Opening a boutique hotel right in central Amsterdam – despite the surfeit of marquis-name Dutch architects and interior designers – doesn’t seem to be as easy a task as one might think. Between ultra-strict building codes, space challenges (steeper-than-steep stairs, lower-than-low rafters) and the pairing of the supremely tasteful, near-unchallengeable incumbents, Seven One Seven (www.717hotel.nl, from €400) and The Dylan www.dylanamsterdam.com, from €325), it’s a task few are advised to set themselves.
But A Curious Group of Hotels – they of Cowley Manor and Paris’s L’Hotel fame – have teamed up with Amsterdam-based Concrete design (they’re behind the Supper Clubs and recently installed the VVVIP bar in the new W Leicester Square, opening in February) to give it a go. It helps that Curious Group has scored the freehold on three gorgeous, adjacent 18th-century merchants’ houses on the Keizersgracht just west of the Leliegracht – straddling the border of the super-cool Jordaan and even-cooler Negen Straatjes, and about as prime a location as one could ask for.
So Canal House (www.canalhouse.nl, opening rates from €240) would seem to have a great deal going for it, even without the hand-selected contemporary art, the large shaded private back garden (a delight in this city of tight cobbled spaces), and sensually deep rooms, bursting with texture in the form of leather, velvet and fur, and with all the mod cons – from power showers to flat screens to iPod docks – to boot. New, sleek, and gratifyingly level throughout, it nonetheless has those quirks (random stairs, steeply-pitched roofs, raw-wood floors) that a good Dutch hotel should.