Where? Pulitzer Amsterdam, which is right in the centre of the Dutch capital, Amsterdam.
The story? We’ve been meaning to go to Amsterdam for years. But I have a habit of being unnecessarily extra and whenever the idea of a nice city break was floated we would look at Amsterdam, we would be drawn in by its 40 minute flight time and ridiculously budget air fare. We would like the idea of visiting the Anne Frank house, of ticking a new city off the list – especially one that comes so highly recommended by everyone we know and trust, and then, well I would usually sweep my hair up into a ‘this woman means business’ bun and accidentally, maybe, definitely book flights to JFK instead. What can I say, I’m a creature of habit. I know where I like.
But then I got an email inviting us to experience the newly launched family package at the Pulitzer Amsterdam – a hotel I have seen creeping up on Instagram since it re-opened following a huge refurbishment in 2014. And so we jumped at the chance, because let’s face it, less-than-an-hour on a plane with a toddler is a touch more manageable than seven hours.
So to be completely upfront – our two nights’ stay at the hotel was complimentary, as were our return flights – but food, drink and experiences were paid by us.
Food? The Pulitzer Amsterdam is home to two restaurants – Pause and Jansz. Both offer breakfast which can be booked as part of the hotel package, and both honour the cool, classic, sexy interiors seen throughout the hotel. Lots of gold, lots of marble and lots of velvet.
We stayed for two nights and had both breakfasts at Jansz – they had an incredible breakfast spread which included pastries, fresh fruit (always need to flag when a breakfast buffet fruit selection includes berries – BERRIES – as well as the standard orange segments and apple slices), and the option to choose a hot dish from the menu. I can confirm the French toast was delicious, I can also confirm Atti was very happy with his morning spread of blueberries and croissants.
There’s also a children’s menu for dinner at Jansz which offers things like fish and chips and pasta.
How much? Prices start at just over £300 per night for a double room, which puts it in a similar cost territory to the nearby Hoxton Hotel. Whilst rooms do have a luxury price tag, it’s slightly off-setted by the fact that a) you can get budget flights for as little as £50 and b) it’s so close to the UK that you need only stay for two or three nights. So, split between two people, it still works out under £500 each for a weekend city break.
If you wanted the full Pulitzer family package which includes breakfast, tickets to NEMO Science Museum, dinner in Jansz (worth £130), dessert decorating with the chef and personal concierge services to tailor your trip, prices start from £839 for two adults and two children for two nights in a Family Room, Connecting Room or Family Suite.
How to get there? Flying is the easiest option with multiple flights daily from most major UK airports – we flew with Easyjet from Stansted (hence the super 40-min fly time). You can of course drive, or get the Eurostar which takes around four hours from St Pancras and costs as little as £35 one-way.
What’s nearby? Aside from the glorious interiors, one of the best selling points of the Pulitzer is its location. It’s about a two-minute walk from the Anne Frank house (although tickets need to be booked in advance – they come online two months before each date), ten-minutes from Dam Square and the centre of the city where all the shops and tourist areas are. We also walked back from the NEMO Science Museum (about 25 minutes) as well as Vondelpark (about 20 minutes).
Recommendations? As the weather was glorious we tried to make the most of it – both by taking a canal tour (which just about managed to interest a toddler enough for the full-hour, so long as he had ample snacks), and by exploring Vondelpark which was the most recommended park by you lovely lot on Instagram. Food-wise we had an absolutely cracking bowl of Viatnamese street food from Foodhallen (about £20 for both of us – we let Atti just pick from our bowls and have his own snacks too) which I am still day-dreaming about. I always like to hunt out a food hall in a new city as I find it tends to be a cheap and easy way to hit the cool, hipster food places and always works out as a delicious lunch option and Foodhallen was no exception.
OH and we went to the Tony Chocolonely superstore in Amsterdam central which not only had every flavour of their infamous chocolate imaginable, but also offered free samples of said flavours. The bars worked out about 70p cheaper than at home too. Win, win.
Most people recommended we get about by bike in Amsterdam and it’s super easy to hire one (in fact the Pulitzer actually have bikes stationed outside the hotel), but as we went on such a hot, busy weekend in August and I haven’t cycled in about a decade, I chickened out of sightseeing with Atti strapped to the back of my cycle. I know, I know, I am a wimp. Please continue to heckle me.
Best bits? I loved how old the city felt and how full of a unique character that I haven’t seen anywhere else it was – it’s made up of 165 (thank you, Google) canals, so you are surrounded by water, boats and bridges which gives it a lovely laid-back vibe.
I also have been overwhelmed with love for the white chocolate stroopwaffles I picked up from Schiphol Airport on the way home.
My favourite part of the hotel was actually our bathroom – it was great that it had a bath and shower, but it was all marble and gold taps and just really my dream hotel bathroom. Oh and the breakfast was by far one of the best hotel offerings I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating!
Worst bits? I think the only thing we (I had to text my boyfriend whilst writing this part for help) could think of was that the cheese board we ordered to the room after we’d put Atti to bed (to eat whilst we watched crime documentaries on the I-D channel, obvs) wasn’t great. More crackers, more cheese and some grapes would have really hit the spot.
What would I do differently? I think I’d have stayed in maybe September instead, just for the slightly cooler weather and to be out of the summer holidays which tends to draw in extra crowds. I’d have loved to have felt brave enough to try cycling with Atti and possibly had a third night too – although had we planned better and got an early flight on the first day then two nights would have been perfect. I also would have loved to have prepared better in advance and got myself to Anne Frank’s House (although probably during nap time so that I could probably immerse myself in it).
More info on the Pulitzer Amsterdam here.
This was a press trip but all views my own.