The Pulitzer Amsterdam, located on the Prinsengracht, in the midst of the famous Nine Streets, is what we would call an anachronistic masterpiece. A piano suspended from the ceiling of the entryway; books, antiques and artwork lining each and every hallway; even a small library dedicated to those that have won Pulitzer prizes; and the velvet furniture — oh, the velvet furniture — are all constant reminders of the finesse of this recently renovated location.
Having undergone its major makeover a couple years ago, the hotel’s interior now comes with a modern twist — and it’s all about individuality. Each of the hotel’s 25 connecting canal houses has something unique to it, and visitors are reminded each time they walk in their room. Whether the house was formerly a mustard warehouse on the Prinsengracht or the home of a wealthy family on the opposite Keizersgracht, the soul of the city might shine through in the form of a bicycle suspended from the ceiling, or simply in the breathtaking view of the canal down below. General manager Alex van Gastel ([email protected]) is something of a veteran at the Pulitzer, having been there for eight years and counting. Previously, the Pulitzer was with Starwood, now bought by Marriott, until two years ago when the hotel decided to privatize and underwent its extensive refurbishment.
During the one-and-a-half-year renovation, creative director Jacu Strauss made it his mission to sleep in each one of the 225 individual rooms in the hotel, and not one room is the same, director of business development Yvonne van der Klaauw and public relations manager Sophie Janssen told us over lush latte macchiatos from the hotel’s garden-themed cafe, The Pause. The Pulitzer is what the two call “casual luxury.” Want to feel at home away from home while still experiencing the subtle touches of modern luxury? This hotel is the place.
The Pulitzer has variations of standard rooms and suites — a handful with views of the neighboring canals and others with views of the hotel’s inner gardens, which, come spring, will be in full bloom with tulips, a flower the country is famous for. In total, the Pulitzer has four Collector’s Suites — the Music Collector’s Suite, the Antique Collector’s Suite, the Book Collector’s Suite and the Art Collector’s Suite. These are some of the top suites in house, filled with special art and antiques specific to each of them. Each of the Collector’s Suites has an entrance along the canal, assuring a picturesque view. The most special suite of all may very well be the Pulitzer Suite, a vision of Strauss’ to incorporate all facets of the hotel into one unique space. It is the most romantic suite, with big windows, peace and quiet, a separate bathroom, as well as a stand-alone bath in the bedroom itself, perfect for a lover’s getaway or honeymooners.
The 19 Classic Suites give off an “apartment” vibe, complete with a king-size bed, a living area and breakfast included daily. The Cosy Suites include the same, just in slightly smaller — cozier — spaces. The Pulitzer prides itself on its eclectic clientele, and so it has suites made especially for families, too. These spacious suites include an upper and lower level with separate rooms, king- and twin-sized beds and full breakfast.
Insider Secret: Ron Stoevelaar ([email protected]), the head concierge at the Pulitzer, is president of Les Clefs d’Or Association, and can set up VIP guests with top-of-the-line connections, such as limo or private car pick-ups to and from Amsterdam Schiphol airport — not to mention private helicopter excursions around the Netherlands.
More of the hotel’s historical qualities are exposed through Jansz, its public restaurant. The entrance to the restaurant was once a pharmacy on the Reestraat, another one of the Nine Streets of Amsterdam. The restaurant itself, however, was also the home of 17th-century coppersmith Volkert Jansz, for whom it is named. Lighting fixtures and other decorative features of the restaurant incorporate copper — both touching on aesthetic and historic appeals. The orecchiette truffle pasta, lobster risotto, and salmon with black rice are our — and some of the staff’s — most highly recommended dishes. Top it off with a classic crème brûlée and your taste buds will be thanking you afterwards.
The Pause is the hotel’s cafe where guests can relax while taking in the sights of soothing gardens.
For a sweet nightcap, or even a pre-dinner buzz, the Pulitzer Bar serves up themed cocktails with its frequently renewed menu. Currently Ernest Hemingway-themed, the menu is split up into sections based off of some of the author’s most well-known works, such as “The Old Man and the Sea,” “A Farewell to Arms” and “The Lost Generation.” Feeling a bit peckish? The bar offers homemade bitterballen, a traditional Dutch starter consisting of fried meatballs accompanied with an apple mustard sauce.
Guests can also take day or night boat tours on the Pulitzer’s personal saloon boat, named Tourist. The boat is from 1909 and has previously serviced Winston Churchill and his dog, along with Queen Wilhelmina.
What else makes the hotel so special is that it is in the heart of the city, easily accessible to some of the most sought-out landmarks and museums Amsterdam has to offer, such as the Anne Frank House, the Van Gogh Museum and the Rijksmuseum — most under two miles away — not to mention great shopping locations like Pieter Cornelisz on the Hooftstraat for Gucci, Tiffany’s, Dior and the like, where the hotel has connections for special deliveries, along with the Utrechtsestraat and Haarlemmerstraat for boutiques and shops featuring many Dutch and Swedish designers.
While the hotel is keen on the aesthetic appeal that most Millennials in particular crave, the city itself is a cultural hub that youthful travelers will find they can truly thrive in.
There are over 70 museums throughout the city to enjoy and explore, so all you have to do is simply take your pick. For art, visit the Moco Museum, featuring international street artists, such as the likes of the mysterious British Banksy; for history, there is the Amsterdam Museum, the Museum of Bags and Purses, which houses one of the world’s most extensive collections from the Middle Ages to today or the Museum of the Canal Houses, which outlines the structure of the city and how it is held up and supported by piles of wooden beams below the city’s surface; for culture, head to the Foam Photography Museum, the EYE Filmmuseum, which offers themed exhibitions and film showings to fit its themes, the Museum of Prostitution, located in the heart of the Red Light District explaining the practice of prostitution as a profession nationwide along with the stories of those working in the industry or the Hash Marihuana & Hemp Museum, because, let’s face it — this is Amsterdam — and what would Amsterdam be without a museum dedicated to the history and usage of its favorite legal drug of choice?
Speaking of which, coffeeshops are everywhere, and they offer different blends and strains of marijuana, as well as marijuana-infused treats such as “space” brownies and cookies along with weed-free treats, such as the classic Dutch stroopwafel, varieties of tea, coffee and hot chocolate. Our favorite spot was Abraxas, only a nine-minute walk away from the Pulitzer, where we enjoyed a relaxing indica among friends over a hot and soothing cup of ruby red rooibos.
To feed your traditional Dutch cravings, we recommend Moeders, a restaurant decorated with photos of mothers from staff and visitors collected over the years that dishes out classics such as hotchpotch (mashed potatoes with veggies and meats), suddervlees (stewed beef with boiled potatoes and cabbage), homemade speculoos ice cream, and apple pie. For traditional Dutch pancakes, there is Pancakes! Amsterdam, which offers a variety of both savory and sweet Dutch and American-style pancakes. The Croissanterie Hans Egstorf is also a must to further curb your sweet tooth — and your munchies — where stroopwafel are made fresh to-go on the spot.