Entering the broad archway festooned with flags, visitors are immediately drawn to the center of the brick-lined courtyard. A bicycle fashioned with a red box sits amidst crimson, yellow, orange and pink tulips, reminiscent of an exciting display of colorful fireworks, exploding just outside the main hotel entrance. The doorman, dapperly dressed in a suit and tie, graciously opens the door offering entry into the grand hallway. More archways entice guests forward, and the white and gray marble floor, accented with tall vases filled with stunning floral arrangements, suggests the beginnings of grandeur that guests will experience at Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam.
The hotel rooms range from richly decorated spacious bedrooms to large opulent suites with deep soaking tubs, walk-in closets and expansive living spaces, culminating in the Canal House Suites with fully equipped kitchenettes, butler service and private roof terraces. All rooms boast luxury linens, TVs and Wi-Fi. Outstanding service saturates every aspect of the hotel. Whether guests need assistance from the concierge for booking a dinner reservation or a horse and buggy ride through old Amsterdam, every request is handled with a delightful air of professionalism up to and including the personal delivery of a glass of champagne from the butler.
Multiple dining options…
Executive Chef Andrès Delpeut oversees all food preparation at the hotel. Guests can enjoy a casual atmosphere with delicious food and a handcrafted cocktail at Bridges BarBistro, a light bite outside at the Garden Terrace, or a snack and beer at the Flying Dutchman. The Grand Afternoon Tea is held each afternoon in the Library ‘Or’; and for those seeking a fine-dining experience, book a table at Michelin-star restaurant Bridges Dining.
Bridges Dining reopened in April 2018 after a stunning remodel of only seven weeks. Chef Andrès delivers his most creative and beautiful culinary works of art focusing approximately 80% of his menu on delectable seafood offerings. His cylinder of sesame seeds with raw ahi tuna and spicy wasabi is a must-try.
Bridges Dining and Bridges BarBistro menus comprise international dishes, but Chef says, “I love the Asian influences, and my favorite thing to do is train new chefs.” Having earned his first Michelin star at age 26 at Restaurant De Roggebot, Chef Andrès continually works to train and encourage young chefs.
Bridges Dining opens each morning with a full breakfast buffet. Guests feast on delicious bread, scrumptious salads, sweet pastries and an offering of traditional Dutch dishes. The spread is extravagant and satisfying, but diners can also order specialty items like eggs Benedict from the restaurant’s breakfast menu.
The SoSPA, located inside the hotel, expands over two floors with a heated indoor swimming pool, Turkish steam bath, sauna and several treatment rooms. Guests can select from a variety of spa treatments, savor a healthy cocktail, or relax in this tranquil setting.
The SoFIT room is available to hotel guests and club members. The room boasts Technogym bicycles, treadmills, cross trainers, step machines and other types of equipment used to work off stress or to maintain a healthy lifestyle.
400 years of history…
The hotel buildings, founded in 1411, housed two convents on the property, St. Cecilia’s Convent on the north side and St. Catherine’s to the south. In 1578 Amsterdam came under Protestant leadership, and St. Cecilia’s was transformed into a hotel known as Princenhof for princes and gentlemen. The area housing St. Catherine’s was taken over by the Admiralty of Amsterdam. Years later, part of the building functioned as the city hall, and eventually the entire place was taken over by the Admiralty.
In 1795 Napoleon occupied Holland, and in 1806 he made his brother Louis, king over the country. In 1808 Louis demanded that the city hall of Amsterdam become his Royal Palace. Once again the city authorities had to move. When the House of Orange returned after regaining their independence, Amsterdam was named the capital of The Netherlands, and the city hall on Dam Square remained in use as the Royal Palace. For the next 180 years, Princenhof served as Amsterdam’s city hall. After years of political uprising, the German invasion, the Great Depression and World War II, the buildings finally became a five-star hotel named “The Grand” in 1992.
Today, historical features can still be found at The Grand. Examples include the stained glass windows and stairwells throughout the hotel and the three magnificently carved wooden doors in the Burgomaster and Aldermans chamber that were taken from city hall on Dam Square when it was forced to move to Princenhof in 1808.
The romance lives on…
In 1966 the former Queen of The Netherlands, Princess Beatrix, married Prince Claus when The Grand still functioned as city hall, and today approximately fifty weddings take place on the premises each year. The walls of the “First Class Marriage Chamber” were painted by Dutch artist Chris Lebeau. He depicts his version of marriage and love. On one side of the room the couple is looking for love. After finding each other and being tempted by others, they remain faithful to one another and marry. The wedding is displayed in stained glass on the back wall. The couple has children, and later they are shown explaining the meaning of love to them. Chris Lebeau locked himself in the room for two years to create his impressive artwork.
The building’s history adds character to Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam. The stories told by staff express the joy and sorrow people experienced within the walls of the building. The stained glass windows, furniture and community spaces all have their own stories. Spend some time in Amsterdam and treat yourself to the vast history of this grand hotel, its stunning architecture, delicious dining and professional service.