Easily best hotel in Amsterdam with a formal Afternoon Tea that beats The Ritz, London.
This will soon be the very best hotel in Amsterdam....after they tweak a few things following my visit. It is already the best hotel in Europe for a grand English Afternoon Tea (with a twist) by a long way.
Forget about any criticism you may have read in posts below. What these posts don’t explain is that the new, refurbished Hotel De L’Europe has only been open for three weeks. Posts from last month and before were reporting on the building next door which was temporarily in use. Everything in the newly opened hotel is brand new. Reception is new, the restaurants are new, all of the furniture is new....and they are 95% of the way to being totally perfect. My only problems were at breakfast and at check-out but I doubt anyone else will have similar problems as I brought them to the attention of management who paid very close attention.
The central location of this privately owned hotel is superb and perfect for everything. The new bedrooms are all superb, I’ve seen four of them, all equally good. Our suite was missing a room service menu; a DO NOT DISTURB sign and stationery......as a result we were bothered every few minutes on our last morning by staff wanting to prepare for the next guests. I've never had no "Do Not Disturb" sign before.....neither have I had such a sensational Traditional English Afternoon Tea in any hotel anywhere....the De L’Europe Afternoon Tea service could teach London’s Ritz Hotel a thing or two. It was amazing. Forget The Ritz, book for tea at De L'Europe....and it's served with a smile and with pride.
The technology in the rooms need a little adjustment but it’s all there. I could never get the sound from TV/Music to work through the bathroom speaker in 518. There’s superb automated lighting; TV; I-pod dock; phone system. The towels are of highest quality and fluffy as are the hotel slippers. The bathrooms are terrific in every way as are the extras. Don’t bother risking leaks in your luggage, leave shampoos/conditioners and everything else at home. Everything supplied in the bathroom is worth using.
The beds are of the highest quality and exceptionally comfortable. Room service is good. The hotel supplied us with a superb baby sitter one evening....we asked for a trustworthy female child-sitter.....they sent us a trainee lady paediatrician. Perfect.
The kitchens are immaculate; the chefs are immaculate and the food served is immaculate. The views from both restaurants are stunning. I particularly liked the wine list. The lunch menu in the brassiere also lists wines available by the glass....and champagnes by the glass. I was seriously impressed because never before have I been anywhere, apart from the three Michelin rosette Waterside Inn in Bray, UK which serves my favourite drink, Ruinart Blanc de Blanc champagne by the glass. They also do Krug Grande Cuvee, Met Grand Vintage 2003 and others by the glass. This is THE OPPOSITE of the Crown Spa Hotel in Scarborough U.K. (see my review) where they serve nasty, flat champagne in a dirty glass!
Now for afternoon tea:- Served in a beautiful area of the hotel known as The Promenade, next to a circular bar, tea, served from 3.00pm, overlooking the canal, was amazing. The staff bring out various teas as a way of building up the whole tea experience to a sort of crescendo. It is all really quite special. First tea up was Organic Sencha tea....a superb green tea. This was followed by a Darjeeling, Risheehat, 1st Flush vintage 2010 tea...actually made for further developing other time, as with a good wine....aromas of tropical fruit. Interspersed with all of this were perfect sandwiches and exceptional handmade pastries in wonderful colours and designs. The hotel employs the services of a serious pastry chef....and it shows. This was followed by Creative Thee (Gemengd) - Art Tea.....quite something. Served in a clear glass tea-pot this tea turned into a flower while we watched. Incredible. While this went on delicious pastries were served.....it was like a feast. Then came Chocolate tea. It’s worth staying at this hotel just for the tea. They have at least 24 different gourmet teas on the menu, from all over the world.
Now for what went wrong. Our first two Breakfasts!
Our first two breakfasts let the entire hotel down. Ordering breakfast was sad, incoherent with a total absence of fluidity. It's as if the waitress taking the order failed to hear every 2nd word of the order. It was a jagged and jarred experience.....lots of stop/start. Breakfast at the superb De L'Europe should be the icing on the cake.....the view over the canal of the old clock tower is lovely.....the chairs in The Brassiere where breakfast is served are comfy, crockery/cutlery/tableware are modern and immaculate and the cooked breakfasts are all freshly prepared......no tired looking scrambled eggs at this hotel AND the breakfast menu is extensive.....at least it would be if the kitchen didn't run out of items such as smoked salmon. Ordering any variation (for instance English breakfast without certain items) produces glazed, vacant expressions from the waitresses. Don’t allow them to serve you. Ask for a male waiter. I think one of them also caused me trouble at lunch. There are two, non-Dutch waitresses, one pleasant but hopeless, the other has attitude and is similarly hopeless.
The food is fresh/tasty... perfectly decent. What is completely untogether is the service which I can best describe as pitiful. I thought our painful first mornings breakfast experience on July 18th was perhaps a one-off when staff got most of our order wrong for all five of us, causing further lengthy delays upon delays however it's now clear to me that neither of the two female staff who served us listen and they are exceptionally incompetent. What they didn't get wrong, they forgot to bring. One of them was polite/smiley but hopeless.....she couldn't get anything right. The taller waitress actually wrote down our entire, detailed order on July 19th breakfast, then walked off without a word, or a smile.....then almost everything that turned up was wrong.....we also asked for hot chocolate for our children on sitting down.....nothing for half an hour. A third waitress taking my lunch order when the five of us sat at the chef's counter on our first day was rude.....muttering and huffing while attempting to correctly take my wine order. She didn't have a clue. However this was more than made up for by the terrific Head Sous Chef, Ton de Kulper, who was as excellent at ensuring we received everything we asked for as he and all the superb and well organised kitchen staff were at cooking and we enjoyed a perfect lunch on July 18th.
At lunch the following day, waiters made a few mistakes such as pouring still water which we didn't order into sparkling water glasses but this was more than balanced by the superb table which the maitre 'd reserved for me and the view of endless cyclists pedalling by along the canal while holding umbrellas in the pouring rain (I'm not a fan of the cyclists after been run over by one a few years ago).
At our second day's breakfast experience the waitress told me they had run out of smoked salmon. Pity as there's not much else my coeliac daughter will choose from the menu although there was gluten-free bread for her, which always receives much appreciation from us.
One of four of my friends at another table (only staying at the hotel for the Take That stadium concert due to my recommendation), taking breakfast at the same time, ordered a smoke salmon bagel. He received his smoked salmon but was told they had run out of bagels. I ordered at the same time and was told there was no smoked salmon. How can the kitchen run out of smoked salmon at breakfast when they need it for the afternoon tea sandwiches?
At our first breakfast I asked for fresh carrot juice. It turned up and was horrible.....clearly out of a bottle. At other Leading Hotels including Marbella Club, the Setai and Sandy Lane, only freshly made juices are ever served, including fresh carrot juice. However other Leading Hotels charge far more for breakfast. At this class of hotel, everything should be fresh but the hotel are entitled to charge for these extras. I would have happily paid for fresh carrot juice.
The breakfast waitresses at De L'Europe nod, take the order and then it all turns up wrong. It's not as if breakfast is busy......most tables were empty at our second day's breakfast. I don't mind the wait at all given breakfast is, unusually, freshly cooked to order..... but I do mind the unnecessary additional wait when waitresses then need more time to correct their errors. It took them one whole hour just to produce hash browns for my coeliac daughter on our first breakfast. The self-service area for fruit/cereals/yogurt etc remained unreplenished for over half an hour.....they had also run out of cereal bowls. Am I being difficult, you may wonder? I don't think so.....this should be the top hotel in Amsterdam......and will be once their breakfast service is sorted out.....I've stayed at the others. Our second day breakfast took over half an hour to arrive.....an improvement over our first day. Our friends told me that 75 per cent of their breakfast order turned up completely wrong. Anyhow, that's what's wrong with breakfast. I ended up telling the breakfast staff what I thought of them.
Breakfast on our third day was fantastic. Service was perfection. The food was lovely. The freshly squeezed orange juice was superb. Stefan, the Food and beverages manager saw to that. He explained to me that they have only been going for three weeks and that he aims to serve freshly made breakfasts in 15 minutes. He will get there although he may have to find another job for the useless waitresses.....they were beyond terrible. The guys were all terrific and the restaurant manager at breakfast is superb.
This hotel was terrific. I give it full marks. Don’t worry about breakfast......They had sorted it out by our third day. I suffer....you get the benefit. I know many Tripadvisor contributors have sorted out problems in advance for me in the past and so.....my gift to you.....is Hotel De L’Europe. Owned by the Heineken family. They have spared no expense. It’s terrific. The pool was immaculate, a pleasure to use. Stay nowhere else in Amsterdam.
PS There are seats in the lift.....a nice touch....but check your bill....there were mistakes on mine which took well over an hour to resolve....no thanks to a stupid, back office woman in a black suit who was seriously annoying but worry not......all of the rest of the reception staff are good, as are the concierge staff and especially the font of house manager. Any problems, ask for him.
Easily the best hotel in Amsterdam....I've stayed at the others and so I really mean it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- De L'Europe in Amsterdam ,also referred to as The Grand Dame amongst Amsterdam's luxury hotels, is situated on the banks of the Amstel River right in the city center. Awarded as best hotel in The Netherlands by Conde Nast Traveler 2014, it is impossible to escape the city's rich history while staying at this iconic 19th century treasure. De L'Europe boasts a distinctive decor, enhancing each room and suite with a replicated Dutch Masters painting, hand picked in exclusive partnership with the nearby Rijksmuseum. Traditional old-charm co-exists with historic masterpieces in the grand Promenade, where the city's most authentic Afternoon Tea is served while river views provide a breathtaking backdrop to award-winning Bord'Eau (**), Hoofdstad Brasserie (Bib Gourmand 2014) and the authentic Freddy's Bar (Best Cocktail Bartender of The Netherlands 2014). ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- De l`Europe Amsterdam Hotel Amsterdam
- Hotel De l Europe
- De l Europe Hotel