Hotel De L’Europe review: Amsterdam’s oldest independent luxury hotel

Country Life's James Fisher has been to Amsterdam more times than he can count, but he's never stayed inside arguably the city's finest hotel. Until now.

There are many things, some good and some bad, that Amsterdam is well known for. But perhaps its greatest asset is taste. Wandering the streets and canals of this storied city, very few things look out of place, at least when it comes to the architecture and the people. 

I imagine it can’t be easy to build a city on top of a waterway, and I certainly don’t have any intention of trying. But there’s no denying that it is a successful way to make people stop and appreciate a place. I’ve not been to Venice, but I’ve been here many times and always been more than impressed by the buildings, the waterways and the way it’s all laid out. It’s a way of making a big city feel very small. London is a big city that feels very big, as an example of the opposite.

Like all great cities, I find something new to discover each time I visit. This time it was the Hotel De L’Europe, Amsterdam’s oldest independent luxury hotel. Built on the site of a 17th-century inn, the current 19th century red-brick building sits alongside the River Amstel in the heart of the city and is something of a grand old dame of Europe (much like Amsterdam itself).

Except, this year, the hotel has emerged from the chrysalis of old-fashioned elegance to become something newer, something chicer, something more current. A reincarnation of sorts, where the luxury stays put, but the style (at least on the inside) is re-born. 

Recommended videos for you

Redesigns are not easy. Things may feel old-fashioned, but often that’s why people like them. What some might see as kitsch or out-dated may be the entire reason someone comes to stay. So what has occurred at De L’Europe is most impressive. The fine tightrope of updating and conserving has been walked with aplomb. The rooms, suites and the entire ground floor have all been reimagined, as well as the three on-site restaurants, and the results are the nirvana that is, after all, the goal of any cycle of rebirth.

The suites, for example, are a tasteful mix of soft and neutral colour styles, mixed with contemporary style where appropriate. At the front door, you’ll be greeted by men in tailcoats, pass by some delightful Old Masters, but they are paired with a modern sense of design and style. The result is more than the sum of its parts.

As if to drill the point home, the hotel has recently launched ‘t Huys, where established local names in ‘couture, art, film, print, music and beyond’ have taken residence to showcase the best of the best of Dutch style. Remember when I said Amsterdam is well known for its taste? This is the eye of that particular storm.

The highlight of this collaboration are the 14 ‘t Huys suites, each designed by luminaries such as Harpers Bazaar NL, Gloobles, The Sisters Janssen, Ronald van der Kemp, the Van Gogh Museum (above) and many more. These are rooms that you will have never seen before and you will never see anywhere else. Amsterdam is a city that is great to explore but, if you stay in one of these suites, you can be forgiven for staying right where you are.

Food and drink

The hotel has three restaurants, all of which are something sublime. The Trattoria Graziella is an authentic Italian with a laid-back style. You can almost taste La Dolce Vita in every bite, and I am pretty sure I heard the chefs having an argument in Italian, but that might have just been my imagination after the delicious food.

Brasserie Marie is more of a Parisian offering, with a very traditional, but sophisticated menu of French classics that are prepared to perfection. 

Restaurant Flore is the jewel in the crown, with two Michelin stars and helmed by head chef Bas van Kranen. The food is, it goes without saying, delicious, but the real treat is its sustainability, with local and seasonal ingredients the bedrock on which the menu is founded. 

There is also Freddy’s Bar, so named after Alfred ‘Freddy’ Heineken, who used to frequent De L’Europe so often he ended up buying it — and the Heineken family still own the place to this day. Cocktails are made to order and even the bar snacks are worth writing home about.

What to do while you’re there

Visit the many museums. The Van Gogh Museum does what it says on the tin, but my goodness there was so much more to learn about Vincent than I realised. He really was a larger than life character and the helpful staff and volunteers really paint a vivid picture (pun intended) of the man.

You can also take time away from it all at the glorious spa, which offers a wide-variety of treatments, as well as a wonderful pool, sauna and steam room.

Whatever you fancy doing, and it is Amsterdam to be fair so there will be plenty to do, the immensely kind, friendly and helpful staff at De L’Europe can make it happen.

How to get there

It’s 2024 so, unless you are coming further afield than Europe, get the train. I travelled via the Eurostar from London St Pancras and within four hours I was at the check-in desk. Ideal.

Rooms at Hotel De L’Europe start at €799 per night on a B&B basis. Stays at the ‘t Huys suites start from €1,500 per night. Visit for more information and to book