with a more-than-generous buffet offering and a la carte options including Belgian waffles, Norwegian eggs, and dim sum (yes, really!).
Adjacent, you’ll find Le Petit Bistro, which serves modern interpretations of French bistro classics, as well as the Food Bar, where free oysters are served every Friday night from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. The Grand Afternoon Tea−highly recommended!−is served in the Library ‘Or’ or the serene Amsterdam School style garden terrace, weather permitting. On Sundays in the summer, there’s also jazzy live music in the courtyard garden.
YOU SHOULD KNOW Dining at The Grand may melt your credit card, but it’s absolutely worth it. Clearly, this much class comes at a cost.
There are bountiful ways to imbibe at The Grand, from a cigar lounge to a vinothèque and cocktail bar, and there’s even a traditional Dutch brown café, The Flying Dutchman with its own outside terrace.
Located just outside the famous Red Light District in the Old Centre, this hotel offers good access to all the major tourist sites and the east side on foot. Subway access is available at Nieuwe Hoogstraat (Nieuwmarkt station) but Centraal Station is only a 10-minute walk away. Tram 24 at Het Spui (4-minute walk) provides easy access to the Museum District and trams 4, 9 and 14 to the rest of the city.
When you’re at Sofitel Legend The Grand, there’s really no reason to leave, but if you’re in the mood for modern European bistro food in a sleek setting adjacent to Amsterdam’s oldest church, opt for Restaurant Anna (6-minute walk). Another incredible purveyor of bistronomy is Gebr. Hartering (13-minute walk). Or, if you’re so inclined, try the green herb-encrusted suckling pig cutlet with pearl barley and prune sauce at Dutch food specialist Greetje right across the street from Gebr. Hartering.
One of Amsterdam’s latest cocktail bars, Rosalia’s Menagerie (4-minute walk) is a whimsical Wunderkammer with weird and wonderful cocktails. Or if it’s old world charm you’re after, Café de Sluyswacht (7-minute walk) has been around since 1695, when it was a lock-keeper’s cottage. Today, it offers pretty views of Oude Schans canal, local beer, and bitterballen (a typical Amsterdam bar snack).
WHY WE LIKE IT
“Life is magnifique” is The Grand’s motto, and everything here is very magnificent indeed. Situated in the oldest part of the city, with majestic rooms, faultless service, awe-inspiring architecture and a small but perfectly formed spa, it’s a full-on five star experience all-round. Plus, the dining is excellent, from an extravagant breakfast to superb seafood at an award-winning fine dining restaurant.
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