Canal House

Jordaan, Amsterdam, Holland Book from Eur205

Reviewed by Emily Preece
Style and comfort by the bucketload at this boutique hotel near fashionable Nine Streets
Set in Amsterdam's hip Jordaan district, and sister property to Cowley Manor in the UK, Canal House is everything you'd hope it might be: trendy, friendly and spoiling. Made up of 3 17th-century merchant's houses overlooking the Keizersgracht canal, its USPs are an abundance of space, something that most canalside properties lack, and a wonderfully peaceful garden (which, FYI, is one of the biggest in central Amsterdam).

Step inside and you're greeted by wall-to-wall repros of Dutch Master paintings in beautiful gilded frames, and sumptuous, plush décor throughout the shared spaces and 23 romantic rooms; boldly modern but with a nod to traditional heritage. At the centre of it all lies The Great Room, once a ballroom, with its stunning stucco ceilings, ebony walls and contemporary lighting. Big comfy armchairs are just the ticket after busy days of shopping and sightseeing, or if you've got enough energy left to socialise, pull up a stool at the mirrored bar and try the signature martini.

Highs

  • Super-stylish rooms with plum velvet bedspreads, leather sofas and exposed original beams
  • Service is fantastic, a perfect balance of friendliness and professionalism
  • Located in the Jordaan district with plenty of restaurants and cafés nearby, as well as the Anne Frank house and Nine Streets, famous for its independent boutiques
  • A lot of thought has been put into the finer details: hi-tech lighting, Blu-Ray players with a selection of films, beautiful mosaic tiling and fancy toiletries
  • Ideal for couples, though lone travellers or guests here on business will appreciate the friendly atmosphere

Lows

  • No restaurant but there's an all-day snack menu and staff can recommend local eateries
  • The only hot item at breakfast is boiled eggs, but at least breakfast is included in the rates
  • Due to the wooden floors, noise carries between rooms, and some Good rooms look onto a lightwell
  • The quirky layout may not appeal to some - steep windy stairs to get to certain bedrooms, and you have to walk through the kitchen to reach others!

Best time to go

Amsterdam is a year-round city. In winter, the many coffee shops and bars nearby all have open fires. In summer, you can enjoy the hotel garden, but you should be prepared for crowds at the main sights and museums. From late March to early April, the 2,000 tulip bulbs in the hotel's garden raise their heads to herald spring.

Our top tips

You'll find a 'Black Box' in your room containing easily forgotten bathroom essentials, so don't panic if you didn't pack any cotton wool!

Great for...

City Style
Honeymoon
  • = Makes the grade
  • = Best in region
  • = World favourite
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 23
  • Breakfast + snack menu; restaurants nearby
  • Welcome but not encouraged
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa Treatments
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Concierge Service
  • Bicycles Available
  • Board games
  • Film library
Room:

Rooms

Canal House has 23 bedrooms, which are very much in keeping with the rest of the hotel: thick plum curtains, silk wallpaper and heavy velvet bedspreads complementing restored original features such as timber beams, ornate ceilings and opulent fireplaces. Technos will be in heaven with the latest flatscreen TVs, iPod docking stations, WiFi and Blu-Ray players (a selection of films is available at reception). Old-school types can laze about with glossy magazines - Vogue, GQ etc.

There are 5 room categories, and in short, paying more gives you more space, a view and a sofa. Apart from this, all are similar. Bathrooms have tubs, showers, robes and luxurious Green & Spring toiletries, but some are separate to the bedroom and some are open-plan; you can express a preference when you enquire.

Starting with the biggest room, Best is a huge open-plan suite that sprawls over the entire top floor and has sweeping views of the canal. Its lounge can fit 2 extra beds and a baby cot, so it's a good option for families, but honeymooners love it, too - the standalone bathtub is romantically curtained off and you get a complimentary minibar.

Exceptional rooms overlook the garden or the canal and feel very spacious. All have double sinks and a sofa area to relax in - Room 12 has the best views. Great rooms are similar but a bit smaller - book Room 2 for a little private terrace. Better rooms look on to the internal lightwell so are slightly darker, but they have a sitting area; we'd recommend them if you're budget-conscious because, while you compromise on a view, you still get lots of floor space. Good rooms are the smallest, and some have just showers (no baths) and vertical in-room beams, which adds to the bijou feel. Some look onto the garden, with generous windows letting in lots of light; others look onto the internal lightwell. Some Good and Better rooms can be set up as twins but be aware that the majority are open-plan, with bathtubs in the bedroom.

Features include:

  • Internet access
  • Wifi internet
  • Phone
  • Satellite tv
  • Ipod dock
  • Wifi internet
  • Safe box
  • Air conditioning
  • Central heating
  • Fan
  • Cots Available
  • Extra beds
  • Bathrobes
  • Toiletries
  • Minibar
  • Coffee tea making
  • Hairdryer
  • Blu-ray player
  • Iron (on request)

Eating

Breakfast is a large buffet of treats beautifully laid out in The Great Room - pastries, breads, cakes, fruit, cereal, yoghurts, meats and cheeses. Sadly, the croissants were cold and the only hot items available were boiled eggs, although mine were cooked perfectly to my liking!

For other meals, staff can recommend restaurants nearby, or there's a list of Canal House-approved takeaways - order a pizza, have it delivered to the hotel and it will be brought to your room on a china plate! For a laid-back café atmosphere but gastro-pub food, try Café De Reiger on Nieuwe Leliestraat, 5 minutes behind the hotel. The menu is minimal but the food is delicious: our lamb was divine and prices are reasonable. Other favourites include Casa Di David for authentic Italian cuisine or Longpura for Indonesian fare, which is very popular in Amsterdam.

Alternatively, you can enjoy cocktails at the hotel bar and order from the snack menu - tasty little Dutch morsels like veal croquettes and shrimp bitterballs followed by a gooey chocolate brownie with ice cream.

Features include:

  • Room service
  • Bar
  • Breakfast
  • Food and wine
  • Minibar
  • Coffee tea making
  • Walk to restaurants
  • All-day snack menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Literally around the corner, the famous Anne Frank Huis museum is not to be missed. Beat the queues by booking in advance - reception can help

  • Dubbed 'Nine Streets', this area of trendy one-off boutiques in the Jordaan district is becoming the place to shop in Amsterdam; we could have spent hours in the vintage clothing stores!

  • Every month the hotel compiles a local 'Eyes & Ears' guide with 10 brilliant suggestions for things to do that month, including restaurants, galleries, museums and new openings. Be sure to check yours out before you plan your days

  • Hire a bicycle and explore; staff can advise on routes and museums to visit - we loved the lively modern art at the Stedelijk Museum

  • Visit the Sunday Market in Westergasfabriek where local artists and designers sell fashion, arts and local foods

  • Spend a relaxed evening in The Great Room, playing board games, drinking cocktails and ordering from the snack menu. In the warmer months there's a garden bar in the Summer House

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Cycling
  • Food and wine
  • History religious
  • Museum
  • Nightlife
  • Shopping

Kids

Families are welcome, though not encouraged. Baby cots (free) and extra beds (extra charge) are available.

Best for:

All ages

Family friendly accommodation:

Good, Better and Great rooms can fit a baby cot; Exceptional rooms can fit a baby cot and an extra bed. The Best suite can fit a baby cot and 2 extra beds.

Babysitting:

Available on request.

Baby equipment:

High chairs can be provided on request.

Remember  baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking

Families Should Know:

There are steep staircases to some rooms.

Kid Friendly:

Our guests' ratings...

8/
Rooms
7/
Food
7/
Service
8/
Value
7/
Overall

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