Set on the banks of the beautiful Amstel River, our favourite hotel this month is the exquisite and elegant De l’Europe, ideally situated in the heart of Amsterdam amongst the Dutch capital’s UNESCO World Heritage Site canals. A central location and a long, rich history have gained De l’Europe the title of the “other Royal Palace of Amsterdam”.
The hotel’s story begins in 1633, when the Het Rondeel inn was built on the foundations of a 15th century defense tower. Little changed for the next 200 years, until the hotel was completely remodeled in a Renaissance style, gaining an expansion and a new façade overlooking the Amstel River. In 1896, it was reopened under its current name as a true luxury hotel, including lavish features such as a toilet and bath on every floor. In more recent years, the hotel has continued to play a major part in Amsterdam’s history; in 1940 it featured as a location in Alfred Hitchcock’s film Foreign Correspondent, and during the Second World War it was occupied by German soldiers, shortly after which it underwent another renovation. In 2001, the hotel was designated a rijksmonument, a Dutch national heritage site.
The most recent overhaul was in 2010, which updated the hotel with modern comforts whilst preserving its timeless, classic elements. The newly renovated hotel has many charming, luxury features, such as a library and limousine service. With a private dining room and three world-class restaurants offering vegetarian, organic and halal options, there truly is something to suit all tastes. Over 1,000 fine wines are available from the hotel’s wine cellar, Les Caves de l’Europe and, if choosing proves a challenge, guests are welcome to learn about the selection through tastings, tours and interactive seminars. After dinner, guests can relax in one of two bars or Freddy’s Fumoir, the cigar bar, named after the late Alfred “Freddy” Heineken, whose personal Dutch masters collection is housed in the hotel.
Despite the hotel’s exquisite features, there is plenty of reason to venture outside; De l’Europe is just a stone’s throw from some of the city’s best attractions. To get a feel for Amsterdam’s history, visit the haunting Anne Frank House or Dam Square, home to the National Monument and overlooked by the Royal Palace. Key artistic sites include the Rembrandt Museum and the Rijksmuseum National Gallery, home to the world’s biggest and most significant collection of classic Dutch art. For a sensory treat, visit the Bloemenmarkt – the world’s only floating flower market – where you can see, smell and treat yourself to Dutch flowers – one of the Netherlands’ most renowned icons.