My Amsterdam mini-break review – a rare escape for mummy and daddy!
Much as we do love them, it is not often we get time away from the kids, even just for an evening out. So this weekend escape really felt like a once in a lifetime sort of opportunity! Free of schedules, school runs, bedtimes and endless demands from children. That in itself was a treat, then to spend our time in the incredible city of Amsterdam was something else altogether! I thought I would write about it here, in case anyone is thinking of going, as we stayed in a wonderful hotel and ate at some great places that are just too good to not share…
We stayed in the Grand Amrath Hotel. I highly recommend it! It’s an old building from 1916, and the architecture is so fascinating. I discovered after booking that it has made it into the Lonely Planet guide as a sight in itself! If you’ve seen the film “The Grand Budapest Hotel” this hotel reminded me of the one in the film… If you haven’t seen it, well, you must as it is such a sweet film!
The location of the Grand Amrath is brilliant as it’s right in the centre of Amsterdam, near the Centraal Station. If you’re flying to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, there’s a train that will take you directly from the airport to this station. From there it’s just a 5 minute walk to the hotel. No Ubers required!
We were stunned when we entered the room by its high ceilings with full height windows and lush blackout curtains. The room was large with the comfiest big bed (we have super king at home, so I do perceive some hotel beds to be a little stingy on size but this one I had no complaints about!) Every room had a FREE minibar (incredible, I know!!) containing bottled water still and sparkling, soft drinks, wine, beer and nuts, as well as a Nespresso machine. Just all this was to die for, seriously! We had a beautiful view over one of the canals though not all rooms have a view so if you book perhaps it is best to request this. We were thrilled as well, as the hotel concierge put a delicious chocolate cake in our room for my husband, as they knew it was his birthday, which was a lovely touch and made us feel very welcome.
As if that wasn’t enough, the hotel also has an amazing pool and spa which we checked out the next day as we had arrived late in the evening and were meeting friends as well. We raced straight down to the hotel bar and enjoyed drinks there, the atmosphere is very relaxed and service good.
The spa pool was so relaxing, and contains a jet stream which you can swim against for a little exercise, and a star-effect ceiling. There is also a jacuzzi, steam room, sauna and a gym as well as spa treatments which I didn’t have time to enjoy but sounded great from the spa menu!
Here is a direct link to the hotel’s website. http://www.amrathamsterdam.com/en
I initially found the Amrath hotel on Secret Escapes, but in the end I booked through booking.com, if you click on the link below it will take you directly to the booking.com webpage where you can check out the Grand Hotel Amrath Amsterdam. Booking.com UK
Eating and drinking
We eventually managed to venture away from the fabulous hotel, but we walked everywhere during this trip (despite the bitter cold!) therefore all my tips are for central Amsterdam. My top 5 favourite places to recommend are:
Omelegg – absolutely brilliant, tiny little place for breakfast, which is so very popular you might find yourself waiting outside for a table like we did (and I wouldn’t try to come with a big group or you’ll never get seated)…but definitely worth the wait! They have every type of omelette under the sun, as well as burgers, and the service was efficient yet cheerful. http://omelegg.com/
Pancakes – You can’t go to Amsterdam without having pancakes of course! This place is very central, right opposite Centraal Station in fact. They have every pancake under the sun. Super tasty, and when you’ve paid they give you a little clog keychain souvenir. At least they did while we were there! www.pancakes.amsterdam
Aneka Rasa Indonesian restaurant – The “Rice Table” (Rijsttafel) which has become something of a cultural tradition in Amsterdam was very popular with all our friends. You get a little of everything, including prawn and chicken satay, vegetable dishes, rice and dessert. And besides beer they have mini bottles of prosecco too if this takes your fancy! http://anekarasa.nl/
Dwaze Zaken – a cosy cafe just opposite the pancakes place. A great place to hang out with friends for a coffee and some lunch. http://www.dwazezaken.nl/
In de Olofspoort – We knew we had to try out some jenever, or Dutch gin while in Amsterdam. This bar, which is in a historic building that was built in 1618, offers over 200 different spirits including traditional and exotic local jenevers. I don’t think we could have found a cosier, more authentic-feeling place to while away a few hours. And the jenever wasn’t too bad either! They also have draught Belgian beer and wine, if preferred. http://www.olofspoort.com/
No trip is complete without a little shopping, and we found some great toys for the kids at this little shop which has very cleverly rigged up many of the toys so they move around in the shop window and overhead while you browse. Definitely an attention-grabber! As was this bicycle laden with ducks and flowers. http://knuffels.nl/
I already can’t wait to return to Amsterdam, and it’s such a short flight as well! I need to get back to the spa to have an actual treatment, as well as check out the museums and loads more. I hear the tulips are incredible in the spring, so that’s one excuse to return! Check out the hotel we stayed in via this link, if you’re interested.
Have you been to Amsterdam? I’d love to hear about the places you visited and liked there…do leave me a comment!
If you enjoyed this post you might like to read about exploring Richmond Park or Bushy Park in London, two of the famous Royal Parks not to be missed!