Crash on a Waterbed
To land a coveted water view in the so-called Venice of the North, you have two options: Shack up in one of the city’s stately canal houses or book a room aboard a floating hotel.
Stay Near the Water
Hotel van Onna (from $110; hotelvanonna.nl) opened in the seventies, after Loek van Onna started renting out the rooms in his family’s canal-side home. The Bloemgracht-abutting accommodations are in the Park Slope–esque Jordaan neighborhood; its TV-free offerings are simple but clean and include a full breakfast.
Also in Jordaan, the two-year-old Canal House (from $260; canalhouse.nl) overlooks the Keizersgracht and bears more resemblance to a Zen spa than to its original incarnation as a trio of seventeenth-century merchants’ homes. Amenities include ornate fireplaces, enormous bathtubs, and a monthly city guide, curated by the bartender-cum-concierge.
Stay on the Water
Botel (from $120; amstelbotel.nl) may look like an ocean liner, but it’s really a floating inn (complete with a new sundeck), docked off Pier 3 in Amsterdam-Noord’s old shipyards. Expect rowdy Anglos in the bar at this vagabonder’s Shangri-la, open nightly till 12:45 a.m.
In 2007, avid traveler Kathrin Rduch turned a barge into Le Maroxidien (from $132; lemaroxidien.com), an Oosterdok B&B, whose three rooms were inspired by her trips to Mexico, Morocco, and India. She keeps it homey by serving an organic breakfast each morning and, if you ask ahead, cooking dinner for your party at night.