The Hotel Ambassade (www.ambassade-hotel.nl) sits demurely on the edge of the Herengracht Canal, the gentlemen’s canal. The hotel occupies ten seventeenth century canal houses, all tied together and renovated but retaining their historic character.
It’s a hotel I would come back to in a heartbeat. It is situated within easy walk of the flower market on the Singel, it’s not very far from the ‘Dam Square, and it’s close to the tram which can take you all over the city with ease.
Even though it is in the middle of the city, the hotel is quiet, its public rooms serene and inviting. The first thing you notice when you enter – okay, the first thing I notice – is the art. On every wall is a significant and arresting work, including a large Karel Appel in the main foyer. It is the private collection of the owner, and the pieces are scattered throughout the hotel. It gives the feel of a private home.
The hallways and staircases are winding and circuitous, but there is an elevator for those who might find the stairs a challenge.
Rooms are large, the beds are excellent and the bathrooms, with marble countertops, heated marble floors and large bath/showers are luxurious. Our room overlooked the canal. Just watching the action on the water – boats of every kind and size passing, interesting occupants – was entertainment.
There’s complimentary wi-fi in the rooms, and breakfast is served in a light-filled, cream paneled room that also looks out on the canal.
Probably the most interesting thing about the Ambassade, aside from its obvious comforts, is the library. The Herengracht Canal has been the home of Dutch publishing houses for a long time, and almost every author who stayed in Amsterdam for a book launch or a signing, or when his book has been translated into Dutch, has traditionally stayed at the Ambassade.
Somehow the tradition began of each author leaving behind a signed copy of his books, and so the library now boasts over 1,800 volumes, all signed by the authors. I was thrilled to find books by Frank McCourt, V.S. Naipaul, Jay McInerney, Rohinton Mistry and Mordecai Richler.
This genteel hotel in the heart of Amsterdam was the perfect place for us to begin our journey.
1016 AZ Amsterdam
Phone: + 31 20 555 0 222