“Cosy and very comfy, this bijou hotel near the Vondelpark has friendly staff and a charming courtyard garden”
Rooms differ in size and shape, but all decorated in the cool neutral colours beloved of boutique hotels across the world, with big splashes of fun, funky artwork to lift the mood. These range from black and white prints of Dolly Parton or Grace Jones to the colourful, chunky tableaux of Peter Keizer and Anton Heyboer (who was himself a colourful chap, rarely seen without his fisherman's cap, shades and one of his 7 wives...).
We stayed in one of the Executive Rooms - a lovely garret room on the top floor, with a kingsize bed and - in common with all Executive Rooms and Junior Suites - a big round Jacuzzi bathtub. The bed was supremely comfortable - one of the best we can remember sleeping in. These rooms either have a private balcony looking over the hotel's garden, or face onto Roemer Visscherstraat, which is generally quiet apart from Friday and Saturday late evenings.
Also on the top floor are 3 of the Junior Suites, tucked under the original beams of the 18th-century mansion. There's enough additional space for a glass dining table and a pair of sleek Eames-Vitry chairs, as well as a work area. The last suite is in the basement (#14) - not to be sniffed at, being even larger than the rest, with double Jacuzzi bathtubs and a double rainshower, as well as direct access to the garden.
The Standard Double Rooms, also facing the Roemer Visscherstraat, are a little cramped, with a double bed (instead of kingsize) and just a shower (no bathtub) in the bathroom. For a light-travelling weekend break on a budget, they would be fine; for anything more, we would recommend an Executive Room. All rooms come with 2 flatscreen TVs: 1 in the bathroom, 1 in the bedroom - and an extra one for good measure in room 14!
As of 2015, a clutch of additional Deluxe, Triple and Quadruple Rooms are available across the street from the main hotel. We've yet to view them, but they promise to be in the same style as the original rooms - though they lack an in-bathroom TV.
Breakfast costs extra and is served from 7-11am in a room which is not quite big enough if everyone descends at the same time. It's a good spread of cold meats, cheeses, individual cereals, mini croissants and rolls, jams (including an indulgent chocolate spread), some rather sweet juices and one of those snazzy display boxes of yummy Nespresso capsules. If that's not enough, there are also cooked options: pancakes, toasted muffins with smoked salmon, and eggs Benedict, to name but a few.
If you're around for lunch, there's a slim menu - chef's soup, 100% beefburgers, club sandwich, smoked duck salad - most of it prepared at their sister Hotel Vondel around the corner and brought to your room or, in fine weather, the courtyard.
Guests also have the option of staying on an all-inclusive basis (additional cost), which includes breakfast, room service, snacks, all drinks at the bar and from the in-room minibar.
But Amsterdam is all about eating - and drinking - out. And there's no shortage of wonderful restaurants and bars to choose from nearby, and no want of recommendations from staff either. Le Garage serves upscale French fusion combinations: scallops come with pieces of fried blood sausage, steak tartar is prepared at the table. A short taxi ride away is Toscanini, a gorgeous Italian restaurant, where the most succulent of meat cuts are roasted on charcoal and washed down with fine reds. Lucius comes recommended for seafood, Riaz for Surinamese rotis (and occasional appearances by Ruud Gullit), Hap Hmm for budget bites, and if that's not enough, you'll find a list of many more recommendations in your bedroom.
The hotel is within 10 minutes' walk or a short cycle ride from Museumplein, which means easy access to Amsterdam's prime tourist attractions. Here are some of the highlights:
Children of all ages are welcome, but due to the lack of extra beds we felt this was best suited to families with babies. That said, there's a lovely garden and older children will appreciate the huge TVs and DVD collection.
Babies (0-1 years), Teens (over 12)
Executive Rooms and Junior Suites have space for a baby cot. A separate room would be needed families travelling with children.
Babysitting is available by arrangement.
Baby cots and high chairs are available on request (a supplement may apply).
Remember baby and child equipment may be limited or need pre-booking
Parents of toddlers should beware the pond.