Hotel Pulitzer lives up to it’s claim of quintessential Dutch elegance in the heart of Amsterdam and after two stays there has convinced us never to stay anywhere else when we return to one of our favorite European cities.
Review: The Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam
Amsterdam is an amazingly beautiful city and it’s hard to not have a wonderful time while visiting. But what has made our last two trips even better was our time at The Hotel Pulitzer.
The Hotel Pulitzer describes itself as “quintessential Dutch elegance” in an intricate maze of 25 connecting Golden Age canal houses. The Pulitzer is a unique blend of up-market, traditional and modern Dutch craftsmanship hidden amongst the city’s iconic canals”
I will describe it as awesome; because let’s be real, I love this hotel! I first fell in with The Pulitzer during our first stay back in 2015 when we went on a spring Amsterdam/Brugges get-away. Our first visit was pre-baby and before their renovations were completed so let’s just say it was a bit of a different experience for that go-around.
So why is the Pulitzer so great? Well to start it’s a beautifully designed & decorated in an amazing central location but what really makes it stand out is that it’s the perfect mix of luxury and thoughtfulness but in a low-key, relaxed Dutch kind of way. We were excited to spend some time there with baby and had no idea that our second visit would exceed our first in so many ways.
When I think about how travel has changed for us post-baby, room choice is certainly one of the main ones. I used to want to be away from the entrance, away from elevators, and up on a higher floor – no so anymore. Since the hotel is a maze of connected Canal houses its totally charming but that also means that not every room is stroller friendly. At check-in the wonderful staff gave us a few options and let us check them out before deciding; ultimately we decided on a ground-level Canal-side room that was just slightly off the entrance (where we could store our stroller) making it easy to come and go as we pleased and we could get to our room super fast. We had a little bit of street & canal noise, but nothing too crazy and a little bit of noise was worth the trade-off for an easy room location
The room was not super big, but a cosy one made beautiful with thoughtful nautical, Dutch design. It had everything you could need, a comfortable bed with amazing linens, a desk set up, closet and a wet-bar with cocktail fixings. We requested a crib for Charlie and it arrived within just a few minutes with the sweetest little linens and – wait for it – an organic fabric, super soft sleep sack. I had packed his Magic Merlin Sleep suit but this made my day – super thoughtful. It was also a nice change from our Asian hotel stays where cribs still come with bumpers, blankets, and pillows (which always causes confusion for staff when I ask them to wait while we essentially strip down the bed to a single sheet and hand back all of the bedding).
But what really makes the room are the little touches; there are stories about the hotel and area (interesting ones – I promise!) in a leather bound book, cocktail recipes for the mini-bar, sweet postcards, etc. Nothing crazy but every little touch is a bit elevated compared to your standard hotel. My favorite example of this is the mini soaps/shampoos in the bathroom. First of all, I will admit to really (& oddly) loving hotel toiletries from the minis to the bigger environmentally friendly ones, they just really excite me. So you can imagine how pumped I was when I saw that the room was stocked with mini Le Labo’s Santal 33 lotions and shampoos. It’s popular for a reason, that relaxing woodsy gender-less fragrance is just awesome, and it made me so excited as I stuffed a few extras into my suitcase.
When Sam made the reservation he scored a deal that included the breakfast buffet in our room rate. We knew it would make those jet-lag fueled early mornings easier and help set the tone for our day. Each morning we had the choice of a hot item from the menu and/or the phenomenal buffet. From the hot menu, we had a variety of omelette choices, oatmeal etc. I think we worked through every option and everything was light and delicious. The buffet also became a daily exercise in self-restraint. Fresh juices, plain & non-dairy yogurt with an amazing mulesi bar. It also had all the amazingness of a European buffet – cold meats, cheeses, good bread and an assortment of fruit. We were almost always the first ones in the restaurant in the morning and enjoyed having it to ourselves. The best part is how accommodating the staff was – we always got a table near the window as it worked as good spot to park the baby and it was nice to see Amsterdam wake up. Charlie had just started eating solids, and they offered to make him a baby-friendly scrambled egg – his first! Out came the softest scrambled egg and then we ordered it every single day until we left.
Restaurant Janz: We did a few dinners out of the hotel, but having a restaurant in the hotel became our plan for two nights. We planned early reservations and the enjoyed seeing the change from morning buffet to candlelit tables. Food, wine were all amazing and it was a great to have a wonderful option in the hotel. We had salmon, veg & pork but all were very good and it made for a wonderful night out with baby.
The Pulitzer bar is an amazing addition to the hotel and it seemed popular with both hotel guests and locals. After nap time, we would head to the bar for an early cocktail hour. It had a beautiful bar area plus lots of cozy nooks combined with canal views so we could enjoy a libation and slow down a bit The drink menu was a mix of classic and inventive cocktails + wine and beer, and they had a pretty solid cheese tray. The best part was how sweet the bar tenders were to our babe; Charlie loved the shaking sound of drinks being made and they would indulge him by ensuring he could see the whole show. We mainly stuck to wine, but ventured out to try 2 cocktails on our last night and they were totally worth it. \
“A bar where time stands still (even if it’s just for a minute) is as good as a holiday.”
Basically the best of Dutch hospitality. Genuine kindness towards and appreciation of family travel – they made us feel welcome and special at every step of our holiday. From early morning breakfasts to when parents needed a cocktail hour it was just great service and care. But ultimately my favorite part of our stay is when they surprised us with a customized onesie for our boy; totally unexpected and a it became a just a sweet memento of our visit.
Boutique hotels may not always strike people as inherently family friendly but this hotel mostly delivers. They are very welcoming of families and our second visit, we confirmed that the combination of location, Dutch hospitality, and in-hotel meals made for an excellent holiday. 10/10 will stay here again- can’t wait for our 3rd visit.
You know it’s a great hotel when you get a good dose of karma as you check out. Given that we didn’t need to arrive in Brussels until early evening, we had asked for and received a late checkout. That gave us time to have a leisurely breakfast, a long morning walk, baby nap, and lunch before checking out. It also led to one of the greatest reunions in years. We were in the lobby and Sam was checking out – I was nursing Charlie – and then Sam came up to me and said “I think I know that couple who is checking in, I think that we chartered a boat together in Zanzibar when they were on their honeymoon 15 years ago” – now Sam can be shy on occasion and debated asking them if they were indeed that couple, I pushed him on and reminded him that at best it would be a fun reunion, and at worst it would be a quick apology to a stranger. In my mind, nothing to lose. So he got up the courage and asked the couple, “by any chance did you honeymoon in Zanzibar many years ago?” – and they said “Yes, Sam?” And proceeded to recount their lovely honeymoon that somehow ended up on a chartered boat in Zanzibar with 3 young American dudes in their early 20s. The couple now had 3 kids, lived in Ireland, and were in Amsterdam for a quick city break- they had never been to Amsterdam as a family nor had they stayed at The Pulitzer – but, as they say “karma” so it was a lovely round of introductions and a short reunion but one of those fabulous travel moments that makes the big world seem really small.