Located in the city center of Amsterdam, Albus Hotel is stylish, welcoming and has a world class restaurant, perfect for visiting as a tourist, or if you’re in need of a staycation!
The last few months have seen us do a lot of traveling. We have been back home to the USA, toured Eastern Europe, and crossed South East Asia and the Indian Ocean. We have enjoyed every stop, but skipping around the globe takes its toll after a while, and leaves you wanting to spend some time in one place.
Now we could have easily stopped in either Philadelphia or California, as we visited both our home towns recently. Just because we wanted to be stationary for a while though, doesn’t mean that we wanted to sit at home. Over the years we have discovered a number of cities that we like to make home bases for a while, and use them to indulge in a staycation. This gives us the best of both worlds as we can recharge our batteries, and still get the traveling experience.
Amsterdam is one of our favorite cities to do this. It’s a beautiful relaxed place, and while we have spent enough time there to identify some spots we like to go each time, there is also plenty of scope for new experiences. Amsterdam has enough variation for us to stay in a new part of the city each time. and make us feel like we are exploring something new. We get a comforting familiarity and the good feels of travel all at once.
Finding the right accommodation for a staycation is important as we will be staying there for an extended period of time. This time we had gone for The Albus Hotel – a designer hotel with a modern style close to the Amstel river. This is still a central part of the city, and all around the hotel are canals and great architecture which Amsterdam is famous for. It is however, outside the tightly packed area where Central Station, Dam Square and the Red Light District can be found, and it so has a less touristy feel. The Albus is hidden in plain sight on the busy Vijzelstraat, just around the corner from Rembrandtplien and the the city’s flower market.
The hotel is housed in one of the old Dutch buildings, although once inside it is quickly obvious that there have been plenty recent additions made. The style is quirky and modern, and doesn’t really conform to an easily describable theme. There are funky leather sofas and chairs upholstered in vibrant shades, neon lights that change color, and picture frames hung in bunches at jaunty angles. The hallway leading to our room was painted emerald green, with pops of pink and the aforementioned picture frames scattered throughout...it’s definitely a fun design!
For our visit, we stayed in the family suite, which has one bedroom, a fold out sofa bed and two bathrooms. At 32 square meters it gave us more than enough space to relax and spread out. To make things even more comfortable, we had comfy bathrobes and some great bath products. For the morning there was a Nespresso machine – I love that more and more hotels are putting these in their rooms. For the evening there was a mini Heineken keg complete with glasses and bar mat – Chris hopes that once all the hotels have installed Nespresso machines, they will all start putting these in! It was nice for Chris to be able to have a beer without leaving the room, and it was a subtle nod towards the traditions of the city itself.
Albus has a restaurant attached, and this turned out to be one of the highlights of our stay. We hadn’t heard much about Senses before, but we can happily report that chef Lars Bertelsen is doing great things there. The exact dishes on the menu change frequently and there is an emphasis on seasonal produce. What you can be sure of however, is that you will be treated to a 3-6 course tasting menu which has been tailored to the allergies and dislikes which you provide the waiter with when you sit down. What follows is a delicious procession of bites and nibbles. Oh and the menu is a secret..so just sit down and enjoy !
Everything was great, but if I had to choose some favorites I would highlight the Tuna tartar with sweet and sour mini cucumbers (since I am pregnant they were happy to replace the tuna with quinoa), and the Cauliflower three ways with veal and sweetbreads. Even the bread they served between courses was amazing, and each time it came with a different butter. One was infused with olive oil, while another was seasoned with citrus salt. All of them were incredible.
Chris’ meal was accompanied by a wine pairing, while I had the alcohol free grape juice pairings. In truth this was a little too sweet for my taste, but it was a nice concept. I may have stolen a few sips of Chris’ wine over dinner, but the drink that accompanied dessert ensured that I had no desire to do so for this course. The barman created a delicious faux-cocktail from lemon, elderflower and soda water. If I had known that the alcohol free cocktails were this good, I might have asked for one with each serving. Everything we ate looked as good as it tasted, being artistically presented on chic plates. The ambiance of the room was just as fashionable, with subtle grey hues creating an elegant space, and an interesting light fixture with a gold interior bathing everything in a warm light.
Being a smaller, boutique city hotel, The Albus doesn’t have a long list of amenities. That’s OK though, as you don’t really need much if you’re on a city break. The design and comfort were enough, and it wasn’t as if we were lacking any essentials. There is air conditioning and Wi-Fi throughout, as well as a bar and a 24 hour reception.
Instead of sitting inside, we spent our time exploring. The best thing to do nearby is to simply wander. Walk a couple of blocks in any direction and you will come to one of Amsterdam’s beautiful canals. There are plenty of small streets to explore between the waterways as well, and along these, there is always something to catch the eye. This part of the city is great for getting those iconic photos of the canals and tall houses, or for an interesting variation on the theme, head to the flower market where the floating greenhouses full of colorful plants and flowers. As we were spending a bit of time here (and had been in the city before), we felt no rush to get out and hit the tourist sights. It was nice to know however, that famous attractions like the Rijksmuseum, the Vondelpark, the Anne Frank house and the palace can all be reached on foot from the hotel, or by taking a tram.
The Albus turned out to be the perfect base for our relaxed staycation in Amsterdam. It had everything we needed and let us see another part of the city. As you probably know, we love design hotels and this one was no different. We loved its style, and the excellent restaurant was a lovely bonus.
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