Andaz Prinsengracht, Amsterdam – Review
I really do quite like the Andaz approach having previously stayed at their properties in Shanghai and London. The recently opened Amsterdam variety is my favorite one so far, featuring a boutique-sized setup, great location and a slightly quirky, fun yet minimalistically nice interior design. The restaurant does a pretty good job with breakfasts and brunches, and the staff provides excellent levels of informal service. A great pick.
The Andaz Prinsengracht site used to be a public library, only recently converted into a hotel in late 2012, and they've done a really good job making use of the property. And as usual, the Hyatt sub-brand does represent a fairly fresh take on what a hotel experience can be these days – friendly, informal, with great service and a few subtle tweaks and perks making the stay an enjoyable one. And I like it. A lot.
As always with Andaz, the staff members are referred to as »hosts« and will get you checked in using their iPads, a pleasant and relaxed experience, and while they make sure you know the basic perks – such as all non-alcoholic drinks and all snacks in the minibar being complimentary for the duration of your stay – you're able to enjoy the small but nicely designed lobby while casually watching a big wall of video art. Once the formalities are taken care of they send you off to the room, either in the main building or in a smaller annex across the nicely landscaped backyard. The annex is a nice option and I quite like the ten second walk across the backyard late at night when going back up to my room. Should there be drops of water falling from the sky, there's an underground corridor as well.
Moving on to the rooms, the interior design is pretty quirky and, I guess, more progressive compared to the other Andaz properties I've stayed at in Shanghai and London. Again, I like it.
Apart from the graphic art covering some of the restroom and bedroom walls, the most obvious and weird thing is a pretty big stone table featuring a sink and a mirror, placed somewhat randomly right next to the bed. Turns out they've split the usual bathroom setup into three parts – a toilet, a shower installed behind a one-way mirrored glass wall opening up into the main room, and the sink on that big in-room stone table. As with one-way mirrors in general, this glass wall only gets you so far in terms of shielding your showering habits from outside views. Other than that, the setup works well even though they've clearly prioritized quirky design over function.
I have only tried the breakfast and brunch options and both are pretty good with the weekend dessert table being dangerously appealing. The restaurant is not too big, featuring an interesting layout positioning the open kitchen right in the middle of everything, similar to the setup used at the Cornerstone restaurant at Park Hyatt Seoul, but even more so. Probably a coincidence as the interior design was done by Marcel Wanders and not Super Potato, the Japanese firm having done both the Andaz Shanghai and Park Hyatt Seoul properties.
The Andaz Prinsengracht is positioned along one of the canals, only a few blocks from Leidseplein. Most things are within easy walking distance and if you need to get to the RAI (the humongous Amsterdam conference center) it's no more than a brisk 40-ish minute trip on foot. As for restaurants, there's a convenient Wagamama nearby if you need a quick and predictable bite before running off to an important meeting, but should you want to grab fine dining type food, stay away from the touristy areas around the Leidseplein square and opt instead for something along the lines of Bussia.
Using public transport is fairly easy and the tram stops a few blocks from the hotel, try using the excellent routing feature in Google Maps to get you there. I usually opt for a quick cab ride from Schiphol though. And apart from getting from and back to the airport I always opt for a walk, even when having to get myself to the RAI.