What's the draw?
Let's face it: it's pretty hard to dislike Amsterdam. The only problem is that the city is so damn likeable that, well, everyone likes it – which means plenty of tourists. Upgrade from the hostels you stayed in when you were 18 and book into the Kimpton De Witt, an oasis away from the crowds that's still close to all the canals and culture you could wish for. The hotel even has bikes you can borrow for the day, making the sights, sounds and stroopwafels even easier to reach. Inside, the property is elegant and peaceful, but not without an edge. If you can, stay in a room in the older part of the hotel, filled with old world touches like wooden beams and gilded light fixtures.
What to eat?
Front and centre is Super Lyan, an all-day cocktail bar on the hotel's ground floor. If the name sounds familiar, that's because it should: the bar is the brainchild of cocktail maestro Mr Lyan, and began its life in London before emigrating to Amsterdam. Sadly we can't do the same, but we were able stop in for the bar's brilliant drinks (natch) and inventive all-day brunch and light bites. Soak up the sins of the night before with a pork belly-filled bao bun; satisfy afternoon cravings with a beef bitterballen (beetroot for veggies); or try the curious, moreish vegan 'magic cheese'. Oh, and don't miss the bar's freshly baked vegan doughnuts – when they're gone, they're gone.
Obviously there's no shortage of activities in Amsterdam, from heading out on a canal boat to taking in the city's world-class museums. But when you aren't gazing at all that soul-enriching art, the city is also a hub for excellent food. Cool cafés abound, particularly in the trendy De Pijp area, which is well worth a gentle wander. Elsewhere, sample authentic Dutch cooking at Moeders ('mothers' in Dutch), where you can eat traditional dishes like beef stew with onions and cabbage, or stamppot, with mashed potatoes, vegetables, bacon, meatballs and sausage. For something more refined, try De Kas, located inside a greenhouse that grows its own veg and salad.
From £260pn; kimptondewitthotel.com