Weekend trips are becoming increasingly popular, providing the perfect escape from hectic work schedules without using too many of those precious holiday days. City breaks are always a great way to explore and experience the culture, almost ‘dipping one’s toe’ in without having to fully commit to a longer trip.
Amsterdam is a fantastic City for a Weekend break, just a short 1 hour (or less..!) flight from London, which is quicker than most of our commutes! As I found on our return, with only a 1 hour time difference, you often land back in the UK before you took off…
It’s not a big City, with a calmness unlike any capital I have experienced. You could put this down to the legality of a well known substance (!!), but I would say its more a result of the Dutch culture, very laid-back and relaxed. The picturesque canals, narrow roads and abundance of bikes adds to the serenity and you can easily spend half a day just exploring the various cobbled side-streets.
We were very fortunate to be invited to the grand re-opening of the Hotel Pulitzer, a historic hotel located in the heart of the vibrant Nine Streets shopping district. The Hotel has been newly renovated and consists of 25 connected ‘Golden Age’ canal houses, the ‘Tardis’ of hotels with maze like corridors that open up to impressive heigh ceiling rooms and stunning architecture.
The interiors were a personal highlight, with a modern yet old-World feel about the place. The redesign project was led by Jacu Strauss, a protege of the well renowned Tom Dixon, and master of the interiors at the Mondrian in London.
Jacu kindly showed us around his masterpiece and gave an insight into the level of thought and detail that had gone into the redesign – a truly huge project. From each piece of furniture to the raw materials used, there was a story to be told. Impressively every decision was made with the building’s heritage and previous existence in mind and although very new on the surface, there was a definite feel that this was an homage to older times.
The bedrooms are each unique in their own way, all modern with the ultimate in comfy beds and small creative touches – ours had a traditional Dutch bike hanging from the ceiling amongst the exposed beams! The bathrooms are a real stand out, from the marble floors and surfaces to the rain shower, something I wish we had at home!
Whilst every bedroom is special, the suites at the Hotel Pulitzer are quite something. Each has been meticulously designed and is an experience in itself. From the Book Collector’s suite with its archway made up of famous old novels, to the Antique Collectors suite with its age old rugs and antique furniture; all of the suites have a certain level of charm in their own unique way.
The ‘piece de resistance’ however has to be the Pulitzer Suite. Immediately my first thoughts were it has to be one of the most photogenic rooms I’ve ever come across, somewhat feminine with it’s pink theme and marble throughout, none the less stunning in every way. The huge gable style windows look out onto the canals and bring in the perfect amount of natural light – a bloggers dream when it comes to flat-lays! Another highlight of this room is the traditional free-standing Victorian copper bath, perfect for relaxing after a day of exploring the City.
Aside from the stunning interiors the Hotel Pulitzer is also incredibly well located. The lively Nine Streets are on the doorstep, perfect for shopping and exploring the various boutiques and the ‘must see’ Anne Frank’s House and Van Gogh Museum are also within a 10 minute walk.
Originally a recommendation from a friend who used to live in Amsterdam, Coffee & Coconuts are masters of brunch. It’s set in an old 1920’s converted cinema with a warm, lively atmosphere, not dissimilar to an East London coffee shop. The high ceilings, farmhouse style tables and hanging wall plants all make for a stand out interior and the food matches this, with a menu full of creative breakfasts/brunches.
We stumbled across this breakfast spot whilst exploring the City and its nestled just off the main streets, a definite hidden gem. Bakers & Roasters is a New Zealand style cafe, located within the De Pijp neighbourhood. A more rustic vibe, they are well-know in Amsterdam amongst coffee lovers, with many suggesting their coffee to be the best in the City. Even if coffee isn’t your tipple its well worth a visit with some scrumptious breakfasts on offer.
Simply put, Foodhallen is a better version of Brixton village, based in an old Tram shed. The building itself is vast, high ceilings, lots of glass and a very warehouse vibe, filled with at least 40 stalls all serving up the finest in street food cuisine. The food range is quite incredible with everything from gourmet burgers, Vietnamese to Peruvian style tapas and cheese fondu!
Foodhallen is a great place for a relaxed lunch and I would recommend sharing a few plates from a couple of your favourite looking stalls, much more sociable and the perfect way to explore new flavours.
Jansz is the main restaurant at the Hotel Pulitzer and I could not recommend it highly enough. With a focus on modern classics with a Dutch influence, food is freshly prepared and executed to a very high standard. When it comes to the menu it’s a tough decision with so many delicious dishes on offer, I would recommend flipping a coin – a euro naturally! For a starter you can’t go far wrong with the Diver Scallops, fresh and melt in the mouth, served in a pea puree.
For the main event I would recommend either the Reypenaer Burger or the Lobster Risotto, both absolute triumphs and oh-so photogenic.
To finish things off there are so many options; we stumped for sharing a couple of desserts and both were perfection. I’m a big cheesecake fan and the NY Cheesecake with pistachio sorbet was delicious, one of the best cheesecakes I’ve had in a long time. The Chocolate Cake with Salted Caramel Sauce and Almond Crumble was also incredibly moorish.
Where are your favourite places to visit for short breaks?