Editor's Blog

Pulitzer's prize-winning tack

With an increasing desire from travellers to 'live like a local' (thanks for the catchphrase Airbnb), and the associated rise of the sharing economy, pressure is on for hotels to feel more like home.

That leaves a lot of opportunity for the independent, boutique hotels to roll out designs that both encapsulates the culture or history of the city and creates a welcoming, homely feel.

None has managed to do this better than the Pulitzer Amsterdam, which re-opened late last year after a huge multi-million pound renovation, the largest in its history.

Set across 25 canal houses in the picturesque canal-side city centre, the hotel is a beautiful maze of 225 grand rooms - many with views of one of two bordering canals - connected by steep and historic staircases, glass panelled corridors and countless pieces of art and Pulitzer prize-winning books.

It is fairly easy to walk through the property and imagine where one canal house finished and another began; in fact many of the original entrances still remain, offering private access to the superior guest suites or conference spaces.

The hotel was opened in 1960 by Peter Pulitzer, grandson of the Pulitzer Prize founder Joseph Pulitzer (hence the collection of books throughout), after he purchased 12 canal houses. As neighbouring properties went up for sale the hotel expanded and it now covers a huge block straddling the opulent Prinsengracht and Keizersgracht canals.

So much care has gone into the preservation of the buildings' histories following the restoration, which took 18 months and was completed in two phases so the hotel could remain open.

The Prinsengracht-facing houses are old warehouses and so interior designers made sure the lobby and public spaces featured exposed brick walls and wooden floors in the refurbishment. The hotel's main entrance is unassuming too, and apart from two simple flags heralding the entrance, could almost pass as another row of homes.

The main restaurant, Jansz, has been named after a wealthy, local coppersmith whose workspace once occupied that section of the building. The restaurant is dotted with copper items in a nod to that, as are the private dining rooms located just off the restaurant, aptly called the Copper Rooms.

The art collection in itself is vast and features priceless paintings and other pieces in every corner and corridor. I was told during my stay that there are sometimes visitors who have heard about the collection and will wander through to catch a glimpse.

This all creates an incredibly unique atmosphere which feels typically Amsterdammen. And it carries on even as you step outside the hotel and onto the street, where you are almost bowled over by a crazy bike-riding local…

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