The main international airport is Schiphol (www.schiphol.com), 25 kilometres from the hotel. 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 driving, the best route to take from Schiphol is the A10, which leads into the A4.
Worth getting out of bed for
The hotel is more of a homebase from which to explore the city, but you can flip through the library’s tomes if you’re in need of some downtime. Set by Prisengracht canal, the stay is well-placed for ticking off Amsterdam’s must-sees: the Rijksmuseum, Anne Frank House, Renaissance-style Westerkerk and the Royal Palace are all within easy walking distance. Shoppers can pick up unique pieces in the indie boutiques and vintage stores of shopping haven the 9 Streets.
Flagship Amsterdam will show you the city by canal boat, and Foam, Moco and KochxBos galleries show the city’s new masters; or head to the Rembrandt House Museum or Museum Van Loon for some classic creativity – the latter has genteel gardens, too. And, if you want one for the 'gram, Electric Ladyland is a riotously colourful psychedelic installation. To cover as much ground as possible, make like the locals and get on your bike. Mike's Bike Tours run year-round and give an insightful overview of the city and surrounds.
Herengracht is an art gallery, bar and restaurant, good for an apéritif or a Modern European lunch on the canal. The brasserie-style menu at two-floored Café Morlang on Keizersgracht makes it ideal for a low-key lunch or dinner. Though once you get a look at their extensive spirit selection you may find food takes second place. Make a beeline for the large canalside terrace. Moeders on Rozengracht is a fun place to go for a relaxed evening of authentic Dutch dining; get a table outside if the weather is up to it. The name means ‘Mother’s’, which explains why the walls are covered with photographs of mums through the ages. We loved the stamppot, which translates as ‘mashed pot’. It’s is a traditional dish of mashed potatoes with vegetables, served with a Hema (famous department store) sausage, meatballs and bacon. Supperclub on Jonge Roelensteeg is still going strong, but you may find it more fun to book dinner on its boat. Farm-to-table eatery De Kas serves straight-from-the-garden dishes that change with the seasons in 1920s greenhouses. Hop on the free ferry to the newly hip Noord neighbourhood to sample Stork's excellent seafood – an experience well worth the journey.
Café doesn't necessarily mean what you think it means in Amsterdam; most simply deal out delicious coffee and tempting snacks. For example, millenial-pink eco-pâtisserie Stickyfingers, which serves organic cakes from Bettina Bakt bakery and vegan, gluten-free tarts from Rose&Vanilla. Or emerald-green lunching spot Bar Botanique who dish out heathful bowls and a wide range of croques.
Windmills? Potent pints of beer? Brouwerij ’t IJ provides the quintessential Amsterdam drinking experience with an excellent selection of house and guest craft brews. Don't try, just drink in lit-themed Bar Bukowski, whose namesake scribe would likely approve of the lengthy cocktail menu and wide whisky selection. Pints have been poured from De Druif's wooden casks for more than 400 years; stop by this well-preserved 'brown bar' to linger in the past a little (83 Rapenburgerplein).