If you stay in commercial hotels regularly for work, you will appreciate a hotel that is relaxed and funky or hip in style when you want to get away from it all. The Andaz Hotel, perfectly located on the Prinsengracht, will delight and surprise you from the moment you enter the hotel. Helpful front desk staff are armed with their iPads and offer proper coffee (that's Nespresso in my book!) and scrumptious cookies while you check in. Don't forget to lean back and gaze upwards into the atrium - it is a triumph of design and guaranteed to bring a smile to your face. The bedrooms are beautifully decorated and designed with all of the facilities that you will love - your own Nespresso coffee maker, a docking station for your iPod (home from home music), so that when you are enveloped by the high-backed chair inside the window, you can feel like you are in heaven as you watch the world go by on the canal outside. Step through a mirrored doorway into the wetroom and let your cares slip away under the waterfall shower. Or educate yourself on the history of Amsterdam, which features on the wallpaper in the loo! A slight lack of sound insulation between the shower room, the toilet and the bedroom areas means that you may disturb your sleeping partner when visiting bathroom or taking a shower - beware! Even the location of the washstand is unique! The library (off the lobby) is well stocked and the presence of art around the hotel, especially the video art in the corridors and the library (see the central light fitting!) makes the hotel very special indeed. Breakfast to the room was a disappointment - hot food barely lukewarm, coffee the same and did not tempt us to order it a second time. The Bluespoon Lounge was thronged with guests on a Saturday evening before dinner - service was still very good, although the concept of a Kir (as distinct from a Kir Royale) seemed a bit alien to the bar staff. The hotel charges for the (normally) complimentary nibbles that accompany cocktails, however, it's worth sharing a plate of these, as they are delicious and a serving for one person will suffice for 3-4 people. The hotel's Bluespoon Restaurant was an excellent choice for a family dinner during our stay and we dined at the chef's table beside the kitchen where chef, Julien Piquet, was relaxed and chatted to our group. Overall, the food is excellent - veal cheeks were a big hit on the starter menu, while the fish mains were refined and elegant in taste and presentation. Desserts met with a more mixed reaction and my maple and pecan tart was dry and unappetising. Cheese, however, was excellent. I would not hesitate in recommending the Andaz to travellers - it comes at a price but like the L'Oreal Ad, we're worth it!
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