Amsterdam is one of Europes most charming cities. Famed for its amazing 17th Century architecture with UNESCO status, romantic canals, stunning art and easy going lifestyle, it attracts A-list celebs and bon vivants from all over the world, to indulge the hottest places-to-be and a posh lifestyle. So: where to sleep, relax, eat, shop, revive and drink in style? This is our ultimate luxury list. Sleep At the InterContinental Amstel Hotel you are rubbing shoulders with Queen Elizabeth of England, George Clooney, Bill Clinton and Madonna, and the local rich and famous. In 1998, this Grande Dame welcomed twelve royal families that had been invited to join Her Majesty Queen Beatrix on the occasion of het sixtieth birthday. The Royal Suite has a bathroom with taps of 14 carat gold and a breathtaking view of the Amstel River. Even if you are not staying here, do enjoy a delicious dinner at Michelin-rated Restaurant La Rive, an exquisite fusion of French and Mediterranean cuisines. Or book the exclusive Chefs Table where the action is: in the kitchen of the restaurant, and Chef de Cuisine Rogér Rassin will take great care of you. Nothing can match a delightful afternoon tea at the Riverside Lounge or at one of the outdoor terraces. After tea, take the salon boat for a round trip on the magnificent canals. Sublime service and eye for detail can be found at the graceful Hotel Okura. Get a taste of Okura at heavenly Japanese restaurant Yamazato. Or book a table at French restaurant Ciel Bleu, on the 23rd floor with the most amazing view of the Amsterdam skyline. Dont miss out on the best shiatsu massage in the Netherlands while you are here. Relax Angelina Jolie just took her children there, so you simply cant leave Amsterdam without a visit to the Van Gogh Museum. Avoid the crowds and drop by just before lunchtime or book online in advance. Feel like buying art? If you are looking for a unique item, antique jewelry or Delft Blue pottery, walk to the wonderful art galleries and antique shop at the nearby charming street, the Spiegelstraat. At Peter Pappot, Jaski Art Gallery, Smelik & Stokking and Morren Galleries you will find magnificent masterpieces for sale. Eat Create memorable gastronomical experiences surrounded by chic clientele in Michelin-rated restaurants: Vinkeles (the finest contemporary cuisine at unique boutique hotel The Dylan Amsterdam), Lastage and Ron Blaauw. Guests of The Dylan can also hop on board of The Muze, a renovated 19th century wooden salon boat, for a sublime Vinkeles on the water experience with delicacies such as: oysters, bleu fin tuna & caviar, goose liver ballotine and black truffle prepared in its own gravy, truffle butter and toasted bread. Ron Blaauw (two-stars) has a relaxed atmosphere and a superb menu and wine list. Try the BBQ beef with spring onion and grandmothers gravy. For fabulous food with a Dutch twist, great wines and a unique Dutch antique interior go to D’Vijff Vlieghen. And, according to the locals, Vis aan de Schelde is the best place for classical and fusion seafood dishes. Shop Retail therapy is best in the Southern part of town at the PC Hoofstraat, an exclusive shopping street with flagship stores of: Chanel, Hermès, D&G, Armani, Cartier, Tiffany & Co and Louis Vuitton. Insiders also enjoy the nearby Cornelis Schuytstraat with edgy boutiques and Dutch brands such as: lingerie at Marlies Dekkers, designer footwear and handbags at Shoebaloo and soft elegant cardigans at Repeat Cashmere. In between shop sessions ladies who lunch go to: Brasserie de Joffers, Brasserie Van Dam and Cafe George. These venues serve beautiful sandwiches, salads and local delicacies. Revive Amsterdam just welcomed the Conservatorium Hotel which occupies the famous site of the former Sweelinck music conservatorium. The rich history, 19th Century architecture mixed with contemporary design of this famous building, is definitely worth a visit. Be glamorous and try a watsu treatment at the hotel its stylish Akasha Wellbeing Center. Followed by the sauna, some laps in the pool and curling up in your soft bathrobe near the fireplace, it is the best place in town after a long day. Bliss! Drink The spacious outdoor terrace of historic restaurant Vertigo, at the lively Vondelpark, is fabulous for a Dutch beer and some bitterballen; a typical Dutch fried food roll aka croquettes. Surrounded by locals (jogging, cycling or walking their dogs) it is a joyous and authentic before-dinner drink hotspot. Vyne is highly recommended for a glass of wine and delicious finger food. And, cocktails with a view are a must at The Skylounge; a bright, contemporary cocktail bar on the 12th floor of the Double Tree by Hilton Hotel, next to the Central Station. Proost (Dutch for: Cheers)! Illonka Brands is a Travel Journalist. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.
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