Unashamedly glitzy. Surprisingly sophisticated. If W Amsterdam is a tale of two buildings, each with its own history and character, it’s certainly the interplay of personalities that keep things fresh here. The first Amsterdam location of the W hotel chain inhabits a former telephone exchange and early 20th-century National Heritage Site behind the Royal Palace, which used to be a bank. The design of the Exchange building uses an interesting interplay of lines to echo its connective past, while the Bank building merges the bank’s historic architectural features with a state-of-the-art spa and shop highlighting the best in contemporary Dutch design, fashion, and art.
The 172 rooms and suites in The Exchange building are modern and quite large by Amsterdam standards, with various design elements referencing Dutch culture and history, from pillows inspired by the window sills of canal houses to quirky wall illustrations by Piet Parra. In the Bank building, you’ll find 66 chic rooms and suites, featuring black and gold bedspreads and minibars inspired by the original bank vaults. All rooms are equipped with flat screen TVs and king-sized beds with 400 thread-count sheets, but some of the smaller rooms don’t have espresso makers.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The hallways in The Exchange building are quite dark, and the layout can be a bit confusing.
Bathrooms feature walk-in rain showers (some of which reference old telephone booths), as well as large concrete vanities and Bliss Spa amenities.
YOU SHOULD KNOW The bathroom vanities are placed in the bedroom in some rooms, with open-plan showers. Something to keep in mind if you’re sharing and shy.
Situated on the 6th floor of the Exchange Building, you’ll find a striking gold reception desk and a young staff eagerly trying to make W’s “Whatever/Whenever” promise possible, and the W Lounge, a gray glass-walled space with spectacular city views over the Royal Palace and gabled rooftops beyond. Plenty of copper piping (over 3 miles’ worth, apparently) and gold details on the windows pay tribute to the electricity lines and telephone wires that exchanged information when the Royal Dutch Post Building was based here. If the weather plays along, you can enjoy a cocktail on one of four outdoor terraces or in the 72-ft heated rooftop pool.
Downstairs, at Away Spa, you’ll find a beautiful anthracite-tiled heated swimming pool. There are also a whirlpool (out of order on two occasions we visited) and a hot tub, dry sauna and steam room. And, of course, there’s the rooftop WET deck overlooking the Royal Palace.
Situated in the former bank vault, Away Spa could easily have been too dim, yet thanks to luxe gold and grey touches, this low-lit space feels deliciously and darkly decadent instead.
The star treatment at this World Luxury Spa Awards Winner 2017 is the “Local: Private Experience for Two”, a romantic relaxation session that begins with a “refueling foot ritual” with Champagne, followed by a soothing body scrub, a 60-minute massage and an Anti-Ageing Diamond Café Facial in a couples’ room (€500 for 120 minutes).
Get in your daily dose of exercise – with canal views – at FIT, W Amsterdam’s 24-hour gym, which comes equipped with the latest Technogym equipment. Or sign up for a HIIT class.
W Amsterdam boasts a number of notable hospitality concepts, including The Butcher burger bar, Mad Fox club and X Bar, with its healthy juices and snacks. But The Dutchess restaurant and tearoom is certainly its grande dame, with its outstanding Belle Epoque interior with high stained glass ceilings and exquisite period ornaments and its Nouveau-Niçoise cuisine (do try the foie gras donuts). Meanwhile, Mr. Porter offers a modern take on a steakhouse with 360-degree rooftop views, and brilliant breakfasts and brunches too.
Sure, every city has a rooftop bar with spectacular vistas, an exclusive pool or buzzing scene, but W Amsterdam has all three. Whether you go for cocktails at W Lounge, the WET deck rooftop pool or Mr. Porter’s luxe lounge area, make sure you dress up, because it’s quite the scene.
With over 7,534 ft2 of Dutch design, fashion and art–from ultra-chrome print still lifes to quirky Clonette doll vases, penis print coffee mugs and Delft Blue dinosaurs–W Amsterdam’s hotel shop, X Bank is the place to melt your credit card.
Situated at the symbolic heart of Amsterdam, just behind Dam Square, W Amsterdam offers good access to pretty much everything. You’re minutes on foot from the main canals and Anne Frank House in one direction, and the Red Light District in the other. A tangle of trams nearby will take you to the Museum District or Centraal Station.
In an area rich with restaurants, it’s really a matter of what you fancy. For dinner, gastro-bistro Kaagman & Kortekaas (4-minute walk), which creatively combines traditional techniques with surprising ingredients, is a must for meat-lovers. Or head to zeitgeisty all-day eatery Libertine Café Café (7-minute walk) for New York-style Italian food in a moody, monochromatic setting. However, if all you can handle after all that airplane food is something simple and clean, get your ramen kick at Fou Fow Ramen (10-minute walk).
With over 50 wines by the glass, low-slung champagne bar Bubbles & Wines (4-minute walk) is an oenophile’s delight. For well-crafted cocktails with canal views, intimate fireplace nooks and an Art Deco-style bar, you can’t go wrong at Pulitzer’s Bar (5-minute walk).
WHY WE LIKE IT
Whether you’re looking for scenester glamour or somewhere chic to have high tea with your mother, W Amsterdam offers it all.