Checking into Andaz Amsterdam, Prinsengracht felt like I had flung myself down the depths of the rabbit hole. But unlike author Lewis Carroll’s fictional character Alice who finds herself in “Wonderland,” I was to explore a quirky five-star boutique hotel centrally located along the UNESCO-protected Prinsengracht canal and designed by renowned Dutch designer Marcel Wanders.
The adventure began at the posh hotel’s front entrance — which isn’t quite what it seems. I entered one door only to find more doors: They line each side of the entrance hallway, scaled down as if they had indulged in a sip of “Drink Me” shrinking potion. In the lobby, the hotel’s hosts smoothly handle check-in below chandeliers enclosed by white bells, symbolizing church bells and their welcoming chime.
If there’s a wait, guests can kick back in one of the lobby’s cheeky-red tulip chairs — a nod to the famous blooms that fill the fields outside of Amsterdam come spring. Or, if check-in coincides with the daily happy hour held from 5 to 7 p.m., a complimentary glass of wine awaits in the nearby Library room. This communal area offers art and design books as well, a reminder of the building’s former life as a 1970s public library before reopening as Andaz Amsterdam in October 2012.
This story originally ran online on 3/29/16. Photo is courtesy of Andaz Amsterdam, Prinsengracht.