Wow. As if I already wasn’t on a enough of a high having arrived in Amsterdam this past Easter, I had now stepped into what I now expect to be one of the most unique hotels I’ll ever get to visit. Spoiled.
You might not notice the hotel amongst the clustered, narrow streets and windy canals of Amsterdam, recessed from the sidewalk behind a stone facade with iron-barred arch windows. We spent many a night directing our taxi driver towards the billowing blue flags distinguishing our hotel from the traditional architecture of tall, narrow houses lining the street. The running joke was, “Do you know the Dylan? It is on a street lined with cars and bikes… there’s a canal? Oh and all of the houses have lots of windows”.
But don’t be fooled by the modest placement of this impressive hotel, which dates back to 1632 as a renown theatre. Presently its contemporary style boasts a unique design for each of the hotel’s suites, for example “Kimono” and “Zensation”. Somehow, my boyfriend, good girlfriend and I were given the keys to the “Loft Style” suite- one of the biggest and best the hotel has to offer. The entry presented a steep staircase climbing to a massive open, airy space complete with sitting area, King bed and open concept bathroom. After a brief celebration we learned that my boyfriend’s newly wed brother, sister-in-law and parents did not have the same good fortune. Again, megaspoiled.
The palace that was our room also offered a personal espresso machine which brewed a perfect crema espresso for one to enjoy while lounging in the “his” and “her” terry cloth robes provided, or in this case, “his”, “her’s” and “her’s”. Or, if you prefer a liquor induced beverage, you can peruse the stocked mini bar and melt into one of the deeply comfortable armchairs in front of the flat screen TV. If by chance you can’t find what you are REALLY craving, pick up the phone and call down to the concierge. The friendly bell boy will gladly take a trip to the store down the street. One evening we had a few bottles of local beer delivered to us at 2 am on a silver platter…literally. Oh, and don’t forget to bring your own tunes- this suite also offers an iPhone/iPod supported sound system.
If you decide you ever want to leave your room The Dylan’s main floor is equally as impressive. Fun fact- there are strict policies against new builds or renovating real estate in Amsterdam, so the Dylan grew its presence only by gradually acquiring the real estate on either side of it. I suggest exploring the entire first floor when you arrive, as the architecture of the hotel makes for hidden rooms and unexpected corridors.
My absolute favorite spot in this hotel is the lounge, which is such a cozy setting at night. Low leather chairs are arranged for intimate conversation across the smooth barn wood floor, with a softness that makes you want to slip your shoes off and go barefoot. A simple fireplace is the focus point of the back wall, centered by silk, cascading drapes showcasing the grandeur of the room’s high ceilings. The warm glow of this space is so inviting that we couldn’t help but wind down here after every evening.
One of the special services that the hotel offers its guests is a private canal tour, which can be booked directly through the concierge. The vessel captain will meet your group right outside the front door at The Dylan’s dock. Once aboard you will notice a bottle of champagne chilling on ice and some delicate snacks to sample during your cruise. Our young Dutch captain had a quick-witted humor and impressive knowledge of the canal’s history and operation. I appreciated that he didn’t speak too much or too often, and kept the mood lighthearted with tidbits like, “the canal is just barely swimmable” and “glad he could share the morning with us!” upon passing a houseboat’s open bedroom blinds.
My next visit to the Dylan will hopefully be in this lifetime if it is on my dime, and there is not much I would do differently other than a couple things:
1. Have at least one lunch and one dinner in the dining room. I am all about exploring the neighbourhood and its special restaurants, however based on our a la carte/ buffet breakfast at the Dylan I am confident that the chef serves spectacular meals. Plus, the ambiance of the dining room isn’t your typical ‘feeling guilty for staying in’ hotel feel, agreed?
2. Go in the summertime. There is a brilliant garden terrace in the centre courtyard, lined by trees and made private by the surrounding hotel walls. Visit the Dylan’s image gallery to get a sense of the hours you could waste sipping cocktails here.
Well folks that just about wraps it up. Be sure to check out my upcoming post in cities I’ve been – Amsterdam for a few picturesque sights of this one-of-a-kind city!