Amsterdam: A Mix of Elegance and Beauty - United Hub

Amsterdam: A mix of elegance and beauty

By The Hub team

By Remote Reservations Sales and Service Representative Simon Mapes

Every year we like to plan our summer vacation with gusto. We look for the perfect European destination, such as Cabourg in Normandy or the Isle of Wight. This year we picked Amsterdam. We tend to plan our vacations meticulously. We search Google for the local off-the-beaten-track restaurants and for unique, boutique hotels.

In our search we came across this interesting property called "Kimpton De Witt Hotel," which was a short walk from Amsterdam Central Station. It has cozy groupings of chairs and couches in a stylish lobby. The hotel offers a complementary wine hour each night, which provides guests the opportunity to meet and talk about their daily adventures.

After we settled in to the hotel, we decided to grab a quick bite to eat and a drink at the hotel bar. Five hours later, we were still there. We had struck up an interesting conversation with the bartender Maarten, discussing cultures, lifestyles and politics. It turned out that Maarten was quite the foodie and he was not impressed by our choices of restaurants. In fact, he gave us a list of his favorite places so we could experience the best Dutch cuisine.

View of homes and cars along the many canals.

Amsterdam's elegance and beauty have to be experienced from her glorious canals. We opted for a smaller canal tour, getting perspective of the architecture, famously narrow because residents used to be taxed on frontage, inspiring people to build long, narrow houses. They even appear to be leaning to the point of collapsing. It is a strangely calm and relaxing city. If you prefer, you can rent your own boat and explore the city's waterways.

That night, we visited Maarten's first recommendation, Noord West, three canals over from the hotel. It was a quaint bistro on the edge of a gravel square, with rustic outdoor seating. We had the chef's choice, three courses: amuse-bouche, salmon tartare and veal with corn puree. Dessert was most surprising and enjoyable: white chocolate mousse with dried beet flakes.

View of the homes and house boats along the canals

Our last day was spent hopping on and off the free ferries that crisscross the harbor. Then we wandered around the Jordaan district, a residential area where you will find the Anne Frank House. Narrow canals are lined with house boats, hip eateries, cozy pubs and cafes. Here, we had dinner at Maarten's second restaurant choice, Bistrot Neuf, a French/Dutch hybrid. We started off with escargot, followed by a ceviche of scallops and crayfish, and venison with roasted turnips. We finished with a black cherry sorbet dessert.

The highlight of our Amsterdam adventure was foremost the Dutch people, who were charming, and their uncanny ability to speak English made life so much easier. Of course, we loved the food and wine, too. The city is walkable, or you could be brave and bike, but there are truly thousands of bikes riding around the city, so it's good to be prepared for that.

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