Our stay at The Dylan was a long…time…coming. Two-and-a-half years to be precise. We originally made a booking for March 2020 but had to cancel when the pandemic arrived. The Dylan was kind enough to offer a credit to use by year’s end (we had prepaid). But when COVID dragged on, The Dylan extended our credit two more times, eventually until May 2022. Travel began opening up in The Netherlands in March 2022, but at that time, we couldn’t get away.
When it looked, at last, as if we could visit Amsterdam in October 2022, The Dylan once again extended our credit. In our minds, this courtesy went far above and beyond, and we wanted to make sure The Dylan realized at least some financial benefit from our stay two years after our original booking, so we upgraded our room and assured the folks at the hotel that we would, in fact, make it this time. Much to our delight, we did!
Finally, we have arrived
Upon our arrival at the hotel on the Keizersgracht Canal (we took the train from Schiphol Airport to Amsterdam Central Station and then had a lovely 10-minute walk to The Dylan) we were welcomed in to the intimate lobby to sit by the fireplace and take care of registration details. While completing the paperwork, we’ll admit that one of us was momentarily overcome with emotion; the check-in process was symbolic of the fact that we had finally made it to The Dylan after so many false starts and, on a larger scale, symbolic of the fact that we were finally travelling internationally again.
Our luggage was taken off our hands in exchange for tea and baked goods. Because we arrived at 11 am, our room wasn’t ready, but after giving us a tour of the hotel’s amenities, the reception staff pointed us in the direction of a nearby spot to get coffee and handed us a city map so we could do some exploring. They promised a phone call when our room was ready.
A truly beautiful room
After a cappuccino and walk around central Amsterdam, we returned to see if our room was ready. It was, and a member of the staff escorted us up to give a primer on the room’s features. We had chosen a junior suite with a canal view, and the view was one of the first things we noticed. Two big windows looked directly out on the Keizersgracht. But the room itself matched the view. The generously sized suite included a seating area with a love seat and two chairs, a desk for two, a well-stocked coffee/cocktails bar, and a bathroom with a deep soaker tub, a spacious shower and a separate toilet closet. The design in darker hues was modern but not cold; it felt a little masculine, which was a nice shift from the design approach we often see.
A few features of the room are worth noting. The Bose sound system with The Dylan’s playlist was queued up when we arrived and each day when we returned to the room. The playlist hit just the right tone – coincidentally, it included a song from a “neighbor,” Bon Iver – and although we played our own music once or twice, we were happy to let The Dylan choose the music. The Illy espresso machine was perfect for the few mornings when we had to wake to an alarm and needed a caffeine boost before leaving the room. We couldn’t get enough of the Aesop bath products. And after a hot shower or a nice bath, the fluffiest-ever slippers awaited.
Getting it right again…and again
The room hit all the right notes for us, but it was the service that capped off the experience and made The Dylan one of our all-time top stays. Shortly after arriving, a staff member delivered a big bottle of water, a box of Vinoos wine gummies and a handwritten note from the general manager. These little surprises continued throughout our stay, with each night’s turndown service featuring a little gift (a Dutch clogs keychain, baked goods, more wine gummies) and daily housekeeping service that replenished anything we may have used the night before.
The concierge team was top-notch and helped us with restaurant bookings and an early-morning transport to the airport. And the bartenders in the hotel bar, Occo, introduced us to some terrific local spirits.
Beyond our room
The Dylan occupies two buildings that represent classic Amsterdam architecture; from the street, the hotel blends right in with its neighbors. The front entrance sits at the far end of a lovely courtyard, and the connected buildings result in passageways made for exploring. Our room was the ideal choice for our first stay at The Dylan; the canal view is classic. But every individually designed room at the hotel looks like a stand-out, and we’d be tempted to try a different room on our next visit just to experience something new. Beyond our room, we spent time in the hotel’s lounge looking out on its inner courtyard. All of the common areas are inviting and feel like extensions of guest rooms’ living space.
Before our visit to The Dylan, it had been 30 years since we spent time in Amsterdam. For travelers from the US, the city can tend to be viewed as a transfer spot to other European destinations. But Amsterdam is a city with much to offer, and The Dylan is one of its shining stars. We can’t wait to return.
- The Dylan Amsterdam, 9-Streets neighborhood on the Keizersgracht Canal
- 4-night stay: October 6-10, 2022
- Canal view junior suite, Room #40
What we did, where we ate:
Eating and drinking:
- Café Piet de Gruyter
- Snacks/lunch at:
- Fabel Friet (eaten alongside the canal)
- Coffee and Coconuts
Outings and adventures:
- Oude Kerk and old town
- Walking tour of the Jordaan
- Westerpark and Nelson Carrilho sculpture
- Rijks Museum and the Clara the Rhinoceros exhibit
- Walking tour of De Pijp, Golden Bend, Amstel River, Jewish Quarter, Begijnhof
- Walk through Vondelpark
- Van Gogh Museum
- Walking tour of De Dagerad housing estate (Amsterdam School of Architecture) and then stops by Amsterdam’s skinniest house, largest bell gable house and dolphin house
- Boat ride on the Prinsengracht and Herengracht canals