How The Grand Amsterdam welcomes the notion that history is made each day.
There is a place in Amsterdam that sits untouched from the passing of time, a jewel lodged in one of the oldest areas of the canal city. Having gone from 15th century convent to the royal home of Dutch Admiralty and then to Amsterdam’s city hall, Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam is a colossal building, one that has preserved its integrity as a site replete with traces of the past, while standing tall as the epitome of the city’s modern elegance. With its expansive courtyards and 177 rooms, the hotel is lusciously regal, verging on palatial.
Located just minutes from the Royal Palace, The Grand Amsterdam, though near in proximity, is just enough away from the nearby commotion of the bustling Dam Square and the infamous Red Light District. Despite its physical grandeur, the hotel is far from intimidating. On the inside, contemporary accents of luscious white marble and natural highlights of lilac and orange delicately soften the monumental feel of its exterior.
Though Dutch architecture is traditionally tall and narrow, the rooms in The Grand Amsterdam are generously spacious. The interiors are brought to life with deep plums, pinks, and warm earth tones while plush feather pillows and comforters lay atop wide beds, ensuring deep and happy slumbers for all guests. Simply being in the rooms is a pleasant experience, and this is especially true for the canal suites, where a seat beside the windowsill is an event in itself: look out at the right time, and the sun may just be setting behind the tall canal houses into the pink and orange sky. Each suite is also assigned its own butler, who reminds guests that if there is anything they want, they need only ask.
Yet given all its luxuries, the hotel remains grounded by the same art, walls, and even furniture that existed from decades before. As a living landmark, the Grand has preserved the former Council Chambers, where town hall meetings once took place, and the marriage chamber, where notable Dutch figures, such as Queen Princess Beatrix and Claus von Ambserg, have wed. Today, the two chambers are still remarkable wedding and reception venues where lovebirds elope and royal birthdays are celebrated under one timeless rooftop.
And though there are many remnants from centuries past, The Grand Amsterdam welcomes the notion that history is made each day. The Imperial Suite, one of the most lavish accommodations of the hotel, includes its own Hammam bath, extended dining area, and eccentrically furnished bedroom. Michael Jackson, a notable patron of the Grand, once enjoyed this very suite. On a cold Dutch day during his stay, fans stood outside the hotel to see him wave through his window, and Jackson proceeded to order dozens of hot chocolates to help keep them warm. The hotel obliged without hesitation, and to this day, you can try Michael Jackson’s hot chocolate in the café areas. This fun backstory is a small instance of the Grand’s willingness to commemorate memories both big and small, indicative of its attention to details and commitment to top service.
It comes as no surprise then, that the hotel has been awarded the mark of Sofitel Legend, an honor that less than a dozen hotels worldwide can take pride in. The seal is awarded to hotels that have successfully preserved the rich treasures of their pasts while also demonstrating the characters of their respective cities at large. It is the ultimate distinction, given only to those that can seamlessly intertwine the old and new and stand as timeless destinations within themselves.
With a plethora of history to explore, there’s also no shortage of the new at the Grand. Executive Chef, Joris Bijdendijk, of Bridges, the hotel’s Michelin starred restaurant, prepares a tasting experience using classical French technique to serve up the best fish in Amsterdam. There’s a casual bistro and a raw seafood bar for guests to enjoy within the sleek indoor dinning areas or at the outdoor terrace, a spacious and modern setup that nicely contrasts the backdrop of dated brick. A quick scan around will reveal guests laughing over coffee and having lunch under the bright, but never harsh, Amsterdam sun. One can also venture into SoSpa to relax in a Turkish steam bath or SoFit, just across the hall, to get the heart pumping.
Between the careful balance of the historical and ever changing, there’s one aspect of the Grand that stands out far above the rest. For Marketing Manager Nynke van der Berg, “service is at the top of all our priorities, and we seek to accommodate every guest to our full abilities.” With a nod of confidence, she continues to say “there’s nothing that makes us prouder than our commitment to service.” This is easy to see among all members of the staff, who are noticeably proactive, never passive. “Can we do that for you?” and “Would you like us to arrange it?” are just some of the things you’ll hear in passing. Always one step ahead, staff members anticipate what you’ll need and take the initiative to ensure you get it; whether it’s an extra towel or full itinerary for a shopping day, no request is too large.
It’s also worth mentioning that despite its grandeur and high caliber of service, the hotel is far from gaudy. The environment is gracious and like the Dutch people, values an open-minded and humble approach to luxury that makes guests feel at ease. Every patron, from the heiress to the young boy and the rambunctious family of six, is greeted with warmth and kindness. Yes, the Grand is very much fit for a king, but regardless of who you are, you’ll certainly be welcomed all the same.
For more information on the Grand Sofitel, visit the website.