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5 Reasons To Stay At Tivoli Doelen Amsterdam

5 Reasons To Stay At Tivoli Doelen Amsterdam

The oldest hotel in the city may just surprise you with its modern accommodations and pleasant service. Tivoli Doelen Amsterdam is a grande dame of a building perched along the canal with easy access to everything from the city’s famed flower market to the numerous art museums in town. Since this building was home to Rembrandt’s famous The Night Watch for seven decades, it also enjoys a connection with the Rembrandt House museum just a few short steps away.

These are the top five reasons to consider a stay at Amsterdam’s oldest hotel, but also its newest boutique option: Tivoli Doelen Amsterdam.

The Location

The hotel enjoys a lively address along the canal, and it is just a short walk from almost all of the city’s most important attractions. This includes the Rijksmuseum, Rembrandt House and Dam Square.

This historic building was once home to a private social club where members would practice shooting skills with their weapons (this was not the same bustling neighborhood as it is today) and then later host the city’s visiting elite and dignitaries. The small lobby retains its French aristocratic design, considered to be taboo elsewhere in the Netherlands, but a sign of wealth and elegance for visitors.

Each of the guest rooms has a tiny cutout of the famous The Night Watch painting by the door handle. This pays reference to the hotel’s history hosting visiting elite as well as one of the most famous paintings in the world. And if you’re familiar with the Dutch airline KLM’s famous Delft houses that it gifts to business class passengers, this historic property would be a perfect candidate (are you listening KLM?).

The Food

The main restaurant serves three meals a day starting with a lovely breakfast buffet of assorted fruits, yogurts, pastries and Dutch cheeses. Views from the dining room to the canal and its intersection with the Amstel River provide ample diversion throughout the day. Diners enjoy a menu that focus on Dutch cuisine and ingredients with everything from traditional “bitterballen” (meat croquettes) with mustard to its famous herring appetizer, which it offers to all guests on a complimentary basis.

Afternoon tea or cocktails in the street-facing bar have become a hit in the neighborhood, and each afternoon, the hotel hosts guests with a glass of sparkling wine and a light snack on the house. Another welcome treat is the generous table by the sit-down reception area with still and sparkling bottles of water, apples and a sweet snack. When guests check in, the staff even offers a tipple of sparkling wine.

The Rooms

With a historic façade like Tivoli Doelen, you would be forgiven to think it is all pomp and circumstance once inside. But once past the elegant lobby and public stairway, the rooms are bastions of contemporary design with easy-to-control light switches, power and USB ports in all the right places, full-length mirrors and windows that open for fresh air.

Designers knew what they were doing when coming up with a modern take on a historic property. People like history, but only to a point. Then, they want convenience in guest rooms that allows them to enjoy their stay.

Let’s start with the bathrooms, which come stocked with gorgeous marble and tile surfaces and vanities packed with Lalique toiletries from large pump bottles. Extra attention to detail is notable with the face towels wrapped with a paper ribbon, easy-to-use, touch-of-a-button shower controls, and towel warmers.

Guest rooms continue the comforts with welcome trays of bottled water and Dutch pastries, turndown stories that detail the hotel’s past, and robes and slippers.

The History

This is the oldest hotel in the city, and it dates back to the year 1640 when this was once the gathering spot for the civic guards of Amsterdam. The walls of the hotels were painted with portraits of the six militia groups of the city by local painters. Among these is Rembrandt van Rijn, who went on to become one of the most famous Dutch painters, if not most famous artists around the world.

His past here is one of the reasons why the hotel hosted the infamous Night Watch painting, which is on full display in suite 105 with a gigantic replica. It was here where the original painting was displayed for seven decades. While it has since moved to the famous Rijksmuseum, an official copy is the Rembrandt Suite here, which gives guests who stay there private access to one of the world’s most famous paintings. In 1715, it was moved to city hall, now home to the royal palace, where a piece of the painting was cut off so that it would fit through the historic doorway.

While the original building was torn down, this 1883-built hotel looks as elegant as ever inside and outside. Historic stained glass windows line the stairway that leads guests from reception to guest rooms.

Amsterdam may be famous for suites attributed to The Beatles, but this hotel is one that hosted the band in its entirety and benefited from its location to attract fans from across the river without overwhelming traffic at the hotel.

The Extras

While this small hotel does not have the space for ample amenities, it doesn’t forget the pieces that complete the puzzle of a fine boutique hotel. For example, guests can request a pass to visit a nearby heath club from reception or borrow one of the hotel’s own bikes to cycle around the city.

So special is the experience here that twice during my own stay, I witnessed couples wandering into the small lobby to explore the hotel. They recounted their past experiences here. They asked about the hotel’s former names (the namesake Doelen has always been on the façade).

Turndown service here is another special experience. It brings glass bottles of water and special surprises from reception like housemade stroopwaffels. A stay at Tivoli Doelen is unique. Without the chain standards and a history rich with art and culture, sleeping here is like “overnighting” in a museum (with USB ports).