I recently returned from the Preferred Hotels & Resorts Advisory Board meeting in Ireland by way of Amsterdam and the newly reopened Pulitzer Hotel. I was lucky to be invited along with Judy Stein of Ovation Vacations, Rick Stiffler of Preferred Hotels & Resorts and Lance Stamps of ClassicTravel.com. There is nothing better than traveling with professionals who also just happen to be great fun.
The Pulitzer Bar overlooks the city’s canals and serves classic cocktails.
We were met on arrival by the charming general manager, Alex Von Gastel. This project is his “baby” and the enthusiasm he shows is infectious.
Being an inquisitive group, we constantly asked questions and then in private discussed what we loved and what we thought would appeal most to our clients. We were literally all over the hotel together — and separately — and our conversations at cocktail time were a joint discussion of our individual observations. So here then are those observations and parts of our collective critique.
|From Left: Richard Beck of ClassicTravel.com, Judy Stein of Ovation Vacations and Lance Stamps of ClassicTravel.com|
The Pulitzer just completed a renovation but more noticeably a serious restoration, which brings to mind the expression “Everything old is new again” because it kept all that was eccentric and everything that gives the hotel a real sense of the place; perhaps more than any other Amsterdam hotel. The 225 rooms are in 25 connected canal houses with navigable canals on both sides. We not only viewed so many of the rooms but spent time in each other’s as well.
Some rooms have their own garden terrace areas, while others have exposed brick with original, restored high windows facing the canal. Still others are like mini apartments with a second entrance directly to the street. Family rooms have original architectural beams and all have original art. The “Art Collector’s Suite” houses “Hals Brunch” by Thierry de Cromieres. The 6×2 meter painting, which was created specifically for the Pulitzer, is a modern take on “The Last Supper” except on this canvas the very colorful characters are with modern accoutrements such as cans of beer, laptops and hamburgers.
The “Music Collector’s Suite” looks like the inside of a well-stocked jukebox with its own entrance along the canal. Enter it and you’re surrounded with music, records, instruments and an ode to favorite tunes. Then there’s a room type I haven’t seen before. It’s called the “Cozy Room” and the maximum occupancy is one person. The room Judy Stein was in had a bathtub right in the middle.
The hotel maintains its own comfortable antique canal boat for the use of the guests. Weather permitting, a cocktail cruise at dusk, watching Amsterdam prepare for the evening, is the perfect prelude to a night out in the city. Amsterdam is a foodie’s paradise so competition is keen and here the Pulitzer really stands out. Jansz is an all-day dining venue that’s just about as sophisticated as it can get. Every meal we had there was outstanding and inventive in a Dutch way. Before or after dinner, the Pulitzer Bar is exceptional for the décor and the attentive service. Then there are the outdoor areas that were created with the restoration. These are the common areas that are in between the canal houses. No other hotel in Amsterdam has anything quite like this. Here, when the weather permits, light meals and drinks are served.
|Judy Stein of Ovation Vacations|
Amsterdam is a world-class city for so many reasons — museums, entertainment, restaurants and, of course, shopping. The hotel is in the middle of the “Nine’s,” the most trendy shopping area of the city — nine little streets of the Old Town where you won’t find Gucci, Prada or Louis Vuitton. The area is full of one-of-a kind, very cool fashion shops, nice local restaurants, coffee bars, bookshops and interior decoration stores. Here’s a tip: We discovered, thanks to Rick Stiffler, the best Dutch brand jeans store ever if you’re picky about fit and fabric. It’s called Denham! The jeans are not inexpensive but you’ll be wearing these forever.