Amsterdam has one of the most dynamic hotel scenes in Europe, with a slew of new boutique properties—reflecting the city’s obsession with design—joining a host of luxury entries, many of them recently revamped. What they all share: great locations (Amsterdam is compact and blissfully walkable); attentive and friendly service; and that ineffable Dutch charm. So what’s the difference? Here’s our guide to the top choices.

By Staff
Garden View Twin Room at Andaz Prinsengracht
Photo by Andaz Prinsengracht

Andaz Prinsengracht

The playful and pretty Andaz Prinsengracht is a former library turned one of our favorite design hotels. Dutch enfant terrible Marcel Wanders added bold details that nod to the location—Delftware-blue carpeting, bright red chairs that look like oversized tulips, hanging wooden clogs—though the canal views from the 122 rooms are reminder enough. Andaz, a Hyatt brand, turns traditional luxury on its head: Instead of a reception counter, for instance, tablet-toting gents will check you in on arrival. If you’re more inclined to admire the modern collections at the Stedelijk Museum than Rembrandt’s Night Watch, this is the place for you.

Who It’s Best For: Couples who take their luxury with a heaping dose of whimsy.

Exterior View of De L'Europe
Photo by De L'Europe

De L'Europe

She’s a grande dame, but the De L’Europe still likes to kick up her heels...and even flash her colorful petticoats. The 1896 hotel proves that even the most historic hotels in Amsterdam have a fanciful side. Here, that means blown-up details from Old Master paintings (courtesy of the Rijksmuseum) hanging on the walls, and saturated scarlets, chrysanthemums and jade brightening the rooms. Freddy’s Bar is busy with locals sipping an after-work jenever or beer (the Heineken family owns the hotel). And the location directly on the Amstel river is a short walk to the museums, the Anne Frank House, and an evening at Concertgebouw—any of which the smiling staff is eager to arrange.

Who It’s Best For: First-time visitors that value convenience and like a classic, but un-stuffy, hotel.

Pulitzer Suite at Hotel Pulitzer
Photo by Hotel Pulitzer

Hotel Pulitzer

Designer Jacu Strauss slept in every room of the Hotel Pulitzer to prep for his 2016 revamp of the iconic hotel on the Prinsengracht. Besides than the obvious upgrades (high-tech televisions, Le Labo amenities), the result is that each room is completely different. One might feature a sleeping loft under slanted ceilings; another may have a sculpture made of a cascade of vintage books. And despite the hotel’s size—225 rooms spread over 25 interconnected canal houses—the vibe is residential. Families are especially well taken care of, with a large playground, nanny services, and pillowcases stitched with children’s names.

Who It’s Best For: Families and couples who want a thoughtfully designed space and plenty of services.

Brasserie at Conservatorium
Photo by Conservatorium

Conservatorium Hotel

The Conservatorium Hotel embodies the local trend of imbuing historic buildings with cool, contemporary design. Opened in 2011 in the former National Bank Building, it embraces minimalism inside—the handiwork of Italian architect Piero Lisoni—and 19th-century architecture outside. The 129 rooms have a grayscale color scheme with white walls and dark wooden floors; a brasserie and lounge sit under a vast glass atrium. Step outside and you’ll be right in the middle of things in Oud Zuid, one of the city’s most desirable neighborhoods. Here you’ll find fashion boutiques on the P.C. Hoofstraat as well as stylish cafes like Drovers Dog. The Conservatorium’s own restaurant, Taiko, serves upscale Asian-inflected food—we love the green curry ice cream and the lobster cappuccino.

Who It’s Best For: Young trendsetters who want to be in the cultural heart of Amsterdam.

Exterior with Horse and Buggy Outside the Grand
Photo by Sofitel

Sofitel Legend the Grand

A convent, a royal residence, city hall and a hotel—what do these places have in common? Sofitel Legend the Grand once housed all of them. Its guest list is impressive and extensive, including everyone from Maria de Medici to Mick Jagger. But the Grand wins our affection less for its heritage or its spa (though we do recommend the Purée de Papaye Radiance treatment) than for its spaciousness. Even the standard rooms are generously proportioned, with large walk-in showers and plush sofas. The hotel sits in the center of the old city, but don’t worry about the proximity to the Red Light District: the Grand’s deep courtyard helps keep the lively urban scene at bay.

Who It’s Best For: Traditional travelers who want space to spread out.

Courtyard Garden
Photo by Waldorf Astoria

Waldorf Astoria

The epitome of five-star luxury in Amsterdam, the Waldorf Astoria is an architectural feat that combines six palaces sitting alongside the Herengracht. A grand staircase, intricately carved 17th-century ceilings, and marble floors create the impression of staying in a splendid museum, though rooms with timber rafters add to a sense of intimacy. The extensive gardens are beautifully planted and the location is unbeatable: Almost every notable attraction is within walking distance. Librije’s Zusje has won two Michelin stars for its locally inspired cuisine, and the spa is another highlight—we recommend the three-hour Orchidée Imperiale Ultimate face and body therapy treatment.

Who It’s Best For: Well-traveled guests who want the ultimate in pampering.

Suite at The Dylan
Photo by The Dylan

The Dylan

Anchoring the Nine Streets district, The Dylan was designed by Anouska Hempel, best known for Blakes in London, and it shares that hotel’s sense of timeless chic. Think wide-plank, unvarnished wood floors, contemporary furniture, and rooms done in warm earth tones. The neighborhood is ideal for browsing boutiques like the fashion-forward Van Ravenstein, which highlights emerging designers, or Waxwell Records, with its extensive vinyl collection. After a long day, don’t miss Vinkeles, the hotel’s Michelin-starred restaurant, where chef Dennis Kuipers uses seasonal produce in French-inspired dishes.

Who It’s Best For: Devoted shoppers with a contemporary edge.