Honor Prize-Winning History At The 5-Star Pulitzer Amsterdam

Exterior - Front - BoatPhoto Credit: The Pulitzer Amsterdam

Nestled within 25 restored 17th and 18th century homes on a postcard-perfect canal in Amsterdam that once housed the  most decadent, flamboyant and luxury-loving of Dutch aristocrats is one of the most magical hotels you can ever hope to stay at: The Pulitzer AmsterdamThis is where you should be staying should you visit the “Venice of the North.”

We’ll tell you why, but first, let’s dial it back a notch to the hotel’s history. In the 17th century, The Netherlands blossomed and truly became the place to be for the movers and shakers of Europe. Wealthy merchants built beautiful, fantasy-like structures homes around the canals, choosing to live closest to the old town—along the Keizersgracht—while the warehouses that stored their opulent goods were located along the outer canal rings on the Prinsengracht. But over time, these structures began to sag and fell into disrepair. In 1960 Peter Pulitzer (grandson of Pulitzer Prize founder Joseph Pulitzer) saw the potential in the beautiful but dilapidated canal houses of Amsterdam and purchased twelve houses—located both on the Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht canals—in order to create something new and entirely unique to the area: Amsterdam’s first five star hotel. In 2015 and 2016, the hotel went through the largest renovation in its history, combining historical elements and classic beauty with contemporary style, resulting in a unique blend of traditional craftsmanship and modern comfort. It is—in equal parts—stunning, quirky and over-the-top opulent.


THE SUITES

Art Collectors suite
Art Collectors suite

Photo Credit: Pulitzer Amsterdam

The largest of the suites is The Pulitzer Suite, which is highlighted by its size, 180 square feet, its lavish free-standing bath and its eclectic mix of distinctive furniture, historic architectural details and modern features. And while we do love the Pulitzer Suite, what makes the hotel unique is its “collectors” suites, that focus on a particular element or theme. In the Art Collectors suite, for example, guests will find the painting “Hals Brunch” by Thierry Bruet, which was created specifically for the Pulitzer. At a distance it bears a striking resemblance to Frans Hals’ masterpiece “The Last Supper.” On closer inspection, this version features modernities such as cans of beer, a laptop and hamburgers.

Pulitzers Suite
Pulitzers Suite

Photo Credit: The Pulitzer Amsterdam

The Music Collector’s suite features a vintage record player and is so liberally stocked with LPs that it looks like the inside of a juke box. Trumpets line the wall, serving as art. There is also an Antique Collector’s suite and—as would be expected of a hotel bearing the name “Pulitzer,” a Book Collector’s suite, highlighted by a dramatic arche display with books, both old and new, from the Nine Streets, as well as an oak writer’s desk and vintage leather armchair. The lovely suite is one of our favorites: It’s both inspirational and aspirational.


DINING

Jansz
Jansz

Photo Credit: The Pulitzer Amsterdam

Jansz, in a word, is awesome. The signature eatery of The Pulitzer is located in what used to be an apothecary, which explains the vintage pharmacy bottles that are displayed prominently in its entranceway. There is 3D diamond paneling on the walls and chandelier lighting by Lee Broom, yet the restaurant doesn’t feel overly stuffy or formal. In fact, it’s simple elegance is so unpretentious that it completely fits the easygoing, quintessentially Dutch state of mind. The food, in a word, is exquisite, and easily one of the best dining experiences we’ve had anywhere in the world. The menu is international, but focused on fresh meats and fish, all perfectly and simply prepared without an influx of unnecessary ingredients. Additional dining options here include the Copper Rooms, private dining rooms that serve as an ode to the heritage of brass merchant Volkert Jansz; the legendary craftsman expanded his wealth in the early 17th century by melting brass into copper, and Pause, a coffee and light bites eatery in the lobby.


DRINKING

Bar interior
The Pulitzer Bar

Photo Credit: The Pulitzer Amsterdam

The glamour of a long-lost era enters the modern day at the Pulitzer’s Bar, a fabulous, sexy spot with a spot-on cocktail menu and Art Deco ambiance. Thanks to its makeover in 2016, the interior captures the accessible elegance of old school hotel bars in a monumental Amsterdam building with its own entrance at the Keizersgracht. The menu is centered on The Great Gatsby, with tongue-in-cheek names like “Carraway Fizz,” “Dashing Daisy” and “Lavish Party.” What’s interesting is that the menu does not list the ingredients. It’s a mixologist’s dream spot: the menu items share what the drink is meant to evoke—the “Carraway Fizz,” for example, is savory, smoky, nutty and earthy—so what you’ll receive will always be a surprise (unless your bartender is willing to share his secrets). It’s impossible not to love this blast to the past.


THE BOATS

The Pulitzer boat
The Pulitzer boat

Photo Credit: The Pulitzer Amsterdam

Many hotels now have house cars, but in the Pulitzer’s case, it has house boats. Baller, no? First and foremost, there’s the salon boat “Tourist” from 1909, which has all the classic characteristics you’d expect of a vintage vessel; polished teak and brass, traditional carpeting, marble, leather and beveled glass. When the weather allows it, Pulitzer’s “Belle”- a 45-year old classic open tender made from teak, is also a charming option for cruising the canals. While Tourist is for every day use, Belle is use for small, private parties. Champagne, as it happens, is available on both—meaning, either option will make you happy!


THE EXTRAS

The Pulitzer lobby
The Pulitzer lobby

Photo Credit: The Pulitzer AmsterdamDuring your stay, make sure to note the exceptional service. Every staff member is friendly, accommodating and helpful, making you feel valued and welcome, a lovely change from those cookie cutter five star hotels that make guests feel like they should be grateful for their stay. This might have something to do with the fact that Ron Stoevelaar, the Netherlands President of Les Clefs d’Or—the legendary organization for the top concierges in the world—serves as the concierge of the Pulitzer Amsterdam. Every want, every need is taken care of thanks to Stoevelaar and his team.

Pause
Pause

Photo Credit: The Pulitzer Amsterdam

That said, make sure not to miss the Pulitzer’s Library, which, as expected given the name, pays tribute to every Pulitzer Prize-winning book from 1918. It’s quite the collection, and one that should absolutely be celebrated by culturally-minded guests. Additionally, in October, the hotel will launch a ‘Paint Like Van Gogh’ partnership with the Van Gogh Museum. Guests will receive unlimited access to the museum during their stay as well as a private painting lesson at Pulitzer Amsterdam, accompanied by an exclusive cocktail inspired by the color palette of the Van Gogh painting of focus. During the stay, guests will have flexible access to the Van Gogh Museum (typically, visitors are required to purchase tickets for select time slots when visiting the museum), where they will learn about Van Gogh’s life, his artwork and inspiration for each piece. As guests immerse themselves in the museum, they will follow a timeline of the artist’s life and observe how Van Gogh began adding color to his paintings, ultimately, becoming a master of color among Impressionism artists of his time. He dared to put bright colors next to each other on the canvas and paint clearly defined figures. After gathering inspiration at the museum, the artistically inclined will partake in a 75-minute painting lesson at Pulitzer Amsterdam led by Mirjam ter Maat, a painter, visual art therapist and owner of the art workshop, Meesterwerken Op Maat. The afternoon will be capped with a drink at the Pulitzer Bar. The cocktails—created by Pulitzer’s Bar’s Head Bartender Andrei Talapanescu—will be inspired by the color palette of one of Van Gogh’s famous paintings, using home-made syrups and garnishing.


WHAT ELSE TO DO

The Games Corner at Pulitzer's Bar
The Games Corner at Pulitzer’s Bar

Photo Credit: The Pulitzer Amsterdam

The best thing to do in Amsterdam is pick up one of the free bikes or walk, and simply explore: You’ll find a wealth of treasures. There’s something for everyone, but art lovers in particular are spoiled for choice thanks to the Van Gogh Museum, Rijksmuseum, which celebrates international artists as well as Dutch-born classics like Rembrandt, and the Moco Museum, a modern art bacchanalia celebrating the likes of Banksy and Roy Lichtenstein (walk into his 3D room, it’s amazing). Grab a drink at the new Soho House Amsterdam, and indulge in a complete gastronomic feast at Vermeer, the elegant farmers market driven eatery courtesy of 1* Michelin Chef Chris Naylor. The British chef offers four-six course tasting menus with a focus on a short list of locally-sourced ingredients, including pumpkin, caviar, mussel, roe deer and rhubarb. It’s a culinary extravaganza for your tastebuds.

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