Amsterdam has far more to it than racy window displays and smoke-laced coffee shops; it’s lively and picturesque, with tree-lined canals weaving between historic townhouses, quirky boutiques and more bikes than you can poke a poffertje at.
Stay: A modern masterpiece, Conservatorium has crisply-designed suites, suspended staircases leading nowhere and a soaring glass atrium. Bike-tired muscles will be soothed by the luxury offerings at Akasha spa: Watsu sessions, private hammam treatments and a heavenly hot-seashell massage, for starters. To savour destination dining without leaving the hotel, Tunes Restaurant & Bar by Schilo is in the old part of the building and has an ambitious, eight-course tasting menu – with culinary whiz-bangs such as baked scallop with celeriac gel and caviar, and cappuccino crab with fennel – as well as à la carte choices.
See: Fall out of Conservatorium’s front door into the heart of Amsterdam’s museum district and towards Stedelijk at Museumplein 10, the Van Gogh museum at Paulus Potterstraat 7 and Rijksmuseum at Museumstraat 1. If you fancy going Dutch and pedaling your way around the ‘dam, Bike City at Bloemgracht 70 has two-wheelers for rent – Amsterdam locals take their biking seriously, so make sure you brush up on your cycling etiquette. After all that cycling, it’s time to refuel the tank; indulge in some sweet treats from Patisserie Holtkamp at Vijzelgracht 15 and enjoy some serious people-watching in buzzing Vondelpark.
Eat: If feasting on herrings, rissoles and meatballs sounds appealing (vegetarians beware), steer your clog-wearing feet to Leidsekruisstraat 28 and De Blonde Hollander, an eatery serving traditional Dutch fare that’s heavy on the meat and heavy on the sauce (perhaps best avoided if you’re watching your waistline). Restaurant de Kas is a pasture-to-plate experience, 10 minutes by car from Conservatorium. Flanked by the kitchen gardens, the restaurant is set in a 1920s greenhouse and helmed by chef Gert Jan Hageman, who harvests herbs, edible flowers and veggies to create culinary magic in the daily-changing menu – the Michelin stars up his chef’s whites don’t hurt, either. If you’re after something quick, quirky and hot, FEBO are vending machine-inspired outlets dotted around the city, manned by chefs who freshly prepare croquettes, burgers and fried rice; just choose your window, pop in your euros and begin munching.
Play: Reputations precede Amsterdam as an adult playground, with a smattering of bars, clubs and vibrant nightlife to entertain until the wee hours. Begin by sashaying down Conservatorium’s stairs to Tunes Bar for their signature G&T – with more than 30 choices of gin, though, one may not be enough – and a sampling of Asian-inspired tapas. Follow the clued-in, cool crowd to Jimmy Woo at Korte Leidsedwarsstraat 18, a luxurious club and lounge or, if you prefer a quieter scene, dash across the road to Jimmy’s sister Suzy Wong for a cocktail.
To book any of Mr & Mrs Smith’s stylish boutique hotels, visit www.mrandmrssmith.com or call the expert Travel Team on 1300 896 627. Smith guests enjoy exclusive extras at all stays.