Only an hour flight from London, Amsterdam is the perfect destination for a quick break that won’t break the bank. Tall, crooked houses line the myriad of canals that weave throughout the city, with waterways lined with houseboats and cobbled streets and bridges that pave the way for trams and an unbelievable number of bicycles. Although many dub it as the Venice of the north, to do so is to take away from the charm and uniqueness of the Netherland’s capital and similarly there’s so much more to see beyond the red light district, smoking hotspots and busy centre.
Although located further out from the centre than many of the hotels in Amsterdam, Hotel V Fizeaustraat is only a 15 minutes train ride from central and definitely worth the trip. Designed by Dutch architect Piet Zanstra, this 70s office block was recently lovingly restored by the V hotel group who own a number of other hotels in the city and is beautifully furnished with retro pieces and cosy rooms. The young staff know the city inside out so if you’re stuck for ideas for what do then they should be your first port of call.
Hotel V Fizeaustraat
Eat & Drink
If you do stay in Hotel V Fizeaustraat then dining in The Lobby restaurant at least once for breakfast and dinner is a must. There’s none of your usual hotel buffet here, instead expect a choice of a savoury AND sweet for breakfast including eggs benedict and sugar loaf french toast with cinnamon and creme fraiche, while dinner draws food lovers from all over the city so booking is essential. The cocktails aren’t bad either…
Pancakes are a big thing in Amsterdam so head to Mook Pancakes on De Clercqstraat for the best in town – the avocado, hummus and chilli pancakes are sensational. For coffee and tea try Bocca, a state of the art coffee shop from the award-winning Amsterdam roasters on Kerkstraat.
In the evening De Clercqstraat offers a number of great restaurants all in close proximity including wine and pasta at Cantinetta, Pazzi Pizza, rotisserie specialists Van t’Spit and Fier who offer a strong selection of beer and do a pretty tasty fondue. Other places to try are authentic Italian Il Pacioccone, the Aussie run Little Collins for cocktails and small plates and La Falote for some traditional Ducth cuisine.
For late night drinks and a cocktail bar with a difference try Door 74. You’ll need to call in advance to make a reservation as the front door is hidden, but it’s worth the effort. If you don’t mind travelling then take a boat trip out to Pllek. Across the water from central station you’ll find a shipyard, stacked with old shipping containers that hosts a restaurant and bar with DJs at the weekend.
Museumplein is a good place to start for Amsterdam’s museums. The Van Gogh Museum is well worth a visit as is the impressive Rijksmuseum. Back towards central station, avoid the long queues by booking ahead for the Anne Frank Museum.
There’s no shortage of shops in the city but if you want to steer clear of the crowds then explore the boutiques outside of the centre. On Van Woustraat Hutspot is home to uber cool homewares and clothing, while Restored on Haarlemmerdijk stocks well-designed stationary, jewellery and lighting.
Restored & Hutspot
Coffeeshops are also a plenty, which is no surprise but if you are curious then take a walk along Haarlemmerstraat where you’ll find Dampkring, Greenhouse and Barneys all in close proximity and can pick and choose.
After a long weekend exploring what the city has to offer then r&r will be much needed. The spa at Hotel Cuvier should do the job with eight saunas, aroma baths and swimming pools as well as an outdoor jacuzzi that is open even in the winter. Make sure to check the website in advance as on most days there’s strict no swimwear policy…