Set in the heart of Amsterdam’s museum and fashion district, this pair of converted 18th-century mansions makes a cool and casual base for canal-side ramblings – perfect for a springtime sojourn, when this historic and vibrant city looks beautiful but isn’t blighted with crowds.
The unobtrusive luxury of this contemporary hotel is one of its triumphs. The bathrooms have drenching rain showers, and Executive Rooms and above come with Jacuzzi bathtubs plus TVs to watch while you soak. If you manage to peel yourself away from the indulgence of your room, you can rent bicycles or Vespas to explore the city’s museums, parks and cobbled waterside streets.
Rooms: The 38 rooms mix clean lines, purple or muted greys and bright statement wallpaper from Dutch artist Barbara Broekman, creating warm, welcoming spaces. There are plenty of luxurious comforts, too: expect flat-screen TVs, iPod docks and DVD players alongside COCO-MAT mattresses and soft linens. Basement Rooms are the cheapest, but we preferred the Standard and slightly larger Executive Rooms, which enjoy views of the quiet street or garden. The Executive Deluxe Rooms are particularly spoiling, with chic armchairs nestled into bay windows. There’s also a Family Room with a kingsize bed and a separate sleeping area with bunk beds for 2 children.
Food: The beautifully designed hotel is attached to an equally convivial restaurant called Jan Eat & Drink. Its leather banquettes, white tables and low-hanging chrome lighting give it the feel of an upscale diner, but the eccentricities of the bedrooms are mirrored in the contemporary paintings and quirky animal sculptures. For lunch and dinner you can expect an international feel, with pasta dishes and steak sandwiches alongside Dutch staples such as fish croquettes. If you fancy heading out, Hotel JL’s location puts it within easy striking distance of many of the city’s excellent restaurants.
The daily buffet breakfast includes a wide selection of fruit, cheeses, cold meats and pastries, as well as hot dishes such as omelettes, pancakes and French toast. It’s also served until a leisurely 11am – an added bonus.
Top Tip: Explore the Albert Cuyp street market in the trendy district of De Pijp, not far from the hotel. The mile-long stretch of colourful stalls sells everything from cheap vintage clothing to farm-fresh produce. Stop for coffee and a delicious cake at delightfully kitsch patisserie De Taart van m’n Tante.
Customer review: “The location is excellent. The staff are very friendly and accommodating. The communal area is quaint and comfortable to relax and enjoy a coffee or glass of wine.”
Stacey, United Kingdom (19.10.14)
i-escape gift: a free room upgrade, subject to availability on arrival.