Europe

Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Amsterdam hotel review

It doesn’t get much more central than this spot on Dam Square, the city’s historic core and the original dam on the Amstel River. The hotel overlooks the National Monument cenotaph, a soaring pillar of travertine, and is opposite the Royal Palace, a Classicist monument from the Dutch ‘Golden Age’ and the 15th-century Nieuwe Kerk (New Church). A short stroll around the corner is De Wallen – the tourist-heavy red light district – but walk 10–15 minutes west and you reach Jordaan, a pretty neighbourhood of on-trend bars, cafes that spill into the street, galleries and markets; it’s an area beloved by Amsterdammers and not overwhelmed by tourists.

The hotel is 10 minutes on foot from Centraal station, where there are regular trains to Schiphol airport (the journey should take no more than 20 minutes). On foot you can reach the Rijksmuseum – where you’ll find work by Rembrant and Vermeer among 8,000 pieces – in 20 minutes, or the Anne Frank House in 15; on two wheels, in true Amsterdam fashion, you’ll halve that time.

The hotel grew out of a small coffeehouse opened in 1856 by Adolph Wilhelm Krasnapolsky, a tailor by trade, and rooms were added as its popularity grew. A traditional facade instantly gives way to a sleek, contemporary design on entry, blending Scandi furnishings with modern, circular lighting that bounces off polished surfaces.

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The Anantara now spreads over 55 canal houses, which lends slight differences between each part; you will likely get lost in the labyrinthine hallways, and can easily find yourself at a dead end. The archives have been raided to create a display of artefacts over the last 150 years, including menus from the French brasserie that was once here, while modern art pieces, from shiny sculptures to quirky furniture, bring the property bang up to date.

Pin-sharp, for the most part. Smooth during check in and out, then pleasant when you need any assistance (without being intrusive). The only time you may notice a drop is during breakfast, when staff can be slow to take your morning coffee order, and it can take some time to arrive at your table.

The extracurricular on offer is impressive, in what Anantara calls ‘experiences’. During spring, the highlight is the ‘Tulips in Bloom’ package, where guests (up to seven) are whisked 50 minutes southwest of the city to be surrounded by the bulbs in fluctuating colours, with a guided tour at the Tulip Experience museum before a private picnic in a field of tulips (think of the Instagram posts). The package also includes a two-course meal at the Grand Café Krasnapolsky, and costs from €599 for two people. Other Anantara ‘experiences’ in Amsterdam include a guided food tour of the city (ending with tastings at a local genever distillery) or private dining in the hotel’s ‘Royal Suite’.

There are 402 rooms, far more than the exterior would lead you to believe. It’s subtlety over bold, with warm, natural hues setting the tone from entry-level spaces up, and all are a decent size for Amsterdam; the best overlook Dam Square, where you’ll want to leave a gap in the curtains for morning light to creep in. Expect air conditioning, a Nespresso coffee machine and large televisions in each room. Many of the bathrooms, decorated in pale marble and silver flecks, are semi-open; some have baths, all have showers ,and are stocked with Amouage amenities.

Less Krasnapolsky’s cafe and more an all-singing gastronomic experience – with a space worth eating each meal in. The top billing goes to The White Room, which holds one Michelin star, and is considered one of the oldest restaurants in the city. Menus heavy with Asian influences from signature chef Jacob Jan Boerma and chef de cuisine Tristan de Boer, bring a deft sophistication to the dining room, which itself is decked in the white and gold original features. It’s worth visiting for the kombu-cured kingfish, paired with the complex umami of smoked dashi, alone, but the surprise twist of porcini ice-cream is also a delight.

Breakfast is served in The Wintergarden, a 19th-century conservatory-style space, where a lofty glass ceiling brings light in over the wonderful chequered floor and creeping greenery. The range of the buffet is vast: Dutch meat and cheese beside freshly baked pastries, full English elements next to curries and stir-fried veg, pots of tiramisu stood by mini stroopwafels – genuinely among the best hotel breakfast spreads. If you have had a late night, don’t worry: breakfast is served until midday on the weekend.

Close to the entrance is Grand Café Krasnapolsky, a place for coffee and cake (they do a sumptuous afternoon tea) as well as champagne and caviar. For a pre-dinner drink, swing by Bar The Tailor. The name might be clunky but the cocktails are smooth, in a space replete with nods to Mr Krasnapolsky’s original profession, from thimble-shaped light fittings to tailor’s patterns reimagined on the carpet.

This is an Anantara, so the spa has a lot to live up to. It’s a calming space, tucked away on the ground floor, where you can relax in the sauna and before and after a soothing massage (there are three treatment rooms, including one that can be used for couples). They range from the Anantara Bespoke, which incorporates passive yoga, to foot reflexology; the deep tissue managed to loosen some long-held knots. For something a little more active, there’s a gym (open all hours) with a climbing wall.

There are three adapted rooms, plus ramps and lifts throughout the hotel.

Dogs and cats are allowed.

Check in from 3pm; check out by 12pm.

Yes, with family and interconnecting rooms available, plus baby products offered and colouring sheets for younger guests.

Best thing: Breakfast – partly due to the monumental spread, and partly because of the sublime Wintergarden setting.

Perfect for: Couples looking to give their city break an effortlessly luxe edge.

Not right for: A raucous Amsterdam party holiday – and the locals won’t be happy, either.

Xural.com

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