The College Hotel is a grandiose Dutch Neo-Renaissance building with soaring arches and ceilings, a sunny courtyard filled with olive trees, and dramatic modern interiors done up in rich velvet, crystal chandeliers, and dark woods. Amsterdam’s beautiful and artsy flock to its trendy bar, a warmly lit affair with open fireplaces and overstuffed sofas, and its modern Dutch restaurant is one of the coolest in the city. Surely, this must be one of the Dutch capital’s most expensive hotels, reserved only for the rich and famous, right?
Wrong. Housed in a 19th-century school, the College Hotel employs and trains students in the luxury hospitality industry, which means that its rates are surprisingly affordable for a hotel of its caliber. The young staff are all especially friendly and helpful, although service is not always as smooth as it might be at a place with a more experienced team. But that’s a small price to pay for a stay this cool and ideally located, just down the street from the Museumplein in the fashionable Zuid neighborhood.
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In Amsterdam’s Fashion District, within the well-heeled Zuid neighborhood, the College Hotel is located just a few blocks from the Museumplein, home to the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum, and the Van Gogh Museum. The sprawling Vondelpark is only slightly further—the perfect spot for riding bikes that the hotel rents to guests—and one of the city’s picturesque canals is just a block and a half away. Also nearby is the trendy De Pijp neighborhood, full of hip bars, restaurants, boutiques, and the famous Albert Cuyp Market.
Need to Know
Rooms: 40 rooms, two suites. From $140. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:Seasonal gourmet dishes inspired by traditional Dutch cuisine are served to a hip, well-heeled clientele in an airy dining room that was once the school’s gym; in the warmer months, the olive-tree–lined garden terrace is a popular spot for drinking and dining, alike. The lobby bar and lounge attract a lively scene of both guests and in-the-know locals for live jazz, inventive cocktails, and light bites. An elegant afternoon tea spread is served on Sundays. Spa and gym details: The hotel has neither a gym nor a spa, but in-room massages can be arranged and bicycles are available to rent.
Who's it best for: Musicians, designers, foodies, and other cool young travelers, solo or otherwise. Our favorite rooms:The former chemistry classroom, Room 123, has a bay window with a window seat overlooking the courtyard, while Room 101, a suite, has an oversized soaking tub in the middle of the bathroom, and Room 206, the other suite, is the hotel’s only two-level room. The beautiful people:Thanks to its location between the Fashion and Museum districts, as well as its trendy architecture and design, the hotel often hosts fashion and music events, so expect to see models parading through, and plan to drop into a pop-up shop that might appear during your stay.