Waldorf-Astoria Amsterdam: A One-Night Stay Before Boarding Crystal Debussy

After arriving at Amsterdam's Schiphol airport at noon on Sunday, I hailed a taxi (53 euros) to check into the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, just a block away from Rembrandt Square.

Opened in 2014, the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam comprises six old canal houses along the Herengracht "Gentlemen's Canal."

What an experience to receive such a warm welcome in a reception room that dates back to 1665. In fact, I learned that I was sitting in the original reception room that the owners of this canal house used to welcome their guests more than 300 years ago. The room's ornate ceilings are visible from the street below, as intended, to show the owner's wealth. Those ceilings are only a taste of what's to be seen inside.

Today, the reception area is situated in one of six canal houses that comprise this luxury hotel featuring 93 rooms and suites. Upon entry, you gaze upon the lovely Peacock Alley. Bedecked in flowers, the lounge area exudes elegance, with its intricately detailed columns and windows facing an expansive garden

Back in the reception room, I was greeted by a young man from Lugano, Switzerland. personable and professional. As Enrico was checking me in, an assistant asked if I would like something to drink, suggesting a chai latte. To accompany the latte, Enrico served me two mushroom-shaped and ornately decorated chocolates, with hazelnut praline inside. The festivities weren't over yet. After the formalities of check in, Enrico presented me with four different French perfumes for turndown service. I chose the lavender scent.

 I learned a little more of the hotel's history as Enrico escorted me to my room. Behind the canal houses and part of the property was Amsterdam's largest private interior garden. In the spring, I learned, the garden displays 10,000 tulips.

My room looks out on the Herengracht, or the "Gentlemen's Canal," recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage site. I watch from my window as canal boats make their way under the bridges and along the canal. I have all the comforts of home and then some, a Nespresso coffee machine, three bottles of water, a comfy bed, a spacious desk, bathroom with tub and shower and a wonderful view of the canal.

Previously mentioned, Peacock Alley was bustling when I walked by later in the afternoon. For privacy reasons, I did not take photos of folks enjoying their afternoon tea. The two Michelin-star restaurant, Spectrum, was closed on the Sunday that I was there, but I did have a wonderful breakfast at Goldfinch Brasserie before starting my morning of bicycling. Bicycles are offered free of charge for guest use.

This is obviously a hotel intended for the well-heeled, of if you're like me, someone who knows how to leverage award stays and points. I wrote last week how I could have stayed at a Hampton Inn for the same award that I used to book the Waldorf-Astoria, which was listing rates from 700 euros during my stay.

Downsides? Hard to think of any, unless it's the cost for those of us who are not using points or award stays. If I didn't have points or award stays, I would keep an eye out for deals. Maybe work with your travel agent to see what rates you can get. And I would recommend two nights here before your river cruise. That gives you time to recover from your flights to Europe and to see some of Amsterdam. All in all, the Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam will leave you with an experience that you won't soon forget.

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