I’m currently sprawled out on a lounger in the Away Spa at the W hotel Amsterdam, feeling thoroughly relaxed and chilled out despite spending the past three-four days in one of the busiest cities in Europe. Before this trip with my lovely friend Danielle, I was less than enthusiastic about more travel after the past four weeks of it with work. This has turned into one of the most relaxing weekends I’ve had in a long time, so here’s my essentials for a luxury girls weekend in Amsterdam.
Stay in a central location.
Pretty obvious, but a central hotel takes away all the hassle of having to use public transport. It’s not for me at the best of times, let alone in a foreign country, but with the exception of one Uber ride to a restaurant we had on our list that wasn’t in the centre of the city, everything else we’ve wanted to do is within a twenty minute walk or less. Perfect when it’s been freezing cold or we’ve not wanted to walk far.
Splash out on a luxury hotel.
Dani and I live at opposite ends of England, and we got such cheap flights to Amsterdam that it was cheaper than trying to get to each other in the UK. We don’t see each other often but when we do we splash out on a decent place to stay, so for this trip we chose the W Amsterdam.
We’ve been totally spoiled, with a fabulous room, world class restaurants, a very cool bar with a panoramic city view, staff who can’t do enough for us and the most relaxing black out spa that I’m currently lurked in.
Ill do a full post on the W soon, but it’s been worth every penny and has been somewhere we’ve really made the most of rather than just a place to sleep.
Do your shopping in the Bijenkorf.
Before this trip I’d never gone shopping in Amsterdam, and I’ve been seriously missing out. It was so cold on our first day here we decided to make it a shopping day, so went straight to the Bijenkorf just beside Dam Square.
Admire the designer bags and shoes to your hearts content! If I wasn’t saving my arse off at the moment (she says) I’d have had trouble choosing where to throw my money. I settled for some new trainers, but there’s Gucci, Louis Vuitton, Tiffany, Valentino, they’re all there as well as all the top end beauty brands.
We had a hot chocolate and fancy cake at the top floor cafe afterwards too.
Choose your canal cruise carefully.
You can’t come to Amsterdam and not do a canal cruise, especially if it’s your first visit. Dani hasn’t been before and we have not been about the walking so we did a canal cruise to see some of the city. Some are pretty bog standard, but I really like the Friendship ones which I’ve talked about before here.
The boats are open, but they’re fully equipped with cushioned seats, warm blankets, umbrellas or sun shades depending on the season, and a fully stocked bar.
Research your restaurants.
I’ll do separate posts on most of these but we have ate seriously well the past few days. It’s not come cheap, but you get what you pay for and I don’t know which meal I’ve enjoyed the most. I’ve never really got it right with restaurants in Amsterdam before, but that changed this weekend.
On Friday night we went to Mama Kelly’s, a pretty new restaurant out by the Olympic Stadium. It’s definitely not walkable from the city centre, so get an Uber which will only be about €9. Mama Kelly’s is four floors of top to bottom ‘pink’. Everything is pink from the bar to the gold trimmed booths, the walls, the floors, the napkins and even the drinks. It’s fabulous and if you’re in Amsterdam for a girls trip you have to go. They only serve chicken or lobster, in all sorts of ways.
Saturday night we went to Mr Porters steak restaurant which is part of the W, but it appeared on nearly all of the top restaurants in Amsterdam lists I looked at, and it was fully booked both nights. Service and the steak were faultless.
We also had brunch at The Duchess this morning, which is a Michelin Star dinner restaurant in the old Bank building opposite the W. You can have breakfast here if you’re staying in the W and the place is beautiful, even with a fry up!
None of these places came cheap but they were all worth it and I’d much rather put my money towards really good food and a lovely experience at each one than anything else when I’m away.
Enjoy a cocktail with the sunset.
There are lots of options for a rooftop bar or terrace in Amsterdam. Off the top of my head I can think of the ADAM Tower, the Skybar at the Hilton, the W lounge, and 23rd Bar at the Okura Hotel.
Head there half an hour before sunset as they’re always busy, order your favourite fancy cocktail and watch the sun go down.
Indulge on a sweet treat or twenty.
As well as some great meals we’ve seriously made the most of all the sweet treats on offer in Amsterdam. Stroopwafels, churros and proftjes can all be found in most cafes, but I’d really recommend Polaberry for some extra special girly ones.
Polaberry are quite new and I discovered them on Instagram, but they hand make chocolate bars and chocolate covered strawberries.
You order via Instagram and they deliver them to anywhere in Amsterdam at a time to suit you. Yes they’re gorgeous but they were delicious too.
Spend time in a spa.
Even if your hotel doesn’t have one book time in at a spa, most of the high end hotels have them and allow external guests and it was the best thing we could have done with our final afternoon before flying home tonight. I feel like I’ve been away ages!
What I thought would be a pretty manic weekend in Amsterdam based on my previous trips, has turned into a really relaxing one off luxury weekend. I’ve not yet looked what I’ve spent, but who cares I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and would absolutely recommend each place we’ve been to.
Hope you’ve found these tips for a luxury girls weekend in Amsterdam helpful!
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