Photo courtesy of Sofitel Legend the Grand Amsterdam
Sofitel Legend the Grand Amsterdam
Originally a 15th-century convent, with stints as the headquarters of the Dutch Admiralty and Amsterdam’s town hall, the Sofitel Legend the Grand Amsterdam—or simply, the Grand—presides over the heart of the old city. An imposing brick facade flanked by canals, within a stone’s throw of Dam Square and De Oude Kerk, the Grand would be a legend even without Sofitel’s designation. The grand entrance courtyard hasn’t changed since its construction in the 17th century, a heritage that gets a hat-tip from the hotel’s horse-drawn carriage, offering guests a different way to explore the city center. Even before the building became a hotel, landmark figures in European history stayed within these walls, including William of Orange. While interiors are starkly modern, the designers allude to this storied past in themed suites and color schemes. The private Canal House Suites—especially popular with the modern-day dignitaries and celebrities who frequent the hotel—may appear boldly contemporary, but accents like round windows and wood-beamed ceilings hint at their past as the private homes of Dutch admirals. History is everywhere at the Grand—even the Michelin-starred restaurant was once the town hall’s canteen—and it only enhances the brand’s signature five-star luxury.
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Located right in the heart of Amsterdam’s historic city center, the Grand is within a stone’s throw of most of the city’s iconic sights—including the red-light district. The Oude Kerk is just up the canal, and the lively Dam Square is a few blocks away. Even if the red-light district, with its sex shops and coffee shops, isn’t your thing, the neighborhood is also home to a handful of good finds, including the Brouwerij de Prael, a working microbrewery, and Wynand Fockink, a 350-year-old bar and jenever distillery; the Michelin-starred Samhoud Places is only slightly farther. Popular cultural sights, such as the Museumplein—home to the recently reopened Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum, and the Van Gogh Museum—are less than a 15-minute bike ride to the south.
Need to Know
Rooms: 177 rooms, 52 suites. From $330. Check-in: 2 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options:The Michelin-starred flagship Bridges restaurant—a modernist, fine-dining affair with French-inspired, seafood-heavy cuisine—boasts several discrete areas beyond its main dining room, including a raw bar (the first in the Netherlands), a classic cocktail bar, the Vinothèque winetasting area, and a garden terrace, where lighter versions of menu favorites are served. Adjacent to Bridges, overlooking the garden, Le Petit Bistro feels straight out of Paris, from its marble-topped tables to its côte de boeuf. The sultry Cigar Lounge is a popular spot for a digestif and a cigar before retiring upstairs, while the colorful Library “Or” lobby bar serves afternoon tea, as well as something stronger. A traditional Dutch “brown café,” the Flying Dutchman is both classic hotel bar and popular after-work spot, attracting a low-key crowd throughout the day. Spa and gym details: The luxury brand’s signature SoSpa is a two-story complex with a full range of beauty and wellness treatments, as well as a Turkish hammam, heated indoor swimming pool, sauna, and state-of-the-art gym with personal trainers.
Who's it best for: Royals, celebrities, and lovers of luxury with a sense of history. Our favorite rooms:Inspired by the many historic dignitaries who have stayed at the Grand over the centuries—from William of Orange to Maria de Medici—the hotel’s Imperial Suites are possibly the most luxurious lodgings in Amsterdam, including two bathrooms and a private hammam each. Take a tour:Fancy a private tour of Amsterdam? Head Concierge Niels Essinks regularly takes guests on bike rides or walking tours of some of his favorite historic spots in the neighborhood, sharing tidbits of his encyclopedic knowledge of the city. Tours of the hotel, which delve into its fascinating history, are also offered each morning.