25 canal houses = 1 extraordinary hotel
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When I think of Amsterdam, I think of canals. Of course, that’s because I have a not-so-secret crush on canal cities. In fact, I think my ideal European tour would be a leisurely survey by water of Amsterdam, Venice, Bruges and Saint Petersburg, preferably while staying in hotels set upon canals. To complete the fantasy, it would help to somehow be propelled back in time, so I could lounge around in a long garnet-colored velvet dress without looking eccentric.
Though I’m still working on the time-travel-with-velvet-dress part of my fantasy, I have located the perfect place in Amsterdam to stay at. And it’s the five star Hotel Pulitzer, an extraordinary establishment constructed of 25 converted canal houses dating from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
What exactly is a canal house? According to the city of Amsterdam’s Municipal Department for Preservation and Restoration of Historic Buildings and Sites (now that’s a mouthful), “Canal houses, usually built as residences for wealthy citizens, determine the Amsterdam cityscape. They are characterised by narrow, relatively tall facades, often crowned by richly ornamented gable tops.” In other words, the canal house is what our mind’s eye gloms onto when we imagine architectural Amsterdam.
Overlooking the Prinsengracht Canal in central Amsterdam, the Hotel Pulitzer boasts 230 guestrooms decorated with exposed beams and timber flooring and canal, courtyard or garden views. The luxurious marble bathrooms are decorated with hand-painted Dutch tiles.
The lobby is filled with leather armchairs, plump sofas and fragrant flower arrangements. As you explore the hotel, you’ll find a wealth of passageways and courtyards revealing many original architectural details: baroque plasterwork, marble staircases and wooden beams. And, if you get really lucky, you’ll find George Clooney — Ocean’s 12 was filmed on location at the Pulitzer. (If you do see him, tell him I’ll always remember Vegas!)
Location: Prinsengracht 315-331, Amsterdam 1016 GZ, The Netherlands; 20 kilometers from the airport.
Luxury style: Unique, historic and traditionally luxurious. You’ll feel transported back in time. (Tulip bulbs, anyone?) Also good for business travelers — the Pulitzer has 10 conference rooms, a business center and wireless Internet access in public areas.
What we’ve heard: The hotel has its own private boat launch, built in 1909. Sightseeing trips leave three times a day from its mooring in front of the hotel. Many attractions, including the Anne Frank House and Kalverstraat shopping street and Centraal Station, are within easy walking distance. For a tranquil night’s sleep, avoid guestrooms overlooking the street — the hotel across the street can be noisy in the morning.
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