Nestled amid the canals of Amsterdam’s hip Jordaan neighborhood, Canal House’s romantic facade promises dark, dust-laden rooms packed with antiques, but such promises will mostly go unfulfilled. The hoteliers—also behind a handful of acclaimed boutique hotels in the UK—resisted the urge. Well, about everything except the dark rooms: decked out in rich leather and velvet furnishings, with hardwood floors and original wood beams, there’s no denying that the rooms at these two 17th-century, canalside merchant houses are atmospheric and sultry. But they’re also undeniably modern, with star Dutch designer Marcel Wanders’ avant-garde artwork adorning walls and clean-lined furniture straight out of a gallery. The Great Room and its adjoining bar—a winding collection of rooms of low tables where guests gather for drinks and board games at all hours—are mildly more traditional in their inflection, with Dutch Golden Age paintings and gilded chandeliers. The real star, though, is the hotel’s garden, a surprising rarity in so green a city. Central Amsterdam is just outside the front door, but no one would blame you for whiling away the hours out here, lounging in the modern black patio furniture under the shade of a maple tree.