When we planned our luxury girls trip to Amsterdam we were firmly on the same wavelength when it came to staying somewhere good. We wanted to fully make the most of our hotel, probably more so than the city we went to. Having been to Amsterdam plenty of times, this suited me perfectly for a chilled out weekend after a lot of travel for work. We went with the W Amsterdam, a hotel chain I’ve never stayed at before but was keen to try. W hotels have a reputation for being pretty special, and we definitely found that to be the case from our trip.
The W Amsterdam – Location
The W is located on Spuistraat, which just behind the Royal Palace and Dam Square, right in the centre of the city. As well as the main square, it’s very near some of the best shopping streets in Amsterdam, a taxi rank, the tram stops, but more importantly for me the more scenic areas like the Nine Streets.
The hotel is conveniently located between the two, and just a short walk further away from Dam Square, you’ll find yourself among the quaint canals and bridges that make the city so pretty. There are plenty cafes, restaurants and boutiques nearby if you don’t want anything too mainstream.
It’s either a half an hour taxi ride from the airport, or if you go with the cheaper and quicker option of the train, it’s a 5 minute walk once you arrive at Amsterdam Centraal. I just want to point out here, that if you do get the train, don’t let the walk up Damstraat colour your first impression of Amsterdam. It’s touristy, busy, smells of weed and McDonald’s and probably would put you off if you didn’t know how much more the city has to offer than this one street.
The W spans two old buildings opposite each other, an old bank and a more modern exchange building, and the entrance is draped with the big W flags and concierge waiting to welcome you in. They will direct you to check in via the lift, right to the top floor.
The W Hotel Welcome
The lift doors open at reception and your first view of the Amsterdam skyline spreads out below you through the full length glass windows. It’s pretty impressive, and I can see why they chose to put reception on the top floor to give you your first glimpse.
The quirky reception area is filled with light, and the balcony outside gives a much clearer view of the typical Dutch buildings, canals and landmark spires of the various churches around the city.
Check in was quick and painless, and the staff are very welcoming. I could see a modern glass fireplace surrounded by low level seating and cushioned benches around the corner, and the bar at the far end. This would be our first stop once we unpacked.
The W Hotel Rooms
Our room was called a Wonderful Exchange room, obviously in the exchange building and completely modern, with a giant flatscreen, the most amazing lit up make up mirror, and the comfiest bed you can wish for after a day walking the canals and cobbled streets. You can control all the lighting, the do not disturb sign and the blackout blinds from the electronic keypads dotted about the room.
The room was quiet at night, and those black out blinds were amazing. The room was fully equipped with mini bar, toiletries, hairdryer, coffee machine, iron and lots of Amsterdam reading material. You could easily stay here and not have to bring much, everything’s provided. One of my favourite things was the heated floor in the bathroom area, no cold shivers when you get out the shower.
We paid approx £260 each for three nights. Have a look on their website for the full range of rooms, some of the suites look incredible!
The W Lounge and Bar
It was so cold in Amsterdam the weekend we were there, right before the canals froze over that we didn’t ever spend more than half an hour outside in one go. We kept ducking into shops or cafes, and nearly every day it got to about 4pm and we decided to just heard back to the hotel bar.
It was such a nice environment, overlooking the city with a cocktail or two watching the sun go down. Very relaxing and the bar staff served you from wherever you were sat.
In the evenings after we got ready to go out for dinner, we would head back to the bar before going out. It was packed every night, with couples and groups of friends enjoying the laid back but very chic looking spot.
It was too cold for the outside terrace, but in the summer I think it would be incredible. Music plays until the early hours, and it definitely doesn’t feel like a hotel bar, more of a bar in its own right that plenty locals seemed to come to. Even if you don’t stay at the W I really recommend going for cocktail hour, or sunset.
The cocktails were strong, and well made but not the cheapest. A round for the two of us was about £20-£25, but these lychee martinis were worth every penny.
Mr Porter Steakhouse and The Duchess at the W Amsterdam
My Porter steakhouse is also on the top floor of the exchange building, on the opposite side to the bar. We caught sight of the meat hanging up in the fridges, and decided we would eat there on the Saturday night. We realised how popular it was when we tried to book in, it was fully booked for normal tables, but there’s also options to sit at the chefs table which faces into the open plan kitchen, or up at the bar.
We went for the bar and I’d definitely do it again by choice. It was great being up high, with the bar in the centre of the room we could see everything going on. The atmosphere was sophisticated but lively up there, and even better that the bar staff were on hand to recommend our cocktails!
I had crispy fried calamari to start which was so chewy and perfectly cooked, and we both had steak obviously for main with a mustard on the side, and incredible mac and cheese.
I love steak, and it was seriously good. We ate really well for our entire trip and this was definitely up there as one of the best meals if not the best.
Again, even if you aren’t staying at the W you should try to book in Mr Porters for dinner because it was exceptional steak. It wasn’t cheap, the meal cost us about £80 each, but when is steak cheap? It was completely worth it and it felt like a lot more than just dinner, more like a full evening experience. We teetered back through to the bar for an after dinner cocktail too, so we didn’t have to face the cold or walk anywhere.
On the Sunday we went across the road to the bank building where The Duchess restaurant and the spa are located. The Duchess has one Michelin Star status, and was stunning. We only went for brunch but I can imagine how beautiful it would be in the evening for dinner. The dinner menu serves French and Italian style dishes, and I’d love to go even just to sit at the fabulous bar at the back of the room.
The Duchess can be found up the old staircase, where you will be met by the lovely staff and escorted into the huge room decorated with bright peach flower clusters, an old grandfather clock and giant chandeliers. It was the poshest place I’ve ever ate for breakfast!
The price for the breakfast buffet was €30, but we both didn’t think we would eat enough for it to be worth it. There’s a breakfast menu for hot food too, so I ordered off that and went for the full English. Pancakes, waffles, eggs Benedict were all on the menu if a fry up isn’t your thing.
It was delicious food even just being sausage bacon and egg, and the staff were great. They served tea in quirky teapots, and proper filter coffee to wash it all down.
After such a stressful weekend shopping, drinking cocktails and fine dining, we chose to spend our last afternoon in the spa. We went along after we checked out, and having been guests in the hotel we were fine to use it at no extra charge for a few hour slot.
We were shown through to the changing rooms where there were plenty lockers to store our luggage, and provided with robes and slippers.
The spa itself is in the basement, and rather than the usual airy bright spa atmosphere it was pitch black, with candles lighting the staircase down, and dimly lit lights through all the corridors and little coves where there was a cold plunge pool and a hot jacuzzi.
It was beautiful, and unlike any other spa I’ve been in. I settled myself down on one of the lounge beds, with a drink from the menu enjoying the peace and quiet after a really busy month at work. Dani had a massage, and we generally spent the afternoon basking in our own contentment at how refreshed we felt at the end of a weekend away.
The spa caters for all treatment types, massages, facials and nail care, as well as having a gym area if you’re that way inclined on a weekend break…and has a juice bar in the main lounge and waiting area. Even just a few hours in that spa felt like a lifetime, and was such a lovely way to finish off the trip. Something else about this hotel that I would definitely go back for.
Overall if you’re looking for a more relaxing break to Amsterdam, then I would definitely recommend the W. It was so luxurious and completely changed my outlook on a city break there. I said to Kieran when I got back that we’ve been doing Amsterdam totally wrong, and the W is 100% somewhere I would return to.
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