The main international airport is Schiphol (www.schiphol.com). Direct trains leave Schiphol for Amsterdams Centraal Station every 10 minutes between 6am and 1am; the journey takes 15–20 minutes.
Centraal Station has high-speed links with Paris (in four hours), Brussels (in three hours) and further afield, as well as national connections to cities like the Hague and Rotterdam.
Parking in Amsterdam is a headache, so driving is best avoided; do as the locals do and rent a bicycle once you're there. Public transport is also very efficient, with trams and canal buses linking up all over town: visit GVB for timetables and tickets (www.gvb.nl). If you are arriving on four wheels, the main roads that lead to the College Hotel are the A4 and the A10.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel is a 10-minute walk from Museum Square and the trendy De Pijp district. Start your day going dotty for elaborate Delftware and lingering over luminous Vermeer and Van Gogh paintings in the Rijksmuseum (+31 20 674 7000, www.rijksmuseum.nl). If you can't get enough of the Netherlands' most noted artist, the Van Gogh Museum (+31 20 570 5200, www.vangoghmuseum.nl) is a 10-minute walk away on Paulus Potterstraat; his sophisticated 'selfies', tortured florals and lesser-known studies of peasant life are included in this fascinating collection. Then fast forward in time with a visit to the Stedelijk Museum (+31 20 573 2911, www.stedelijk.nl), which showcases intriguing modern art from the Netherlands and beyond. After cramming in centuyries of Dutch culture, head to the De Pijp district for chic boutiques and designer dining.
Le Garage on Ruysdaelstraat (+31 20 679 7176) is a cross between a Paris brasserie, with mirrors and red banquettes, and an Italian trattoria, with culinary touches from Asia, too. It is run by restaurateur and TV celebrity Joop Braakhekke, and big with a starry Dutch crowd, so book ahead to get a table. The Mansion (+31 20 616 6664) on Hobbemastraat is the new restaurant-lounge of the moment, with ostrich leather on the walls, and paintings on the seasons. It serves Cantonese and Peking cuisine upstairs, with four cocktail bars downstairs; the basement has private rooms with butlers. Look out for the ostrich leather on the walls and ceiling paintings.