Situated at the heart of the canal district, between Amsterdam’s two oldest waterways, Sofitel Legend The Grand provides a decadent base amidst the city’s most picturesque streets, just a two-minute walk from the hip Negen Straatjes neighbourhood. It’s the hotel’s historic legacy that gives it most recognition, originating from two 15th-century convents, and having twice been Amsterdam’s City Hall. And this grand façade is wrapped around a central courtyard and inner garden, seamlessly fusing its heritage with contemporary design and sumptuous five-star appeal.
Light streams in through a decorative stained glass window, casting jewel-like coloured light onto the sprawling marble floors and Grand Staircase, while the lobby exudes opulence through its arched ceilings, contemporary chandeliers and abundance of art. Further pockets of The Grand’s heritage are then hidden throughout the hotel, like the Marriage Chamber, which depicts a love story through its 1920’s Art Deco mural.
These historic features sit harmoniously within the hotel’s contemporary design. Here, French elegance has seamlessly been fused with Dutch style by French architect, Sybille de Margerie – also known for her work at Hotel de Crillon in Paris and Hotel Cheval Blanc in Courchevel – who took inspiration from another of the hotel’s murals, Inquisitive Children by Karel Appel. Far from just being a museum of art though, temporary exhibitions in the lobby – including a recent showcase of Damien Hirst’s work – give guests the chance to buy what they see.
Vibrant purple and red accents run throughout The Grand, with warm grey upholstery and plump cushions in rich hues, and each guest room and suite incorporating the same colour scheme. Designed for indulgence, rooms encompass beds that are soft enough to sink into, plump sofas and deep carpets, plus black marble-wrapped bathrooms and all the usual mod cons. Each suite comes with butler service, and guests in the Imperial Suites even have their own hammam.
The culinary highlight of The Grand is the Michelin-starred restaurant Bridges where chef, Andrés Delpeut adds creative flair to traditional Dutch seafood plates. Wine Director Lotte Wolf, who was named Talented Sommelier of the Year by Gault&Millau, pairs these with wine, then they’re served in a space created by French interior designer Christophe Daudré, who took inspiration from the movements and reflection of the water the restaurant overlooks. Each morning, a lavish breakfast buffet is laid out in the same light-flooded space.
For international plates and excellent cocktails there’s then the adjacent Parisian-style eatery Le Petit Bistro, and for long, drawn-out afternoon teas there’s The Library ‘Or’, with deep armchairs to sink into by the open fire and an eclectic collection of books to browse.
Even if you’re in Amsterdam to get to know the city, it’s worth spending a little time in SoSPA too, where a Turkish steam bath and sauna both lead off the ambiently lit pool. And when you do get out, the concierge can arrange a city tour, on foot, by bicycle or canal boat, to give greater insight into Amsterdam’s history, art, gastronomy or fashion; boat tours depart from the hotel’s private jetty. After all, it may be the history of this hotel that gives it such prestige, but it’s the combination of this heritage with contemporary design, and the experience the hotel affords, that gives it such timeless appeal.
Rooms and suites range from €300 to €3,825 per night. sofitel-legend-thegrand.com
Words by Lauren Hill