Amsterdam is a hive of activity. The Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky literally at the centre of it all.
They say location is everything. Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky in Amsterdam is a case in point. Stand at its entrance, and the ceremonial home of the King and Queen of the Netherlands, the Dutch Royal Palace, is directly opposite. The upmarket de Bijenkorf
department store is to the right, and De Wallen, the city’s famed red light district, is just around the corner.
There are trams running a few steps from the door. They will take you anywhere in this great city of art and entertainment. Not that you will need them much. You are in the beating heart of Dam Square, where all the action is.
You can walk to almost all of Amsterdam’s landmark attractions. From the Museum Quarter, including Anne Frank House, Rijksmuseum and the Van Gogh Museum. You can also walk to the shopping precinct and then on to the city’s canals for that romantic dinner at sunset on board a glass-topped boat as it glides past Amsterdam’s fabled canal houses.
The majestic Krasnapolsky building, which now houses 402 luxury rooms and suites, belies its humble beginnings. It started life in 1855 as a café opened by Polish tailor Adolph Wilhelm Krasnapolsky. As the venue grew in popularity, Krasnapolsky added a few rooms for rent. And later, built it into a modern hotel.
The city grew around it into a mighty trading metropolis. Today, it is one of Europe’s quirkiest capitals. Where else could you board a “smoke boat” for a canal ride and cannabis cruise without attracting the local police?
When global operator Minor Hotels decided to rebrand the hotel to Anantara Krasnapolsky in 2021, it undertook a major refurbishment to restore the building.
The standout centrepiece is the elegant Wintergarden, with its 19th-century glass roof
and black-and-white chequerboard floor where breakfast is served daily.
Restorers had to be careful – this iconic room is renowned as a place for milestone celebrations. It’s where many young couples shared a first kiss; where brides held wedding dinners; and where families celebrated their children’s graduation.
Dining at the Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky
Then there’s the fine-dining restaurant, the ornate White Room swathed in white and gold. It is helmed by the former three- Michelin-starred chef Jacob Jan Boerma, who is renowned for contemporary cuisine. Anantara added the award-winning Bar The Tailor, in tribute to the hotel’s founder and the craft he was well known for. It has a marble bar edged with a tailor’s measuring tape, the bar’s carpets have been imprinted with tailor’s chalk marks and all waiters are dressed in well-cut waistcoats.
The Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky officially opened in late May. General manager Arne Heuwekemeijer, who hails from the city, supervised the refurbishment. Anantara started as an Asian brand in Thailand more than two decades ago and has quickly expanded its luxury footprint to Southeast Asia, Maldives, the Middle East, Europe and Africa.
Interestingly, Anantara is derived from Sanskrit and means “without end”. Minor Hotels now owns and manages a diverse portfolio of more than 530 hotels and resorts in 54 countries across six continents.
For tourists wanting to be at the centre of the action, Krasnapolsky is made for this. What sets Krasnapolsky apart from other luxury rivals is its ability to give guests a taste of local life and an authentic Dutch experience. The hotel offers exclusive on-site excursions from March to May when Amsterdam’s fields come alive with millions of colourful tulips.
Here you can learn about more than 500 species that have been specially cultivated while enjoying white tablecloth dining in the middle of a tulip field, surrounded by thousands of colourful flowers cultivated on a fourth-generation family farm.
Take a scenic walk or hire a boat
There are scenic walks, including a signature picnic at Amsterdamse Bos. Guests can take a boat out on the lake or feed sheep at a farm, all specially curated by the hotel’s team. For shopaholic Australian guests, the hotel offers an exclusive experience at the high-end boutiques and ateliers of new Dutch designers.
As Amsterdam is the City of Diamonds, Krasnapolsky can arrange for a behind-the-scenes tour at a four-generation diamond atelier to see how these fine stones are cut and polished and learn about the four Cs – cut, colour, clarity and carat. Enjoy a glass of champagne while your precious heirlooms are cleaned and return to the hotel by canal boat or a chauffeured Bentley.
No visit to Amsterdam is complete without a bike experience. Hop on an Anantara bicycle to discover the city’s labyrinthine alleys with a connoisseur guide. You will ride past historical landmarks, stopping at Albert Cuyp Market to taste the warm and tasty stroopwafels made in front of you. End your bike adventure with a swig of Jenever (aka Dutch gin), a strong alcoholic spirit distilled from grain and flavoured with juniper.
Spot a canal house from your window
We stayed in the contemporary wing of Krasnapolsky in Suite 3076. It is elegantly decorated in warm shades of grey with wooden floors, a king-sized bed, a desk, a sitting room with a sofa, a comfy armchair, and a dining table for four. The generous-sized bathroom has a separate deep bath, a dark grey granite wash basin for two and a separate shower room with a rain shower that could easily fit two people.
We loved the cool-looking geometric lighting over the dining room which complemented the cutting-edge design of the suite. At 34 square metres, the suite certainly beats the size of a one-bedroom apartment in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs.
I peer outside our tall windows and spot a canal house built in 1632. Outside the busy thoroughfare, there is a myriad of small stalls from an Asian wok kitchen to Lebanese fast
food. It’s a sharp contrast to the early morning scene, where dozens of rather large seagulls pick at plastic bins while feasting on the previous night’s leftovers. That’s city life for you.
Where to drink
We loved the cocktail tasting at Bar The Tailor, where we shared Dutch bites such as
bitterballen (like meatballs) and sweet potato fries served with mayonnaise. Two
mixologists turned out some stunning concoctions including the Silken Skein with Roku
gin, Manzanilla sherry, Sakura bitters, bergamot and calamansi, watermelon and mint.
Breakfast at the majestic Wintergarden is a feast for people watching. There is such a wide array of nationalities, including Asians, Australians, Londoners, Americans and Middle Eastern guests. Almost a United Nations brekkie experience.
How mich does it cost?
If money is not an issue, you can choose to stay at Krasnapolsky’s President Suite with two bedrooms at 70 square metres. It is spacious enough for a family of four. But the grand prize is the impressive Royal Suite, all 150 square metres of space which will make anyone feel like royalty – expansive views overlooking Dam Square and the Royal Palace are all part and parcel of your stay – and they don’t cost a Euro more.
Rates start from €450 ($730) for a deluxe room with breakfast. Our Grand Deluxe was €927 ($1505) per night.
For more information, visit anantara.com
- This article first appeared in the Winter issue of Cruise & Travel magazine, Subscribe now.