12 cool canal hotels in Amsterdam, from converted bridge huts to former merchants' houses

Rodney Bolt
With a magnificent canal out the front and a large garden out the back, the Waldorf Astoria’s location couldn’t be better.

Amsterdam is its canals: a cobweb-shape of waterways, lined by gabled houses, cut through by side streets crammed with little shops and cafés. It’s a cobweb that has trapped some of the world’s greatest art, starred chefs, zany designers, and a ragbag of folk who respond to the city’s adventurous, creative spirit. A hotel in the Canal Belt, with a waterside view, takes you to the heart of Amsterdam. From the quietly elegant or showily grand, to the cosily homely or engagingly quirky, here's our pick of the best canal hotels in Amsterdam.

Sweets hotel, Amsterdam, Netherlands

Sweets

Amsterdam, Netherlands

9Telegraph expert rating

Sweets is a collection of houses on bridges over the main water thoroughfares into the city. You may be right in the centre of town, in a less-explored neighbourhood, beside the docks, in the middle of the River Amstel, or on the edge of a park. They date from the 17th century to the early 2000s, with many an architectural gem but now out of commission, each of the huts has been cleverly converted into a hotel suite in a way that makes maximum use of space and picks up on the materials, period and style of the original building. Each, by nature of its role, has a commanding view of the canal in all directions. Read expert review From £110 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

An insider guide to Amsterdam

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam, Netherlands

Hotel Pulitzer Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

9Telegraph expert rating

The hotel sits on an attractive stretch of one of Amsterdam’s most gracious canals, a short walk from the Anne Frank House or the Royal Palace on the Dam, in the midst of the Negen Straatjes shopping quarter. Hotel Pulitzer runs through 25 different buildings, between two major canals. It is a delightful warren of passages, stairways, sudden open spaces, with many an original feature intact, but with a refreshingly individual makeover by whizz designer Jacu Strauss. Rooms come in all shapes and sizes and many have fine canal views. Read expert review From £249 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam hotel, Amsterdam

Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

9Telegraph expert rating

With a magnificent canal out the front, large garden out the back, and nearly everything of note in town within reasonable walking distance, the Waldorf’s location couldn’t be better. a staircase that rises through 60 metres of gleaming marble and stucco (by the architect of the Netherlands’ grandest royal palace), Rococo licks and curls, 17th-century ceiling paintings. Parts reach museum perfection and then comes an elegant newer layer, where the style is contemporary, but the tone maintained. In the rooms, classic good taste prevails. Read expert review From £419 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best hotels in Amsterdam

Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam, Netherlands

Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

9Telegraph expert rating

An oasis of calm right in the heart of town, on the edge of the Red Light District. It’s a place of elegance and repose originally built in 1578 as a monastery, doubling as a lodge for royal visitors. Later on it became an Admiralty Building, before becoming Amsterdam's City Hall. High ceilings and white marble floors maintain a sense of grandeur, while French interiors architect Sybille de Margerie has worked magic to soften the monumental interior with warm colours and witty design touches, creating a contemporary mood. There's an excellent restaurant and beautiful garden courtyard. Read expert review From £230 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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hotel estherea, amsterdam, netherlands

Hotel Estherea

Amsterdam, Netherlands

9Telegraph expert rating

On one of Amsterdam’s oldest canals, in the heart of the Negen Straatjes – the ‘Nine Little Streets’, a hip shopping, café and restaurant quarter. The style is old Amsterdam meets opera-set bordello. Patterns on every fabric, different paper on every wall. Fake cherry blossom, real orchids, and crystal chandeliers with frilly shades, fill three adjoining canal houses. There are more than 90 rooms with different décor. One is done up floor to ceiling in Delftware blue and white; another panelled and draped in russets and browns. Read expert review From £132 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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The Hoxton, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

The Hoxton, Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

9Telegraph expert rating

Herengracht is one of Amsterdam’s most desirable addresses, and the hotel's prime spot overlooking the canal puts the top attractions within walking distance. The industrial-chic design and Modernism-meets-contemporary decor of the Shoreditch and Holborn properties is in evidence, particularly in the public spaces, where dark wood, autumnal-hued upholstery and subway tiled-walls are set aglow by vast windows and a glass-topped courtyard. Battered leather sofas, vintage lighting and Fifties Danish furniture populate a lobby made for lounging. It’s in the bedrooms that the designers’ sensitivity to heritage is most evident. Read expert review From £162 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

The best hotels in Amsterdam

The Toren Hotel, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Toren

Amsterdam, Netherlands

8Telegraph expert rating

On an attractive stretch of canal within the central canal belt, just around the corner from the Negen Straatjes shopping area. Expect luscious fabrics, deep purples, rich colours, soft chairs, dark carved wood, subtle lighting and chandeliers. Mysterious and womb-like, The Toren is set in a couple of grand canal houses, and seems to suck you back into another world the moment you step through the door. Here and there original features remain – a painted ceiling, carved wainscoting, stucco moulding. Read expert review From £150 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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Seven One Seven, Amsterdam

Seven One Seven

Amsterdam, Netherlands

8Telegraph expert rating

Seven One Seven is the stuff dreams are made of: somewhere to go for that special occasion, or to give yourself a real treat – and it’s in the heart of town. Staying here is as close as you can get to the experience of living in a stately Amsterdam canal house without actually owning one: it’s all very grand, yet with a homely touch. There’s no bar or reception, you simply order a high tea in the drawing room or glass of brandy in the library from staff. The two Executive suites at the front of the house have enormous windows, with prime views of the Prinsengracht canal, but the ones to the rear are just as charming. Read expert review From £190 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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The Vanguard, Amsterdam, Netherlands

The Vanguard

Amsterdam, Netherlands

8Telegraph expert rating

This 1622 merchant’s house on the corner of two beautiful canals has been restored and imaginatively decorated, with warm colours, period pieces such as leather armchairs, mahogany furniture, and old porcelain offset by quirkier touches (portraits of dogs wearing clothes). Cuddles and curiosity provided by Lapsang the cat. The two rooms are spacious: one with magnificent views over both canals, and a palatially sized bathroom; the other, under the rafters, features a mini sundeck, with a view over the rooftops. Cynthia Mertens brings decades of experience into running her b&b with style and aplomb (and a good breakfast). Read expert review From £177 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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Andaz Amsterdam

Amsterdam, Netherlands

8Telegraph expert rating

To enter Andaz is to walk through a dream-like design adventure, where Dutch design maestro Marcel Wanders has let his imagination run riot. Think Alice in Wonderland meets Golden Age history, with a dose of wry Dutch (and the occasional nod to the building’s past as a library). The Wonderland surreal touch continues upstairs (a giant fish that becomes a spoon above the bed; a plate that teeters permanently on the edge of a shelf; your own tulip armchair), but there’s a sound undercurrent of practicality. There’s also a tranquil spa, a hip cocktail bar and an excellent restaurant. Read expert review From £201 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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Kamer 01, Amsterdam, , Netherlands

Kamer 01

Amsterdam, Netherlands

9Telegraph expert rating

A 16th-century canal house in an excellent canalside location midway between Centraal Station and the major museums. The house, which dates to 1585 has been restored in a way that preserves its past but steps firmly into the 21st century. Original features remain (wooden beams, old brickwork, a spiral staircase), enlivened by bold colours and inviting fabrics. There’s an open bar (included in the price), good coffee and a huge range of teas (and fine petits four when a sugar-kick is needed), and a champagne breakfast is delivered with style, in an air of genuine home hospitality. A secluded roof terrace (up a steep ladder) with musically tinkling Balinese umbrellas completes the picture. Read expert review From £228 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com

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Mr Jordaan, Amsterdam

Mr. JORDAAN

Amsterdam, Netherlands

8Telegraph expert rating

These two canal houses, on a pretty, quiet, largely residential canal in the heart of the artsy Jordaan district, are hip yet homely – think boutique-hotel style (bare brick walls, Sixties/Seventies retro designer chairs) with a welcoming warmth created by soft hues of olive, grey and brown, and a relaxed, cheery atmosphere. All-day free coffee and a large communal table in a private, café-like space off the lobby means guests hang out together and share experiences. Rooms vary in shape and size, as these higgledy-piggledy old houses dictate. Some have lovely canal views, others look out over neighbouring rooftops or internally. Read expert review From £80 per night Check availability Rates provided by Booking.com