Pulitzer Amsterdam boutique hotel is a reinvented Dutch masterpiece. Set within 25 linked canal houses dating back to the 17th century, the hotel enriches its historic beamed ceilings, fireplaces and antiques with contemporary art and Dutch design, all set within the Unesco-protected Canal Ring. Take in the architecture from the canals on the hotel’s vintage boat or prepare for art at Amsterdam’s renowned museums in Pulitzer’s Collectors Suites, which are each decorated with impressive collections of art, antiques, books and music. Throughout the day, hip Jansz restaurant on the canal offers classic bistro dishes and some of the city’s best people-watching.
Noon, flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.
Double rooms from £463.92 (€548), including tax at 9 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional local city tax of 7% per room per night on check-out and an additional room tax of €3.00 per person per night on check-out.
Rates do not include breakfast; available for €33 a day at Jansz or Pulitzer Garden.
Tour the canals in the hotel’s teak salon boat. Built in 1909 and immaculately refurbished, the vessel departs on daily 90-minute tours, for €45 per adult and €22 per child (3-12 years). Please check with the concierge for specific departure times.
Opt for a Canal View Room to take advantage of the spectacular setting. Several suites are devoted to the arts, including books, music and antiques, but the Art Collector’s Suite is a particular treasure, with the walls and floors packed with paintings and sculptures, for a collection to rival one of the city’s exceptional museums.
Bring cycling attire: the city is a haven for cyclists, and Pulitzer provides bike repair kits in every room to ease fear of flat tires.
The hotel offers one wheelchair-accessible room on the ground floor, with wider doorways and an adjustable bed.
Welcome. Children under three can use a baby cot at no charge, but be warned that the stairs can be difficult to navigate with a pram. An extra bed can be added (€25 a night for kids aged 4-12, €45 a night for over-12s).
Take a table by the big windows overlooking the canal to enjoy breezes and the best people-watching.
Pay tribute to the impeccably stylish namesake Volkert Jansz with minimalist, modern attire. Crisp blouses and skinny pants are perfect.
Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Jansz serves contemporary bistro fare in a bright space overlooking the canal. Named for a 17-century craftsman respected for his taste and style, the restaurant specialises in seasonal, modern takes on classic dishes, which could include morano-spiced salmon with couscous or roasted lamb with lentils, all prepared in the exhibition-style open kitchen. The Dutch cheese platter is nearly mandatory to round out the meal. With a wall of windows and a menu of light dishes, casual breakfast plates and crisp wines, the more casual restaurant, Pause, is an excellent place to recharge between bike rides or take tea on the terrace.
The warm, clubby Pulitzer’s Bar channels vintage glamour with leather seats, mood lighting and dark corners for cosying up. The menu includes classic cobblers and tonics using jenever, or Dutch Gin, as well as signatures like the Pulitzer Old Fashioned, made with pineapple syrup.
Both Jansz and Pause serve food all day, from 6:30am to 10pm, or 11pm at Jansz on Friday and Saturday. Pulitzer's Bar pours from 3pm until 1am daily; and 2am on Saturdays.
Food is available for delivery around the clock, though the hotel switches to a consolidated night menu from 11pm to 7am.
Pulitzer Amsterdam is centrally located in the city’s canal belt, near major attractions including the Anne Frank House.
Amsterdam’s hub, Schiphol Airport, is a 25-minute drive from the hotel. The airport welcomes flights from major European and American hubs, including direct flights from London Heathrow. Transfers are available for €45.
Centraal station is a 10-minute drive from the hotel and offers high-speed connections to major European cities including Paris, as well as Dutch cities, including Rotterdam, Utrecht and the Hague. Transfers are available from the station for €15.
Driving in the city can be very difficult, with limited parking and many cyclists. Those who choose to hire a car can take advantage of valet parking for €62.50 per day.
Worth getting out of bed for
Pulitzer Amsterdam perches above Amsterdam’s Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht canals. Get the lay of the city by water on the hotel’s daily boat tour, which uses a vintage vessel that once ferried Winston Churchill around Amsterdam. Explore the city's crannies on a walking tour hosted by the hotel's fleet of concierges. Each Saturday, the team guides a two-and-a-half-hour exploration (for a small fee) to show off landmarks and favourite hidden places.
In the centre of Amsterdam’s Unesco World Heritage Site, Pulitzer Amsterdam is a prime jumping-off point for exploring the best of the city. The Anne Frank House, where the young diarist hid and wrote, is a four-minute walk from the hotel. The museum shows films about the Holocaust, and lets visitors into the secret annex that concealed the Frank family. A 20-minute walk south, the legendary Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum each hold world-renowned treasures, including Rembrandts, Vermeers and Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers. There’s a reason Amsterdam is famous for tulips and flowers — each spring, the city gardens a riot of blooms. Buy a bouquet or stock up on bulbs at Bloemenmarkt, the world’s only floating flower market. Open daily and packed with petals, the market dates to the 1860s and holds every flower imaginable.
In a converted greenhouse on Park Frankendael, De Kas specialises in Mediterranean dishes using ingredients grown from the chef's own gardens. The farm-to-table fare is served in a daily changing prix-fixe menu available at lunch or dinner. While in town, try the distinctly Dutch rijsttafel, which translates to rice table. A spicy survey of Indonesian dishes that date back to colonial days, the spread includes sampler-size bowls of rice, braised meats, fritters, sambals and stews. Long Pura, a five-minute walk from the hotel, prepares a particularly lavish version.
Lighten up at Lavinia Good Food, a casual, sunny cafe that prepares salads, acai bowls, vegan pizzas and baked goods.
Both of us had visited Amsterdam before, but only for a few days and never together. We each had separate memories of the red lights and neon, the jostling crowds of young men on their bachelor retreats, the coffee shops and the smoke that seeped out and into the streets. But this time, as we left the Centraal Station, we avoided the Red-Light District entirely. Instead, Mrs Smith and I turned and walked along one of the city’s many quiet canals, our suitcases ricocheting on the cobblestones. Bikes whizzed past us. We gazed down at the boats moored along the water, imagining our lives aboard them. It was threatening to rain, but Amsterdam looked beautiful in grey: tall open windows invited our gazes into warmly lit, perfectly decorated interiors. As we crossed a bridge along one of the many criss-crossing waterways, we stopped at a herring stand. We ordered a plate each, and the woman slapped them down on the counter adorned with toothpicks. We ate standing up: thick slabs of creamy white fish, topped with pickles and raw onions. ‘I feel so alive,’ I said, as my body flooded with Omega 3s. ‘I feel like a polar bear!’ Smoked fish and onions might not be the ideal thing to consume at the beginning of our anniversary weekend, but Mrs Smith kissed me anyway, in the middle of that bridge. I kissed her back, laughing. It felt wonderful to be in a city where no one blinked. Rainbow flags hung on nearly every street corner.
We wound our way across the canals and found ourselves in the Nine Streets neighborhood, where Hotel Pulitzer is located. Here was an Amsterdam I’d never encountered before, completely unlike the flashing lights and dancing girls of the city centre. The cobblestone streets were lined with plant-filled cafés, minimalist designer shops, vintage stores glittering with sequins, galleries, and organic restaurants each more appealing than the next. The thick scent of pot was here replaced with the smells of coffee beans, freshly baked pastries, the luxurious creams of each all-natural, small-batch beauty shop. We came up short before the hotel’s magnificent entrance, and wandered, jaws dropping, into the lobby.
It was hard to know where to look: each eccentric detail had us nudging each other and pointing. The decor had the lushness and playfulness of a Wes Anderson film. A grand piano was suspended from the ceiling above the doorway. Dutch oil paintings in oval frames hung in the reception, the seriousness broken by one modern portrait of what I took to be Bill and Hillary Clinton. One alcove, by the window, was lined with Pulitzer Prize-winning books (the hotel’s original owner, Peter Pulitzer, is the grandson of legendary newspaper pioneer Joseph Pulitzer). The slate-blue carpet was adorned with baroque velvet chairs in an array of jewel tones: ruby, amethyst and emerald. And yet, though every detail was bold and playful, the whole hung in a precisely calculated, luxurious balance.
With 225 guest rooms, the hotel’s composed of 25 restored and interconnected 17th- and 18th-century houses. And yet it feels cosy, comprised of labyrinthine passageways and carefully chosen details. The hotel first opened in the 1960s, then re-opened in August 2016 following an extensive re-design. The creative director, young South African Jacu Strauss, spent one-and-a-half years on research alone. He steeped himself in the history of the Dutch Golden Age and imagined the decadent lives of the aristocratic elite who once lived within the hotel’s walls. Inspired by those narratives, he created a series of collector’s suites: a music-lover’s room, with a wall strung with trumpets, a book-lover’s room, with a floor-to-ceiling archway made of tomes. No two rooms are identical; and as part of his process, Strauss spent a night sleeping in each. He custom-designed much of the hotel’s furniture to fit their proportions.
We rode the gold-plated elevator to the fifth floor and admired the eye-catching art in the hallway. Our room felt private and intimate. A huge arched window gave out onto a beautiful canal view, and a chair was thoughtfully placed before it. On the wall between the bathroom and the bedroom, there was a round portal window as if on a ship. Mrs Smith stood on one side and I on the other, making faces at each other, giggling like school girls, wide-eyed with joy. We bounced on the enormous bed, tore open the free package of caramel waffles, and exclaimed over the neat tin placed thoughtfully on the desk: a complete bicycle repair kit. Our room had exposed brick and dark-wood beams and yet it felt modern and bright. The carpeting and walls were in the muted tones of a Vermeer painting accented with pops of bright pink, yellow and blue. It was eccentric yet luxurious, combining the location’s rich past with Amsterdam’s design-oriented present. A small panel on the wall informed us that we were in ‘the Mustard Jar’ — this building had once contained, in the 1700s, a mustard mill.
In the morning, we requested bicycles from the concierge. ‘With round tires or square?’ he asked, his delivery perfectly straight. ‘With triangular tires,’ I replied, and he beamed at me. ‘You wish to see the Red-Light District? What is that?’ he asked, feigning innocence (until I faux-glared long enough to make him laugh again), and drew us a beautiful sight-seeing loop on the map. In the afternoon, we took our tea in the hotel’s sunny atrium, sitting on dark-green velvet chairs as the light streamed through glass panels. In the building’s inner garden, adult-sized swings and giant rocking-horses awaited warmer weather.
Back up the golden elevators, back down the lavender hallway, back into the cosiness of what had quickly become our room. We fell into each other’s arms in bed, still noticing clever new details: the bright-pink tassels on the armoire, the powder-blue rotary phone. Outside the windows, the canal gleamed, the same as it had been for centuries.