Conservatorium Hotel Rating: 5.0 Pearls
The 129-room Conservatorium Hotel delivers a true five-pearl experience in Amsterdam's residential Museum Quarter. It's housed in a 100-year-old former bank building, and the hotel's warm, modern design melds seamlessly with the structure; the stunning atrium lobby, for example, is industrial-chic, featuring wood, brick, and glass. The rooms are decorated in earthy neutrals and every detail was considered, from the placement of the electrical outlets to the reading lights by the bed to the high-tech controls for the lighting and blinds; some rooms have duplex layouts and exposed structural beams. Bathrooms are gorgeous, with rainfall showerheads, stone tile, LCD mirror TVs and micro cotton towels. The big, modern fitness center, stylish indoor pool, and lovely spa, all located below ground, are highlights. It's a premier choice for luxury travelers looking to trade a central location for added space and quiet.
Canal House Rating: 4.5 Pearls
Canal House Hotel is a sumptuous 23-room boutique hotel towering above a canal in Amsterdam's Canal Ring district. The lovely brick front suggests something more traditional, but the interior is flashy and fashionable. Swanky rooms are arguably Amsterdam's most luxurious, and are decked out with rich purple fabrics and dark woods. More modest travelers might have an issue with the open layouts of some room types, though parts of the bathroom are enclosed. Throughout, bathrooms feature gorgeous tiling and modern basin sinks; many have soaking tubs as well as walk-in showers with rainfall showerheads. The Great Room, an upscale lounge and dining space, gives guests access to books and games, and the hotel itself is only minutes away from canal tours, shopping, and local eateries.
The Dylan Amsterdam Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The Dylan is a stylish, upscale boutique centrally located in the Canal Ring. The 41 rooms are split into six different styles, ranging from lofts with cathedral ceilings to all-white rooms to Asian-inspired spaces. All rooms have high-end amenities including Bose sound systems, stocked minibars, and Zenology toiletries. A cozy lounge, two bars, and a lovely courtyard with heat lamps are all draws, but the real highlight here is the Michelin-star Vinkeles restaurant, which serves contemporary French cuisine in an exclusive space with just a handful of tables. While some rooms are quite small and rates are high year-round, the hotel does offer free Wi-Fi and some rooms have beautiful views overlooking the canals.
Ambassade Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Ambassade Hotel's lovely brick front is as inviting as its location in the picturesque (and convenient) Canal Ring neighorhood, across from a boat-lined canal. The hotel is tasteful and tidy, made up in classic Louis XV/XVI decor, though no area is the same in layout or appearance. The refined lobby features a shoeshine machine and umbrella collection for inclement weather. Rooms offer lovely views of the canal and cobblestone street and are adorned with rich furnishings, intricate mirrors, and carved furniture. Each room is different, and some charming suites have beamed, vaulted ceilings. The 58-room hotel features several amenities, including a Koan Float (which involves floating in saltwater in a stimuli-free capsule) and massage facilities. The breakfast room is classy with modern artwork, and the lovely tables are topped with bright yellow calla lilies. Guests have access to a cozy library and computer room, and business associates can make use of the conference room, though it's in another building.
The Toren Rating: 4.0 Pearls
This romantic boutique hotel near the Anne Frank House has historical significance: It was once used as a safe house in World War II. Today there are 38 rooms and suites ranging from smaller standard size, to more spacious deluxe size with Jacuzzi tubs and views of the garden or canal. For special occasions, guests can book one of the deluxe suites, bridal suites, or the "Garden Cottage," all which have double Jacuzzi tubs. Though each room is unique, they are decorated with the same sophisticated Toren touch combining rich hues, chandeliers, and ceiling paintings. Some have their own private terrace -- a nice perk for summer evening cocktails. For everyone else, there is a cozy bar on-site, and the hotel is affiliated with Christophe -- an acclaimed restaurant around the corner that delivers directly to guest rooms.
The College Hotel Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The 40-room College Hotel is a sensuous, intimate four-pearl option in the Museum Quarter. It is appropriately named -- not only because it is housed in a historic school building, but because most of the staff members are hospitality students in training. Features are few -- there's no fitness center or spa on-site -- but there is a popular Bar & Lounge with a fireplace where afternoon tea is served, as well as a fine dining restaurant. Though the public spaces wow with their sultry sophistication, rooms aren't quite as impressive, with cramped layouts, too few electrical outlets, and mood lighting that many find too dim to be practical. Note that third floor rooms have slanted ceilings -- homey to some, a nuisance to others.