The historic city is celebrating a number of milestones, most importantly, the 400th anniversary of the canals themselves, which are a UNESCO World Heritage site. Also notable: Van Gogh’s 160th birthday party and the 40th anniversary of the Van Gogh museum. Perhaps the biggest news is that the world-famous Rijksmuseum will unveil the fruits of a 10-year renovation in April, with a wing devoted to Vermeer and Rembrandt. Don’t miss a glimpse of the museum’s most celebrated painting, Rembrandt’s Night Watch. Erina Pindar, an award-winning travel agent with Smart Flyer in New York, describes another reason why the city is a hot spot for 2013: “Amsterdam is experiencing a bit of a hotel boom these days. The super sleek Conservatorium was one of the first on the scene, followed by the uber chic Andaz Amsterdam which opened in late October and already receiving a lot of buzz. Waldorf Astoria is next, expected to open in 2014.” Amsterdam is accessed by nonstop flights from major U.S gateways, or via high-speed trains from London or Paris hubs.
In October, brand-new hotel Andaz Amsterdam opened its doors, designed by none other than Marcel Wanders. The look is seriously cool - with nods to Dutch history and culture throughout. Located in the lively Jordaan district, once a working class neighborhood, the new Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht hotel is housed in the former Public Library on the Prinsengracht – Prince Canal, and will have 122 rooms. Fun perks include local Zenology Mandarin Green Tea toiletries custom-made for the hotel, and—like all Andaz hotels—free wifi, local calls, and snacks and non-alcoholic drinks from the mini-bar. There’s also the Bluespoon restaurant; the Urban Spa with sauna, hammam and gym; plus 4,305 square feet of meeting space.
It seems there’s no end in sight to the new designer additions to Amsterdam’s hotel scene. And this is the year to take a jaunt to the Dutch capital, as it celebrates a bevy of milestones and the opening of the Rijksmuseum after a 10-year renovation. Looking for a sexy hotel option? Hot on the heels of the Andaz Amsterdam Prinsengracht, designed by Marcel Wanders, the Sir Albert Hotel opened in January in a former Van Moppes diamond factory in the De Pijp neighborhood. The striking interior design by BK Architecture features a cool “Study” with a curated library, fireplace, and board games (like chess). The 90 guest rooms and suites are loaded with designer furnishings and luxurious amenities like 300 thread count sheets, private bars, Illy espresso machines, and rainforest showers. Wifi access is free. IZAKAYA Asian Kitchen & Bar, helmed by former Nobu chef Hariprasad Shetty, has become one of the hottest spots in town since it opened last November.
One of the best times to travel to the Netherlands? Spring! As the tulips burst into color at Keukenhof Gardens, the largest flower garden in the world, located southwest of Amsterdam. In mid-April, you can witness the blooming of 7 million bulbs planted across 70 acres, with plenty of other flower varieties mixed in. With the dollar gaining in strength against the euro because of the banking crisis in Cyprus, now is truly the time to go!