The delightfully quirky Hotel Estheréa in Amsterdam earns a spot as one of my favorite hotels of the year. The lobby’s eclectic décor entices hotel guests to look and linger. Each day, the staff puts out a tier of Dutch cookies and chocolates that guests can accompany with complimentary espresso, cappuccino, or tea. Plus, the location can’t be beat. Our trip to Amsterdam was made that much more special by this hotel.
Décor: Eclectic Dutch
Location: on the Singel Canal
Room Size: Small, but large enough for two to move around
Most surprising: the riot of disparate objects in the public spaces creates an elegant, relaxing ambience.
Advantages: Excellent staff and location
Disadvantages: Popular with tour groups
The Hotel Estheréa in Amsterdam is a four-star boutique hotel on a quiet canal street. The building itself is old, dating back to the 17th century. Not surprisingly, the elevators are excruciating slow at times. Although normally I’d use the stairs, those on the upper floors were not only incredibly steep but also shallow. They wouldn’t be up to contemporary building codes, at least not in the United States. After walking down once, I swore I’d never do it again. But slow elevators are a small price to pay for ambience.
Each room seems to be decorated differently, although all include air conditioning, free Wifi, television, safe, refrigerator, and L’Occitane toiletries.
Even though we didn’t avail ourselves of it, the hotel has a gym. You can also rent bicycles, if available — and if you’re brave enough.
The property includes a restaurant and a 24-hour bar.
Unfortunately, tour groups love the Hotel Estheréa in Amsterdam as well. At one point, we found ourselves navigating through a lobby filled with about 30 Australian tourists and their luggage. We booked our room well in advance, though, and had no problem obtaining our canal view room.
Situated on the Singel Canal, the city’s oldest, the Hotel Estheréa is centrally located. We could walk to everything we wanted to see. The narrow street between the hotel and the canal rarely had cars on it, usually only when guests had hailed a taxi.
Our canal-view room was small but comfortable, decorated in a busy Delft blue wallpaper that felt oddly calming. We booked this hotel because we wanted to feel as though we were in the Netherlands, and the room granted our wish.
A modern glass desk with its back-less stool occupied one corner. The room also had an upholstered chair next to a small glass-and-chrome end table. During the day, sunlight streamed in, and, at night, lights made the room bright enough.
A Nespresso machine allowed us to make espresso or lungo at our convenience. We used the small refrigerator to store aged gouda and bottled water for snacks.
We loved the sprawling public spaces on the ground floor which extended from the lobby all the way to the restaurant in the back. Because the floor is broken up into various spaces, you could actually have a small group conversation in one area while others did the same in another. The quirky decorations range from sprays of dried flowers to framed butterflies to a a bird cage swing-seat.
Although we didn’t try the restaurant itself, we did have a light dinner in the bar. The bar food was largely fried but still yummy. Even if you order drinks only, you’ll receive a quartet of snacks.
The English-speaking staff at the front desk were friendly and helpful. Housekeeping kept our room immaculate — not that we’re messy people. At the bar, we had excellent service as well.
Should I ever return to Amsterdam, I will stay here. No question. Because I am quirky myself, I loved the fun décor. My more traditionally-minded husband loved the elements of Old Dutch. The Hotel Estheréa in Amsterdam answered to both of our tastes.
Debbie Lee Wesselmann