Today, Mr & Mrs Smith have nipped to the Netherlands to bring you our latest hotel of the week – a one-time party pad beside one of Amsterdam’s major canals. The current owners bought the building lock, stock and barrel from the old inhabitants, and have left the mightily be-tomed library, picture-lined walls and assorted family memorabilia largely untouched, so guests feel like they’re bedding down in a private home – albeit one with rooms named after a Who’s Who of high culture: Schubert, Shakespeare, Goethe, Picasso and Tolkien all appear on boudoir doors. Welcome to Hotel Seven One Seven – an address you’re unlikely to forget…
Style Lavish, lived-in eccentricity
Setting Buzzy waterside
Why this week? Amsterdam looks her best in autumn when the canals shimmer in the dusky light and her red and ochre leaves burn brightly against the stone of the town-houses. But that’s not the only reason to make a visit to this secret hideaway of a hotel. For Smith members booking a long weekend in one of the Junior suites before 30 December, the third night is free. Lounge with Liszt, take time out with Tolkien, or snooze in the Shakespeare suite for three nights, at €960 including breakfast, minibar drinks, house wine and taxes.
Our favourite bit Hotel Seven One Seven flies in the face of minimalism. All the rooms are imaginatively decorated and thoughtfully and copiously furnished: none would disappoint. If you’re forcing us to pick, our favourite is the Tolkien Suite for its hold-me-close romanticism; but each suite has its own individual touches: a candle-lit music stand is placed serenely in the Liszt suite and a framed sonnet catches the eye in the Shakespeare. The hotel’s breakfast is, as you’d expect in this exuberant place, a thing to behold and, with a free minibar, champagne at breakfast might prove too much to resist. They also offer afternoon tea with more pastries than you can shake a brioche at and, although Seven One Seven doesn’t have a restaurant, you can still opt to eat in your room thanks to an arrangement with nearby restaurant Mashua. If there are any stresses or aches still lingering, summon one of the hotel’s team of Ken Tui masseurs to help rub away your cares.
Mr and Mrs Smith say ‘Hotel Seven One Seven is a very attractive old canalhouse, with no obvious ‘hotel’ entrance or big declaration: just a brass bell by the Amsterdam-green door. It feels like home. It looks like a home, too, which isn’t too surprising, since it was a private dwelling until the owners moved out and paying guests moved in. What began as a weekend-party place turned into a business; since then, it has changed hands; its current owners fell in love with it in 1997.
On arrival, we were met with comfort and atmosphere. We were given the Shakespeare Suite, which had the same warm, anti-minimalist decor as the rest of the property, and a quirky combination of contents: huge Victorian brass bed, rich throws, suiting material for curtains, an unusual parquet-topped sideboard, and family memorabilia giving it a lived-in, personal appeal. We concluded that those weekenders who got to hang out here before it became a business were very lucky people.’
Compiled by Lizzie Davis