US hotel chain Kimpton has done everything in its power to ensure its first European outpost is suited to its Amsterdam home.
The De Witt, which opened in May, is splashed in Delft blue hues, traditionally found in Dutch pottery, as a nod to the city’s history. Small parrot sculptures reside in the rooms, a reference to the green parakeets that have colonised Vondelpark. And bathrooms are fully stocked with Marie-Stella-Maris soaps and lotions – the Amsterdam-based lifestyle brand even has its own concession within the hotel, so guests can take their favourite products home.
Head into the lobby, and you’ll find pale blue glass vases brightening up the shelves between seating areas, while tiles with geometric splashes of the same colour line the reception floor and the bathrooms in the hotel’s 274 rooms. At 5pm, passers-by might see guests mingling here in the lobby during wine hour, enjoying canapes on the deep navy velvet sofa.
You’d never tell how big it is from the inside. Sixties swinging seats hang in an inner courtyard, where guests linger during the day, leafing through complimentary copies of The New York Times. Every space feels clean and cosy, furnished with mid-century furniture and verdant succulents.
Come nightfall, a well-heeled, internationalist crowd props up the house bar, which specialises in craft cocktails. Seating has been set into the rooms of an old Dutch house (built in 1645) and decorated with heritage wooden panelling from nearby buildings.
At Wyers Bar and Restaurant, Chef SammyD serves breakfast, brunch, lunch and dinner. Sammy relocated to Amsterdam from the US with his family to help Kimpton with the opening and is still working long days perfecting his Sicilian-inspired menu at the time of our visit.
Breakfast items include all the usual suspects plus an inspired quinoa bowl and the playful gangster granola. At dinner, guests can watch kitchen staff prepare fish, veal and hangar steak on the kitchen’s open wood-fire grill. Kimchi bacon hot dogs, lollipop chicken wings and beer cocktails lend a relaxed touch to an otherwise upmarket ambiance. Few Amsterdam natives go beyond their own neighbourhood for dinner – SammyD may just give them reason to venture further afield.
The Kimpton De Witt’s proximity to the city’s central station makes it a boutique gem among the grey faces of the surrounding business hotels. A green garden wall flanks the entrance, inset with a neon sign that reads “Just breathe”. The location makes for a speedy transfer to Schiphol airport, which is less than 30 minutes away on the train.
The red light district, shopping areas and central attractions, like Anne Frank House, are within walking distance. The Vondelpark and Museumplein, home to the Van Gogh Museum and the Stedelijk modern art gallery, are best reached by one of the city’s regular buses or by bike.
For a quiet drink, steer clear of the stag dos crowding the central bars and head over the canals to Cafe Papeneiland, a 15-minute walk from the hotel. This wonky corner establishment is perfect for watching the bicycles pass by. For late-night entertainment, head to Bloemenbar, 15 minutes in the other direction from the hotel, where mismatched furniture and retro signage creates a relaxed feel under the twinkle of a disco ball, and DJs play disco until 4am (5am on weekends).
Standard rooms come in six sizes with dark wood furniture and bold blue and white upholstery. Studios boast the addition of a soaking tub and views over Amsterdam’s rooftops. The redesign has allowed Kimpton to make better use of a little house, once owned by the Dutch poet and playwright PC Hooft. Guests can now rent the house’s cosy three storeys and two king rooms as one unit.
Whimsical elements are peppered throughout the corridors, including gold-plated insect door knockers (we had a bee, but also saw dragonflies on our wanderings); fresh wildflowers from the hotel’s own flower shop adorn the rooms.
Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 5, 1012 RC Amsterdam
0031 0206 200 500; kimptondewitthotel.com
Doubles from €303.45, room only.
Parking: the hotel has a 24-hour parking garage and valet service for €50 per day
Pets: yes, at no extra charge
Access: three accessible rooms