Amsterdam is one of those cities I’ve been to multiple times. I have had nothing but amazing times there and I’m sure you will too! Most of the locals speak English, and they are excited to demonstrate that! I have found the people to be extremely welcoming and accommodating; in fact, during one of my trips, I was lost around midnight - unsuccessfully trying to decipher the Dutch writing on the signs, so I asked a police officer if he could assist me. I told him where my destination was, and he was familiar with the location. Not only did he offer directions, he actually offered to take me there himself! Off I went to the club... in a cop car!! Believe me when I say, they are super friendly and easygoing people. I hope you have an amazing time! It truly is a special place.
If you have the honor of going during the celebration of “King's Day (formerly known as “Queen’s Day”), in honor Of King Willem-Alexander, then you are in for a treat! It is certainly a party like I have never seen before. Boats in every canal, DJ's, dancing, and of course, drinking in the streets- and they DO know how to celebrate! However, if large parties aren't your thing, you may not want to plan your trip around this local holiday. This festival takes place in April and I highly recommend it. Last, but certainly not least, THE famous Red Light District. Contrary to what some might have you believe, it is not as crazy and dirty as it sounds. It's like nothing you have ever seen. Close your eyes and imagine - barbies encased in glass, surrounded by red velvet. You’d have to be crazy to indulge but; hey, who am I to judge…. ; )
• Part of me has felt that if you stay at one place over and over again all around the world then you aren't really experiencing what an area has to offer. I know people that stay at the same resort chain all over the place and I never understood why because you're traveling without really experiencing the culture. But staying at the W all over the world has helped me understand a little. It isn't a resort so of course I am still exploring but with the W I know that I am going to be treated amazing, the service is incomparable and it will always be a stylish and trendy place. Overall the W is affordable and each location has something different, like a bar or a club or rooftop, so in no way is it the same hotel every time. A familiar, yet unique experience is probably the best way to put it.
• The Andaz Hotel is a brand of hotels I love- that is, If you’re looking for a small, boutique style hotel. It is truly a delight to stay at.
• De L’Europe is a great hotel.
• The Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam is also a personal fav!
• The Waldorf Astoria is most definitely amazing! Located on a canal- you can't beat the view!
Restaurants come and go, so I would ask the concierge for their input or suggestions.
Here are some of my favs:
• The Supper Club - This is an experience, to say the least!!! SO worth going to. Not your typical restaurant, but fun for sure!
• La Rive
• Ciel Bleu
Amsterdam is a great when it comes to walkability. There are a plethora of cafes and different types of restaurants to choose from. The nightlife is great; they really know how to have a good time. Obviously, if you go to bed early you will miss out on a lot so I suggest you try to take a nap and stay up- you wont regret it! I have walked around the city a lot in the middle of the night, going out to bars and clubs and I have never felt unsafe. In Amsterdam staying on a boat is also a one of a kind experience, if you like that kind of adventure. I have done it, and its pretty wild. I would definitely do it again.
As with all places, theres more to see outside the city limits. I highly recommend you take a little time and go see the countryside; it's pretty spectacular. I find the local food can be a bit heavy, but hey, you may love it! You will have no shortage of choices as far as restaurants go.
Omar's Amsterdam "Must" List:
• Renting a private boat is super romantic, plus you get to see a lot of the city
• The Anne Frank House is a somber sight, in its own way, it's great to see.
• The Rembrandt Museum
• The Sex Museum
• Vincent van Gogh Museum
• The Ice Bar
• Canal cruise
• And of course, The Flowers
There are so many great places to grab a drink and have a fabulous time. Ask the hotel concierge- they LOVE recommending hotspots and may even give you some insider tips (that is, if you're real nice to them!).
Two places that really stand out to me are Cafe Belgique and The Vesper Bar.
• Cafe Belgique has a wide selection of beers sourced locally, and bartenders are super knowledgeable about every single one of them- almost as if they themselves were the brew masters. The place is quite cozy and intimate, adding to the friendly nature of the city. On occasion they offer live music, which I personally enjoyed because I got to experience more of the local culture and artistry that makes Amsterdam what it is.
• The Vesper Bar - Do you like James Bond? Of course you do! (no one has ever answered no to that question) Well, this place is James Bond themed and the drinks are ridiculous. Not in price, but in quality and style. I have frequented this bar, and it was never overwhelmingly packed. It wasn't quiet by any means, but it was very comfortable and enjoyable experience. After all, I just said I was there a few times, so it must be at least kind of okay!! =P
When it comes to clubs, AIR is my absolute favorite! It's nuts - the lights, the sound system, the people. I mean its a true 5 star luxury club. Just go there- trust me on this. It is THE place to be; needless to say, the line to get in gets long, so either grab a table and get fancy, or arrive early. Remember, dress to impress! Be sure to check their website for dress code requirements for whatever event is going on the night you plan to go. The LAST thing you would want to do is get to the door, then get turned away after waiting on line!
Look, it's Amsterdam. The city is always bustling and we are all aware of how many options this city has to offer. All you need to do is pick your poison and like most cities, you'll find it. But don't be careless! This is a gorgeous city that, although has an amazing nightlife, it is nowhere near a free-for-all. Compose yourself, be respectful, and you will have no problems here. Everyone is welcoming and extremely willing to provide suggestions on where to go... or not go.
Bars and clubs come and go, and as previously mentioned, hotel staff and bartenders here have a plethora of information that they pride themselves on sharing with people. No matter what kind of night you are looking to have, Amsterdam has the ability to provide it to you. So have fun, and enjoy! And remember, things here start late! So take a nap and be sure to eat a good meal!
And We Arrive in Amsterdam...Again!
This time we checked into the fairly New W Hotel in Amsterdam, which is centrally, located a block away form The King’s Palace and Dam Square. This Old gorgeous hotel was taken over and renovated by the W hotel and what an amazingly beautiful job they have done.
SO I do have to share a personal story with you all. I checked into The W and it was super early in the morning and my room was not ready. The people at the reception were awesome and decided that would buy us breakfast while the room was getting ready which I agreed to since I was really hungry. I ordered my breakfast and while I’s sitting there drinking my French press in the most beautiful room ever! At the Duchess restaurant inside The W this guy come up to me and starts smiling. At first I didn’t know how to react but for some reason he looked familiar. Of course It wasn’t unit he said, “ you really don’t remember me huh?” that it all came back. He happens to be a Swiss guy that lived next door to me back home in NY. We used to be pretty good friends but he lad left the U.S. and I hadn’t seen him in like 10yrs.
I know it’s a small world.. but holy cow!!! It is definitely crazy how small it is.
He happens to be The general manage at this particular W. And I have to say, he’s doing an amazing job!!! The level of detail here is mind blowing. But I do have got to mention one of the guys that really stood out form the rest based on his level of amazing charisma and great customer service, his name is Oreste. This guy is awesome and The W is lucky to have him, it’s really hard to find people like him.
The W happens to have Mr. Porter Restaurant, which is one of the best restaurants in Amsterdam. The place is super sexy not to mention is at the top of The W, which the most amazing views ever. But the food is 5star without question. The chef was super cool and came to the table to make sure everything was up to our liking.
Then we went to “Mad Fox” which is totally insane in a good way!! Haha just check out their website and also on IG. The music is Sick!!! And the people that work there, male or female, SUPER HOT!!!
King’s day is such a Happy and Fun day in Amsterdam. I highly recommend it. Parties everywhere and I mean everywhere. Boat after boat with DJ’s and people carrying on. And of course the streets are totally packed with people dancing and drinking everywhere. And yes you can smoke and dance on the streets, Its Europe it’s not the U.S. they’re not as stressed out as we are in this country, they know how to relax and allow people to have fun. Sorry, just sayin…… : )
We also went to The Harbour Club for dinner and of course it is super sexy and on the water with great views and fantastic food and service. This is a must! It’s a 10-15 car ride but very much worth it.
Anyways… I hope you too can make it Amsterdam. It is a very special city and you’ll have the best time ever!