$$$, Charmingly Elegant
When I stayed at the extensively resigned Pulitzer Amsterdam, it had everything I was hoping I'd find in the city: Dutch house charm, Netherlander design mojo, incredible canal views, perfect neighborhood location, a chic aesthetic that doesn't take itself too seriously, and access to a captained boat (you know, when in Amsterdam).
Twenty five town houses (amassed over time by the grandson of Pulitzer Prize founder Joseph Pulitzer) were joined together in the 1960s to create the city's first five-star hotel. A massive refurbishment at the hands of the Lore Group hoteliers, helmed by creative director (and Tom Dixon protégé) Jacu Strauss and Dutch garden architects Copijn in 2015-16, resulted in a fun and fabulous series of suites, gathering spaces, and manicured outdoor spaces that are elegant and playful.
The lobby — eccentric, spacious, industrial – is filled with Persian rugs, upholstered furniture, and a collection of classic and contemporary Dutch artwork. There's a flower stand, a nook of Pulitzer Prize-winning books and, just beyond the concierge desk, a cafe in brass and green velvet with a glass wall that overlooks an outdoor courtyard. It's clear that the redesign focused on making the hotel feel like a resource for the community. On the weekend I was there, it felt like there were more locals than out-of-towners.
The glam address includes a sumptuous bar (excellent lighting, more brass and velvet) and a beautiful restaurant for adult socializing. Too bad my travel companion was a toddler with little interest in expertly crafted cocktails sipped by candle light. Nevertheless, the hotel proved to be a great place to parent for a few reasons: Watching boat traffic from our bedroom window served as late-night entertainment for my jetlagged babe. The tiny fried meatballs (bitterballen) from the cafe proved to be a perfect, kid-size snack. Then there was the discovery of a lovely interior courtyard with cocoon swings and large wooden rocking horses. A truly hidden gem. My girl was over the moon. So was I.
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Two rows of back-to-back canal houses overlook the central canals Keizersgracht and Prinsengracht.
Intelligent design with a grin. The quirkiness feels very Dutch and very authentic.
This Place Is Perfect For
First-timers to the city — it makes a great impression. Families with kids who would be happy on a rocking horse.
What's On Site
A big garden courtyard for lounging in the sun. Lots of nooks for meetings or book reading/people-watching. There are a dozen well-appointed meeting rooms that would work well for private events and weddings with an edge. The hotel has a relationship with a local church where they can organize events for up to 1,000 people.
Food + Drink
Jansz offers upscale, all-day dining in a tall bistro setting streaked with sunlight and hung with pink drapes. Pulitzer Garden is an opulent greenhouse tucked within the heart of the hotel's garden, serving breakfast through dinner, along with communal tasting menu dinners throughout the summer sampling the fresh picks from the garden. Pulitzer's Bar is dark, moody, and rife with romance and potent drinks. An elegant private dining room can accommodate parties of ten.
Number of Rooms
225 rooms and suites include four Collector's Suites inspired by the elaborate lives of the characters who used to live in the houses — an art devotee, a book junkie, a music composer, and an antiques collector.
In true Dutch style, every room has a bicycle repair kit. More expected amenities include comfortable beds, snacks, Le Labo toiletries, a vintage phone, free WiFi, a mini fridge, a safe, and videos on demand. For turndown service, a plate of traditional stroopwafels do one better than chocolates on the pillow.
Bikes and boat rides cost extra but would make nice complimentary perks. Front desk reception could get a bit hectic during check-out time, though staff and service are lovely around the clock.
The Collector's Suites would be a real blast to stay in. More like swish apartments than hotel rooms, they have their own entrances on the canal and are filled with objects of desire — like pop art and sculpture in the Art Collector's Suite and shabby chic finds in the Antique Collector's Suite.
Good to Know
Drop a pin on the hotel when you're making your way through Amsterdam, even if you're not staying here. There are many excellent design details (like an apothecary-inspired lounge at the restaurant/bar entrance) that are well worth a gander at the very least.
What to Do Nearby
The Pulitzer feels like it's in the middle of it all. The historic central canal belt is a UNESCO World Heritage site, with three major canals (Herengracht, Keizersgracht, and Prinsengracht) dividing the area into De Negen Straatjes, or Nine Streets, the indie shopping district filled with Dutch boutiques, cafes, and cobblestone lanes. Rijksmuseum, Stedelijk and the Van Gogh Museum are nearby. Anne Frank Museum (and its very long line — plan accordingly!) are just a block away. The adorable Jordaan and the flower market are right here. Young kids and their grown-ups will get a kick out of a shop called Mouse Mansion, a little shop filled with handmade miniatures and dioramas that are staged and photographed for a series of children's books.
This story was originally published in 2017 and was updated in 2023.