Doelen is Amsterdam’s oldest hotel, located inside a grand brick building in one of the most historic corners of the city, with part of the original city wall visible inside the hotel. There are famous art connections as well: Rembrandt’s “The Night Watch” was originally displayed in what is now the Rembrandt Suite. The rooms are thoroughly modern, with the signature white, gold, and crimson color scheme, and plenty of natural light and mod cons such as espresso makers. Service is formal and efficient, and the location is about as central as you can get.
Area: In a relatively tranquil part of the Medieval Center, overlooking the city’s oldest canal. Lively Rembrandtplein, Dam Square, the Red Light District, and the historic Canal Belt are all within a few minutes’ walk from the hotel, and the Museum Quarter is 20 minute away on foot (1.5 km). From the nearest tram stop (400m), trams run to Centraal Station, De Pijp, and eastern Amsterdam.
How to Get There: Take the train from Schiphol Airport to Centraal Station, then the tram (4, 9, 16, 24, 25) to Muntplein stop, across from the hotel.
Private Transfer: We use and recommend Welcome Pickups car service. Booking through a private car service will cost only a bit more than a taxi – about €50 from Schiphol Airport – but can be worth it to avoid the long taxi queue and for the convenience of paying ahead.
Handy to: Allard Pierson Museum, the Royal Palace, Amsterdam Museum.
NH Collection Doelen – The Basics
Ages: Guests are a mix of holiday makers and business travelers. Children welcome.
View: Of the 81 rooms, the Superior and Premium rooms come either with limited city views, or else look over the Kloveniersburgwal canal. All the suites boast canal views.
Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools/jacuzzis.
Laundry: In-room laundry service.
Parking: Nearby valet parking costs €55 per day.
Extras: Generous noon checkout. 3pm checkout on Lazy Sundays.
When to Book: Reserve 3 months in advance for the mid-March to mid-May tulip season, the July and August high season, and the Christmas-New Year period.
Spa: No spa, but massages can be arranged in-room.
Fitness Center: No fitness center.
For Disabled Guests: Several rooms adapted for guests with disabilities, plus a ramp and elevator.
For Families: The restaurant has a children’s menu, and babysitting services are available on request.
NH Collection Doelen – Food and Drink
Restaurants: No restaurant.
Lounge/Bar: No bar.
Breakfast: Not complimentary. Extensive breakfast buffet (7am-10.30am Monday to Saturday, 8am-noon Sunday) costs €24 per person; a la carte items such as American pancakes, filled bagels, and fresh vegetable juices available at extra cost.
Room Service: Limited room service.
NH Collection Doelen – Rooms
Room Types: Superior • Superior with Canal View • Premium • Premium with Canal View • Junior Suite with Canal View • Rembrandt Suite with Canal View • Suite with Canal View • Empress Suite with Canal View • List of all Rooms
Smoking Rooms: NH Collection Amsterdam Doelen is 100% smoke-free.
Best Room: The Rembrandt Suite has a reproduction of “The Night Watch” masterpiece where the original used to hang in the 17th century. The Empress Suite is the most spacious and has good canal views, but canal view suites on higher floors offer greater privacy.
NH Collection Doelen – Local Transport
Walking: Easy walking distance to Anne Frank House, Museum Quarter, attractions in the Medieval Center and the Red Light District, Nine Streets shopping neighborhood. Numerous restaurants, bars, and shops within a few minutes’ walk.
Tram: Direct tram connections from the Muntplein stop to Centraal Station, De Pijp district, Rembrandtplein, and Waterlooplein. Nearest tram stop for the Museum Quarter is Koningsplein, a 6-minute walk (500m) away.
Taxis, Uber: Taxis and Uber charge around €35 from the airport to the hotel. Within the city, Uber rides cost around half of taxi fares. It’s often quicker to walk, cycle, or jump on a tram.
NH Collection Doelen – What’s Nearby?
Best Nearby Restaurants
Frenzi – Imaginative Mediterranean tapas, live jazz on Saturday afternoons, and over 100 types of grappa. (250m).
Upstairs Pannenkoekenhuis – Traditional Dutch pancakes in tiny 16th-century house, sampled by Anthony Bourdain in The Layover. Reserve ahead, as there are only 4 tables. (300m).
Bhatti Pasal – Large portions of Nepalese dishes in very central location. Excellent momos. (400m).
The Seafood Bar – Buzzy spot for champagne, oysters, and seafood platters. Walk-ins welcome. (500m).
Klein Breda – Experimental fine dining with an ever-changing menu, and wallet-friendly multi-course lunch. Reservations recommended. (500m).
Van Kerkwijk – Intimate, subtly-lit little place with a daily changing menu of French classics, Moroccan tajines, curries, and other internationally-inspired dishes. (600m).
Best Nearby Bars and Breweries
Door 74 – Dark-timbered, speakeasy-style bar behind an unmarked door (send a text message to gain entry), responsible for some of Amsterdam’s best cocktails. (400m).
Bierfabriek Amsterdam – Hip, brasserie-style microbrewery with private tap tables, 4 own brews on tap, and an accompaniment of rustic dishes. (400m).
De Bekeerde Suster – 16th-century cloister turned brewery with 4 own brews flowing from copper tanks, seasonal and guest beers, and numerous bottled brews. (500m).
Café de Dokter – Amsterdam’s smallest pub, run by the descendants of the doctor who founded it in 1798. Expect candlelight, chandeliers, and atmospheric bric-a-brac, plus good whiskies and beer. (500m).
Bubbles & Wines – This sleek wine bar attracts a lively, stylish clientele with its 50+ wines and champagnes by the glass, and superb bar snacks. (600m).
Nearby Shopping and Cool Shops
Droog – Cool homeware and design, unique gifts, plus a gallery space and café attached. (150m).
Puccini Bomboni – Some of Amsterdam’s best handmade chocolates. 1 of 3 branches. (200m).
BIEC – Ceramics, funky gadgets, bags, shawls, shoes, sketch books, and other cool gifts. (200m).
Hans Appenzeller – Local jewelry designer; original designs in gold and stone. (300m).
Athenaeum – One of Amsterdam’s largest independent bookshops, with numerous travel guidebooks, and books on fashion and design. (600m).
Amsterdam Duck Store – Nothing but rubber ducks here, from classic yellow to Batman, S&M, and Game of Thrones ducks. (1.5 km).
Nearby Market or Grocery
Waterlooplein Flea Market – Vast flea market (Monday to Saturday) selling designer knockoffs, antiques, jewelry, and more. Street food stalls also. (600m).
NH Collection Doelen – The Hotel
The decor of NH Collection Doelen is old world meets contemporary, with plenty of marble and chandeliers.
The onsite Bumbu Kitchen (noon-4pm & 6-11pm) is popular with Amsterdammers and guests alike for its inspired takes on Indonesian cuisine; reservations recommended.
While the Superior and Superior with Canal View rooms are the same size, it’s worth spending extra on the view.
All rooms, including the suites, come equipped with walk-in power showers.
As with the Superior rooms, the only difference between Premium and Premium with Canal View is the view, and it’s worth the extra splurge.
The lobby comes with cozy spaces for lounging around.
The Junior Suite is particularly light and bright, with canal views from 2 sides.
The Rembrandt Suite boasts a reproduction of “The Night Watch” by Rembrandt in the place where the original used to be in the 17th century.
The Empress Suite is the most spacious, and has some of the best canal views, but it’s on the ground floor, so some guests may prefer a canal view suite higher up.
Typical canal view from a canal view suite on the top floor.
Narrow Nieuwe Doelenstraat and then largely pedestrian Staalstraat head east from the hotel to the Stopera, Amsterdam’s opera and ballet venue that hosts performances by renowned ballet companies and orchestras from around the world.
Just north of Stopera, the Waterlooplein hosts a busy flea market (Monday to Saturday), selling everything from clothes to bric-a-brac. There are some food stalls as well.
Behind the market is the Rembrandt House, where the painter lived for much of his working life before going bankrupt. His rooms have been recreated as they once were, and you can see his original sketches. The audioguide is worthwhile.
2 blocks east of Rembrandt House and down a narrow lane is the superb Jewish Historical Museum, with exhibits about the Jewish community in the Netherlands from 1600 to the present day, spread across 4 beautiful synagogues. The ticket gives you access to the Portuguese Israelite synagogue across the busy main thoroughfare.
To reach the Stopera from the hotel, you cross several small and picturesque canals.
Staalstraat is dotted with a few good shops and eateries. These include BIEC, where you can pick up funky household gadgets, ceramics, women’s accessories, and other cool gifts.
Nearby, the neighborhood branch of the Amsterdam Duck Store sells novelty rubber ducks in every disguise imaginable: as Batman, Harry Potter, Game of Thrones characters, and more.
Across the street, Droog is another great place for unusual gifts such as cool homeware. There’s also a gallery and café attached.
A few doors down, the local branch of Puccini Bomboni sells some of the best handmade chocolates in the city.
Just west of the bridge over Zwanenburgwal canal, bustling Frenzi is popular with its imaginative Mediterranean tapas, dozens of types of grappa, and occasional live music.
If instead of taking Staalstraat, you continue walking along the Kloveniersburgwal canal, a few blocks north you reach Nieuwmarkt square, on the edge of the Red Light District and surrounded by bars. On Saturdays, the square hosts a farmers’ market; on Sundays, an antique market.
On the way, you pass Anna + Nina, an outlet featuring women’s apparel and accessories by local designers.
De Bekeerde Suster, near the square, is a particularly atmospheric place for a beer. A 16th century cloister turned brewery, it has 4 of its own brews on tap, plus many bottled ones.
Inside the Misc EatDrinkSleep boutique hotel, the cozy Rosalia’s Menagerie cocktail bar is open to non-guests in the evenings. It’s an excellent place to sample jenevers and jenever-based cocktails, and the ambience is a world away from most bars of the Red Light District.
A short walk southwest from the hotel, a bridge crosses over the Amstel to Muntplein, a busy tram intersection. Branching off from the southeast corner is Reguliersbreestraat, a busy tramway that runs east to Rembrandtplein. It’s lined with cafes, and is home to Amsterdam’s famous art deco cinema, Pathe Tuschinkitheater.
Rembrandtplein square is one of Amsterdam’s most popular nightlife hubs, surrounded by bars and clubs.
A block south of Rembrandtplein, on the banks of Herengracht canal, the Museum of Bags and Purses showcases the largest collection of handbags and purses in the Western world, from 16th century pouches to the latest Gucci. Not to be missed!
A block east, Museum Willet-Holthuysen is a sumptuous 18th century residence with a gorgeous garden, and rooms filled with period furniture.
While many of the restaurants surrounding Rembrandtplein are overpriced and mediocre, notable exceptions include Guts: wallet-friendly fine dining with a frequently changing, experimental menu. Good-value lunches.
A block west of the southwest corner of Rembrandtplein, along Reguliersdwarsstraat, an unmarked door hides Door 74, a speakeasy-style bar with amazing cocktails. Get the code via text message in advance to gain entry.
Further west, the street is pedestrianized, and lined with many gay bars and a few restaurants that mostly cater to night owls. Roses by Sal – a Latin American street food joint – is excellent. Come here for Amsterdam’s best tacos, empanadas, ceviche, and killer pisco sours.
The narrow medieval lanes north of Muntplein are a good place to look for an inexpensive meal right in the heart of central Amsterdam. Bhatti Pasal, on Voetboogstraat, serves large portions of Nepalese dishes, including particularly good momos (dumplings).
Just up the lane, on the corner of Spui square, the local branch of the Seafood Bar is great for seafood platters, champagne, and oysters, and has excellent outdoor seating overlooking the square.
Spui square is one of the most popular gathering spots in the Medieval Center. On Sundays, it hosts the Art Plein Spui, an outdoor book and art market.
Adding to the Spui’s literary reputation, the square is home to 2 excellent bookstores. American Book Center is the largest English-language bookshop in town, featuring pretty much any genre.
Nearby, Athenaeum is a large, independent bookstore with an excellent selection of travel guidebooks and books on fashion and design.
The tiny medieval lanes just north of Spui hide numerous atmospheric bars. Café de Dokter is a tiny 18th century pub – Amsterdam’s smallest – decked out with eclectic antiques, and good for a beer or whisky (if you can squeeze in).
Off Kalverstraat lane, the Amsterdam Museum is an entertaining romp through 1,000 years of city history, complete with hands-on exhibits, and dressing up opportunities for kids.
Just east of Spui, the wide Rokin canal is busy with canal cruise boats during the day.
Just west of the hotel, the Allard Pierson Museum houses a superb archaeological collection, from ancient Greek ceramics and an Egyptian mummy to early Mesopotamian artifacts.
Just north of the museum and facing the narrow Grimburgwal canal, the Upstairs Pannenkoekenhuis is arguably the best place in town to try traditional Dutch pancakes (Anthony Bourdain thought so). It’s inside a tiny 16th century house, so reserve ahead.
Directly opposite, you can browse original gold jewelry designs at Hans Appenzeller. Or check out 3D holographic art and jewelry next door.
From here, narrow Nes street, dotted with alternative theatres, runs back to Dam square, passing the hotel en route. There’s a good microbrewery here, too: Bier Fabriek has private tap tables, and rustic dishes to accompany its brews.
Nearer Dam is Van Kerkwijk, just north of the hotel, with its daily changing menu of Moroccan tagines, French dishes, and more.
Nearby, Bubbles & Wines surpasses most Amsterdam bars when it comes to sheer class: it’s a stylish place with dozens of wines and champagnes by the glass, and superb bar snacks to match.
Rokin, the Medieval Center’s main thoroughfare, runs parallel to Nes. Near Spui square, PGC Hajenius is a tobacco emporium that’s worth a peek for its art deco interior. Buy your cigars here, and try them in a private humidor.
At the north end of Rokin (and Nes), Dam square is Central Amsterdam’s busiest square, filled with visitors and buskers, and home to the Nationaal Monument, dedicated to WWII’s fallen.
The big attraction here is the Royal Palace, the official residence of the King of the Netherlands. When the king’s away, you can check out the sumptuous rooms.
Just north of the Royal Palace, the 15th century Nieuwe Kerk is well worth a look for its beautiful oak chancel, and excellent temporary art and photography exhibitions. Check rates and availability: NH Collection Doelen.