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As if all vying for attention from passersby, each canal house lining Amsterdam’s popular Keizersgracht canal looks more charming than the one before it. And among them is The Dylan, a boutique hotel and member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World that has surely halted many spectators in their tracks.
Built on the historic site of a 1600s theater built by Dutch architect Jacob van Campen, the five-star hotel will impress visitors outside of that first double take. Guests arrive through a regal entrance gate that reads “Schouwburg,” an old Dutch word for “theater,” in gold lettering. The stone entryway is the only part of the original landmark still standing after a fire ravaged the building in 1772; the rest was renovated before officially reopening as The Dylan in 1999.
After pulling my luggage through the small courtyard and opening The Dylan’s front doors, a reverent hush filled the room. But I soon realized that the abrupt silence was actually my own awe at the elegance before me.
Separate from The Dylan’s check-in counter is the lounge, a spacious expanse more resemblant of a sophisticated living room than a typical waiting area, with jewel tones, oversize windows, a fireplace flickering with warmth and light, gilded mirrors and cozy sofas and armchairs. Here, while sipping coffee brought over from the adjacent Bar Brasserie OCCO — a recent addition to The Dylan that’s open from 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. — my friend and I felt completely at ease waiting for our room to be ready.
“The Dylan offers guests uniquely designed rooms and an intimate, ‘feels like home’ atmosphere,” said Audry van de Merwe, deputy manager for the hotel. “Our staff has an eye for detail and is dedicated to providing guests with personalized service.”
And guests should take van de Merwe’s words literally: No two rooms at The Dylan are the same. Each of the 40 accommodations — featuring floor plans categorized as Double Rooms, Duplex Rooms, Junior Suites, Suites and Signature Suites — is individually decorated down to the very last detail. However, rooms can be narrowed down by decor styles. Klassbol rooms, for example, abide by a red and gray color scheme and boast fun patterns. Meanwhile, Loft rooms have a minimal design — think abundant white space contrasted with exposed wooden beams.
Ten guestrooms have canal views, while two have views of the city, and the remainder look into The Dylan’s private inner garden. All are equipped with Frette bathrobes and linens, Miller Harris bath products, a Bose sound system, a minibar, an Illy espresso-maker and free Wi-Fi access. Also, further proving van de Merwe’s point of celebrating minute details, even the crisp apples left for guests are thoughtfully selected. Rooms with red accents receive red apples, while the other rooms have green apples. (I inspected my green one carefully — not a speck in sight.)
We stayed in one of the two first-floor, signature Jacob van Campen Suites, belonging to the opulent Serendipity Collection. Renovated in partnership with renowned Dutch interior designer Remy Meijers in 2015, our nearly 807-square-foot suite had a dramatic, 20-foot-high ceiling and equally soaring windows. A cast-iron staircase led up to a loft-style sleeping area, while the downstairs featured a sitting area with contemporary furnishings and a roomy bathroom with a large tub and a separate rain shower.
Facing the Keizersgracht canal, The Dylan is built on a historic site that dates back to the 1600s. // © 2016 The Dylan
The luxury boutique hotel’s lounge has a living room feel. // © 2016 The Dylan
Guests can enjoy drinks and food in the property’s new Bar Brasserie OCCO, open 9 a.m. to 1 a.m. daily. // © 2016 The Dylan
No two guestrooms in the 40-room hotel are the same; a Loxura Double Room is shown above. // © 2016 The Dylan
A Loft Suite with minimal decor and exposed wooden beams // © 2016 The Dylan
The most luxurious room category is the brand-new Serendipity Collection, which includes this Jacob van Campen Suite designed by Dutch interior designer Remy Meijers. // © 2016 The Dylan
Most guestrooms overlook the private garden area. // © 2016 The Dylan
Book The Dylan’s fun twist on high tea: High Wine, served from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day. // © 2016 The Dylan
Travel agents booking families at The Dylan should note that there is a maximum of three people permitted per room. (Rollaway beds are available at a cost and baby cots upon request.) However, Double Rooms and Junior Suites can be interconnected, and neither of these categories have staircases.
Topping off my already extraordinary experience was the property’s signature High Wine. Led by executive chef Dennis Kuipers — who also commands the kitchen at the reservation-only, Michelin-starred Restaurant Vinkeles, located at The Dylan — the gastronomic affair has refashioned the typical high tea into something even more decadent.
After taking a seat in the lounge or in the secluded garden terrace, diners are each served four wines and four amuse-bouche-style bites made from seasonal ingredients. We grazed on delicious concoctions such as baked cod with beetroot, apricot, peach and hazelnut, paired with a full-bodied white wine from the South of France; and farmhouse chicken dressed with a tarragon sauce and curry and popcorn puree, paired with an organic wine harvested in Thessaloniki, Greece.
Without a doubt, those seeking indulgence and grandeur will find it — and then some — at The Dylan.
- The Dylan is busiest during the months of April, May, June, September and October. Book early for discounted rates.
- Because Restaurant Vinkeles has only nine tables, diners should make reservations as early as possible.
- Reservations for High Wine ($45 per person) are available from 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. each day.
- Commission payments are automatic when travel agents place their IATA number during the booking process.