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.
Le Quartier Sonang Rating: 3.5 Pearls
This historical hotel in a building with rich shipping history is an upscale stay with canal views in the city center, but also earns its rates with a full spa, indoor pool, and high-end (though pricey) dining options. Large rooms with soaring ceilings are mostly modern but do incorporate some ornate details that recall the building's past (especially in the suites); free minibars are a nice extra. The location at the top of the Old Center, within walking distance of Centraal Station, can't be beat. Travelers who appreciate those places where history, architecture, and luxury come together will appreciate everything here. It's also the only luxury hotel in the city with an Amsterdam-based parent company; it doesn't get more Dutch than this.
Boutique B&B Kamer01 Rating: 4.5 Pearls
There's little to find fault with at the Boutique B&B Kamer01. It's set in a beautifully renovated 16th-century Amsterdam townhouse in the heart of the Canal Ring, and serves a five-course champagne breakfast each morning overlooking a picturesque neighborhood scene (it's clear why the Canal Ring is on the Unesco World Heritage List). The three rooms are sumptuously furnished and equipped with DVD libraries and iMacs, while bathrooms come complete with designer toilets and luxury Korres toiletries. While guests can pay a similar price for luxury hotel with much more in the way of facilities, such as the nearby Hotel Pulitzer, many prefer the boutique intimacy and meticulous attention to detail offered here.
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.
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.
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.
Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht Rating: 5.0 Pearls
The 122-room boutique Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht is a hip, luxe, "art hotel" with design by Dutch art director Marcel Wanders. The hotel sits in a quiet area between the picturesque Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht canals, and brings Dutch history and culture inside with its design and architectural choices. Guests are not nickel-and-dimed but benefit from free happy hour and minibar offerings in awesome modern surroundings. Add in the gourmetBluespoon restaurant, and the Andaz Amsterdam is a destination in itself.
WestCord Fashion Hotel Amsterdam Rating: 4.0 Pearls
The 10-floor WestCord Fashion Hotel Amsterdam lives up to its name with stylish interiors and fashion-inspired accents. The guest rooms have plush beds, free Wi-Fi, and flat-screen TVs. Unlike many Amsterdam hotels, the WestCord has a swimming pool, which is located indoors and long enough for a lap at 45 feet (albeit a bit on the narrow side). The excellent array of facilities also includes a fitness center, spa, and Skyy Bar with lovely views of Amsterdam from the 10th floor. The hotel's location at the south end of the Rembrandtpark is not ideal for tourists, at nearly two miles from the Rijksmuseum, but prices are more affordable than similarly rated hotels in central Amsterdam.
Hotel Notting Hill Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Designed to be a slice of London in Amsterdam -- from its understated modern design to leafy views -- Hotel Notting Hill completes the ruse with its "Brasserie Londen" restaurant, which serves a proper English afternoon tea. The rooms have chic, black-and-white decor and upscale amenities, even if layouts are somewhat small and basement and attic rooms lack views. In warmer months, the scene along its canal-side terrace help compensate for those rooms' quirks. The location is good for tourists who want to experience central, canal-side Amsterdam without staying in the busiest, tourist-packed parts of the city, but the hotel may be more ideal for business travelers looking for a high-end stay with a fitness room near the southern business district.
Hotel V Nesplein Rating: 4.0 Pearls
Hotel V Nesplein is an upscale, mid-century modern-style boutique hotel on a picturesque, residential street in Amsterdam's theater district. Its restaurant and bar are popular with locals, adding to the vibrant, authentic Amsterdam atmosphere that pervades the family-owned hotel. It's in an ideal spot for couples who want to explore the city center on foot, as it's within walking distance of most major attractions, but it doesn't have its own parking and the area's heavy traffic can be overwhelming. The loft-style rooms have a hip, industrial-style luxury that's more popular with younger guests; rooms in the back are the only ones that can be guaranteed to be quiet. A more mid-range sister property, Hotel V Frederiksplein, is a bit farther from the city center, but is nearly as stylish and has a free breakfast.
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.
Hotel Fita Rating: 2.5 Pearls
An intimate, 15-room hotel in a four-floor building, Hotel Fita offers a superb location one block from the Stedelijk and Van Gogh Museum and two blocks from the Rijksmuseum. Rooms are simple but thoughtfully put together, and come with free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. The Fita offers an ample free breakfast featuring Dutch pancakes, but lacks the facilities of nearby hotels such as the Marriott. A stay here is a good choice for travelers who want a simple affordable stay, with ready access to the museums and the tram a block away.