The most radical rooms are at the Lloyd Hotel (from 95 euros), an emigrant boarding house turned experimental design hotel. Its 116 rooms range from 90 square meters to couldn’t-swing-a-mouse tiny. 411 is the cheapest room with a river view.
For nineties-style minimalism with a new-millennium update — such as a new cow-bone-fronted bar — go for the 41-room Dylan (from 260 euros). The ultimate minimalist sleep is in the “Loft” — an almost-all-white room.
Canal-side, the Times Hotel’s 34 rooms (from 149 euros) have primary-color carpets, white walls, and floor-to-ceiling glossy prints by Dutch masters.
Miauw (from 145 euros) is a four-suite hotel opening in November. Its lobby will also serve as a concept store, a gallery and shop space that exhibits and sells furniture from the hotel’s rooms and avant-garde clothes from Analik and Erotokritos.
Book weeks in advance to eat at the chef’s table at De Kas. It’s in the kitchen, so you can watch the preparation of a seasonal menu that might include sea bass with tarragon or broccoli-and-black-olive cream soup.
City dwellers rarely cross the Amstel River, but the Hotel de Goudfazant (Aambeeldstraat 10 H; 20-636-5170) gives them a reason. The new restaurant is in a warehouse dominated by a UFO-size chandelier, but its adherence to the Dutch aesthetic of found materials makes it feel almost temporary. The daily changing menu serves dishes like roast Belgian chicken, oyster seviche, and goat cheese on brioche with carrot salad.
Dauphine serves fab French food in a Jetsons-esque former car showroom. Make way for the theatrically huge platter of fruits de mer and the classic brasserie rib-eye with béarnaise.
Envy is a narrow, dark space with an open kitchen and a shiny line of Tom Dixon mirror balls. Order the 50-euro Chef’s Choice for highlights like salmon tartare, quail stuffed with duck liver and Calvados apples, and sea bass with spinach in sweet urchin sauce. Now serving lunch, too.
At the old-school chocolatier Pompadour (Huidenstraat 12; 20-623-9554), the Belgian owner treats his ingredients like fine wine: Forty-eight different types of bonbons are made mixing Swiss Valrhona chocolate — using beans from Madagascar and the Caribbean — with honey, hazelnuts and almonds, marzipan, raspberries and eau de vie de framboise.
Shop for Dutch ideas, clothes, and housewares you won’t find in Gotham, though currently superhot thanks to Moss and the “Simply Droog” show at the Museum of Arts & Design (through January 14, 2007). Visit the Dutch collection’s headquarters, Droog@Home, and buy prototypes and designs that haven’t crossed the Atlantic, such as Red Revisited’s polystyrene crockery. Also new this summer: Blend magazine’s guerilla store 60daysofspace, selling lowrider bikes and Dr Denim skinny jeans. Concept store SPRMRKT’s offerings range from Dior stockings and plane-motif scarves by And Beyond to art books, second-hand moose-head trophies, acid-bright leather bags, and mid-century furniture by Arne Jacobson. Denim couturier Blue Blood’s first store is on P.C. Hooftstraat, Amsterdam’s Madison Avenue.
When it’s sunny, locals chill out on a friend’s boat on the canals. You can’t hire your own craft anymore, so the closest thing is a tour with nonprofit St. Nicolaas Boat Club. Their early twentieth-century boats are small enough to get you into the narrow canals in the Red Light district. Plus, you can bring your own wine and smoke varietals.
Take the bus or tram out to Westergasfabriek, a former gasworks that has evolved from building site to creative hub and hip hangout spot. As well as lounging in its park, you can slurp pumpkin-and-sweet-potato soup at the new Bakkerswinkel; eat experimentally at just-opened food-design studio Proef; and relax at Pacific Parc, a bar with D.J. booth and 360-degree open fireplace.
Special Bite covers restaurant news throughout the Netherlands.
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American Eric Dose spent over a year in the Netherlands, writing about and photographing his life there for Downwind of Amsterdam.