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Review: the W Amsterdam hotel

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This is our review of the W Amsterdam hotel, just round the corner from Dam Square.

The W Amsterdam opened in 2015 as the new flagship of the trendy W Hotels brand, so it has a lot to live up to. If you’re not familiar with the W brand then I suggest you start with our guide to W Hotels, which gives a bit of history and background to the hotel chain.

Fundamentally, however, W Hotels are supposed to be a design-led luxury brand targetting a younger audience than you might find at, say, a St Regis or Ritz Carlton.

W Amsterdam

Marriott offered us a stay at the W to support our Eurostar review trip. We were also offered a stay at the Andaz by Hyatt, which we will look at tomorrow.

Uniquely, the W Amsterdam actually comprises of two completely separate buildings divided by a (very small) road: the 1903-era Telephone ‘Exchange’ building and the 1930 KAS ‘Bank’ building.

238 guest rooms are spread between the two and there are no connecting bridges or tunnels, which means you need to exit one building and cross to the other externally. This does mean you have two hotels in one, with the Exchange featuring more industrial chic whilst the Bank has a more traditional art deco aesthetic. By all accounts the Exchange is the livelier of the two whilst the Bank side is more laid back and (dare I say it) sophisticated.

Here is the Bank side:

W Amsterdam Bank

Whilst this is the Exchange:

My room was in the exchange building. The hotel website is here.

W Amsterdam location

The W Amsterdam is very centrally located, in the Western part of the Binnenstad and just on the borders of the Canal District.

W Amsterdam location

That means it’s just a fifteen minute walk from the central station (where Eurostar arrives) or a seven minute tram journey. The closest station is Dam Square. It is very handy for the De Bijenkorf department store.

Inside the W Amsterdam

Your arrival experience will vary greatly depending on whether you are in the Bank or Exchange building. In the former, you are greeted by an art deco staircase leading up to the lobby:

W Amsterdam Bank stairscase

…. whilst at the Exchange the lobby is on the top (6th) floor and accessible via the lifts:

W Amsterdam Exchange reception

The Exchange building has a bit of a weird lift system. Whilst there are four, they don’t all seem to be connected to sometimes you need to check all of them to see which one is already on your floor (or not). The lifts are quite slow and are one of the very few annoyances I had about the W Amsterdam.

I got a warm welcome at reception however and was offered a drink on arrival. I was quickly checked into my room at 11pm, despite the hotel being completely sold out.

Rooms at the W Amsterdam

I had an entry level room, which W calls a ‘Cozy Exchange’ room. It’s an open plan design, which I know doesn’t appeal to everyone, but I thought it was well executed here:

W Amsterdam Exchange cozy room (2)

On the right is the bathroom, which a long concrete island featuring the wash basin and mirror:

W Amsterdam Exchange wash basin

To the right of the island is the shower, enclosed in semicircular frosted glass cubicle:

W Amsterdam Exchange shower

The toilet is discreetly tucked away in the mirror wall and features a bright orange interior. I particularly liked the motion sensor lighting, which was convenient:

W Amsterdam Exchange toilet

Toiletries are the standard W MOMO mini bottles, which I’m always a fan of.

On the other side of the island you also have a small pull-out desk:

Opposite the shower is a large wardrobe, with luggage rack, iron and ironing board, safe etc:

W Amsterdam Exchange wardrobe

You then have the bedroom part of the space, with a fully stocked mini bar on the left, including some larger bottles, as is standard for W Hotels:

W Amsterdam Exchange mini bar

and

W Amsterdam Exchange mini fridge

Most Cozy rooms feature a King bed but this one had two twins:

W Amsterdam Exchange cozy room

…. and, I have to admit, were extremely comfortable with very nice linens too. There are plugs next to both beds, whilst one also has a phone:

W Amsterdam Exchange bedside table

This is also where you’ll find the room controls, including the electric blinds. The other bed doesn’t have a ‘proper’ night stand but rather a lower ledge – I’m not sure why.

Opposite the beds is a sort of integrated sofa:

…. plus a Bluetooth speaker, and a wall-mounted TV that I thought was oddly placed and off-kilter.

Due to the heritage nature of the building a lot of the rooms face an internal courtyard, which doesn’t exactly give the best views:

W Amsterdam Exchange view

Whilst the textured coating on the windows helps to obscure the view a bit you can still see quite clearly into other rooms!

In terms of decor, the room is fairly standard for a W and features a lot of similar elements you can find at other W Hotels. This generally means fewer luxury materials such as marble and more bold splashes of colour, in this case anchored by the concrete island. It’s not my favourite W design – that award goes to the W Ibiza, review here – but it’s pretty standard.

Restaurants and bars at the W Amsterdam

There are two main restaurants at the W Amsterdam – Mr Porter, in the Exchange, and The Duchess, a Michelin-starred option in the Bank.

W Lounge

The W Lounge is the lobby cafe/bar at the W Amsterdam, on the top floor of the Exchange building. It’s a lovely light and airy space and a good spot for working, too:

W Amsterdam Exchange W Lounge

The entire Exchange building has an almost 360-degree wrap-around terrace. Here is the balcony joined to the W Lounge:

W Amsterdam Exchange terrace

Mr Porter Amsterdam

Mr Porter is the main restaurant at the Exchange and is also where breakfast is served. It occupies a significant portion of the rooftop, including a large wrap-around terrace.

W Amsterdam Exchange Mr Porter

Mr Porter specialises in steaks and appears to be a big draw for locals too. It was certainly very lively on Friday night and very good fun. It has a sharing concept so you order from the menu which are then delivered as and when ready.

Freshly made flatbread and hummus is brought out whilst you wait:

W Amsterdam Exchange Mr Porter flat bread

We shared the spicy yellow tail sashimi and beef tartar to begin:

W Amsterdam Exchange Mr Porter sashimi

and

W Amsterdam Exchange Mr Porter steak tartar

The sashimi was incredible, almost like a ceviche and one of the highlights of my night.

For the main course we opted for the Wagyu steak and lobster to create a DIY surf and turf. Fortunately the lobster flesh has already been extricated from the shell, making it much easier:

W Amsterdam Exchange Mr Porter steak lobster

As this is The Netherlands you also have a choice of 10+ mustards on the mustard menu!

Sides included some brocolli and a frankly humongous mac and cheese which was totally delicious but massively oversized:

W Amsterdam Exchange Mr Porter macncheese

For dessert we went for something lighter – an inventive coconut sorbet:

W Amsterdam Exchange Mr Porter coconut sorbet

We also treated ourselves to a couple of cocktails at the bar with the fabulous mixologists:

W Amsterdam Exchange Mr Porter bar

The food was excellent but the service was even better, with a stellar team – friendly but slick and extremely attentive. This meal wouldn’t have been half as good if it hadn’t been for the staff – it makes a huge difference.

Breakfast at the W Amsterdam

I believe breakfast is served at both Mr Porter and The Duchess – and you can probably go to either. I stayed at Mr Porter because, to be honest, it was a lot more convenient than crossing the road.

You can choose from two options. You either go for an a la carte menu or you opt in to the breakfast buffet, which includes one a la carte option per person for 30 euros.

Because the buffet is supported by a la carte options it is fairly small:

W Amsterdam Exchange Mr Porter breakfast buffet

Mezze is well represented:

W Amsterdam Exchange Mr Porter breakfast mezze

As well as smoked salmon and a fairy basic selection of ham and cheese:

W Amsterdam Exchange Mr Porter salmon buffet

Pastries and yogurts are also on offer, as well as a couple of cereals. A range of juices and smoothies are also available at the bar:

W Amsterdam Exchange Mr Porter breakfast juice

…. plus prosecco:

W Amsterdam Exchange Mr Porter breakfast prosecco

It’s obviously not a massive spread like you would find in Dubai but, to be honest, I prefer having food made to order and then supplementing it with a few items from the buffet. I went for the egg royale (just one egg, note):

W Amsterdam Exchange Mr Porter egg royale

Pool, spa and gym at the W Amsterdam

By far the jewel in the crown is the pool and spa. Like at the Park Hyatt Vienna, which is also a converted bank building, the architects have put the pool and spa into the vaults of the building and have retained several of the vault doors which add a touch of flare:

W Amsterdam spa vault

In many ways the W’s spa is the yin to the Park Hyatt Vienna’s yang. Whilst the Park Hyatt went for bright, art nouveau-inspired interiors the W opts for a dimly lit cave-like experience with basalt tiles and brass fittings. It’s pretty incredible, and certainly less blinding after a heavy night!

W Amsterdam Spa pool

The spa is very well equipped. In addition to the main pool you have two hot tubs of varying temperatures (one is 45 degrees C) plus a steam room, sauna and various showers and day beds. Despite the hotel operating at full capacity it was never crowded, either.

W Amsterdam spa changing room

There is also a fairly small gym in the Bank building:

W Amsterdam gym

Conclusion

So, how was my stay at the W Amsterdam? All things considered I was very impressed.

Whilst the rooms are bog standard for a W – and not particularly inspired by the local heritage or history – the W Amsterdam really shines thanks to its public spaces, restaurants, pool and spa. I was really impressed with dinner at Mr Porter and the spa became one of my favourite hotel spas ever.

With both the Bank and Exchange buildings the W Amsterdam offers two different hotel experiences in one, so you can really tailor your stay to your preferences. Want to enjoy the nightlife Amsterdam has to offer? Stay at the Exchange. If you’re looking for something more laid back and upscale then the Bank is probably more up your street.

Rates at the W Amsterdam start from €600 per night in June or 70,000 Bonvoy points. You can find out more, and book, on the hotel website here.


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Comments (34)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Nathan says:

    When I think of the W hotel chain and their astoundingly hideous approach to design I can only say that everyone is an artist but most should never exhibit.

  • Peggerz says:

    Still waiting for the W Edinburgh to open. In addition to any other issue – like it’s nickname – there does seem to be a major design problem with the ‘ribbon’ emerging from the ground on its way skyward.. This has been sectioned off for at least 2 years now and there doesn’t seem to be a solution.

  • Richie says:

    The only orange tolerable in a hotel room is chocolates, fruit, juice or liqueur.
    One egg really is not enough, just mean.
    Do Melia do the Innside hotel room concept better?

  • Lottie says:

    Unfortunately the room has put me right off, if I have paid 600 euro per night I don’t want to be able to see my partner flossing his teeth.

  • Ruralite says:

    I’m sorry, I like modern but a bathroom open to the main room/sleeping area, even if I am travelling with someone very familiar to me, and a toilet in migraine inducing Netherlands orange just does not appeal to me at all!

  • Brian says:

    I would certainly hope to be quickly checked in at 11pm!! Or did you mean 11am??

  • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

    You have to love a W review because few things on HfP are as polarising! Yet again, I hate it. Especially the dark pool with weird black beds set into the alcoves. Who on earth would be lounging on said beds.

    • Harry T says:

      The spa is actually very nice in person – we have stayed at this hotel three or four times now and always liked the spa. And I’ve used a fair few fancy hotel spas!

  • JandeW says:

    As Rhys says, the Mr Porter restaurant is quite popular with locals, but he missed the fact that it (and indeed the hotel itself) is also very popular with the Dutch mafia/criminal fraternity for whom it is a “go-to” to stay with and entertain their mates and their molls (or other people’s!) [Amsterdam has a very dark underbelly and is renowned for its drug and people trafficking activities] Living in Amsterdam as we do, it is said that the W will also provide a “drugs menu” and will deliver any drugs to your bedroom door but this could well be apocryphal!! We certainly didn’t try it when we stayed there last Sinterklaas! Our room was a fabulous split-level affair, with retro bluetooth speakers (looking like Marshall amps!!) and a bedroom with a massive skylight over you for stargazing!! I had one of the best massages that I have had in Holland and wife had an excellent facial. A fabulous, hip, trendy hotel, with (maybe) all sorts of potential additional benefits!!!

    • Rhys says:

      I’m not in with the Dutch mafia so I wouldn’t know 🙂

    • Harry T says:

      I’m now offended they’ve never offered me the drugs menu during my stays!

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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