Excitingly, the Mercedes-Maybach EQS, the brands first electric vehicle, has switched gears from concept to test. Throughout 2022, the ultra-luxury electric prototype was being moulded into a car that you are driven in, not one that you drive. With 24-inch wheels, extravagant styling, a deluxe cabin layered with faux fur carpeting, a flower vase and rose gold trim you will need to wait a little longer before you can be chauffeured in this hyper modern car with its 56-inch screen control interface and Dolby Atmos surround sound.
Never fret, Afrett, the aptly named driver from Marcus Executive Car Service at Schiphol Airport, assures us that the while he is waiting to pick up the Maybach keys, the next best Mercedes from their fleet will swiftly whisk us from the private carpark to the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky all while gently massaging our weary travel laden shoulders.
Yes, the car does perform massages of varying strengths and temperatures, while automatically driving, periodically reminding Afrett to rest his hands on the wheel – more for comfort than necessity.
As we approach the hotel, the tinted windows do not dull the vibrant white twinkling lights draped metaphorically like a fur Stoll on its shoulders. The thirty-minute journey is predominantly direct apart from the last section which deftly tests our chariot. Having to navigate various gratchen, or canals, of which there are 100 kilometres punctuated by more than 1500 bridges is no mean feat.
Situated on arguably the most important square in Amsterdam, Dam Square, the newly refurbished hotel exudes grandeur laced with super-modern vibes underpinned with historical respect.
Originally a 13th century dam on the River Amstel, Dam Square was once a fish market. Now it connects the main streets of Damrak and Rodin and it thrives with street performers and dive-bombing pigeons, no doubt still searching for the fish.
The rattle of passing trams triggers a cultural familiarity matched perfectly with the flower vendors prepping tulip bulbs, craftsmen carving clogs and the waft of fresh frites lathered in thick mayonnaise.
The Koninklijk Paleis, or Royal Palace and the 14th century gothic Nieuwe Kerk, Amsterdam’s New Church, sit comfortably alongside Madame Tussauds and De Bijenkorf, an upscale department store. At the epicentre, The National Monument with its 22-metre-high stone pilar pays homage to the casualties of World War II.
Long before then, in 1865, a 22-year-old tailor Adolph Wilhelm Krasnapolsky arrived in Amsterdam from Germany seeking his fortune. He took over a struggling Polish coffeehouse on Warmoe Straat, eventually expanding it into the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky. Even then it was cutting edge, the use of glass, iron and electric lighting was a novelty.
The ‘Kras’ as it is fondly referred to, remains cutting edge, driving, and maintaining pace with trends, even becoming an Instagram Mecca.
Celebrities such as the Real Housewives of Amsterdam come here to launch their next season. Sporting heroes congregate in its chic bar, ‘The Tailor’.
A delightful nod to Adolph and his original profession.
A home from home, the hotel excels in luxury with a side of comfort. Many of the ultra-rich that live in the apartment block next door order room service regularly, dining on Michelin star fayre washed down with a signature cocktail. Listen for the service trolleys as they trundle noisily across the cobble stones between the two buildings.
The foyer whispers understated elegance with a touch of pizazz. Large shiny silver balls, silver wall art, dark columns and sumptuous sofas set the initial tone.
The Tailor Bar continues the shroud of mystery, with freestanding silver artworks and dark wood highlighted by brilliant white uplighters. Rustic amber leather sofas and dark grey velvet chairs are flanked by tailor’s dummies dressed in waistcoats and dickie bow ties.
Purveyors of fine cocktails, the mixologists have delved into the history of fabrics, recreating drinks based on different eras. The preindustrial new world is defined by rich colourful fabrics. The preindustrial old world represents lineages, families, and cities. These drinks are strong and rich in flavour like The Highlander, mixed with Balvenie 12 Double Scotch, heather honey, rosemary, Fee brothers walnut bitters and goat’s cheese. Each cocktail comes with its own story and a helping of nuts and spicey popcorn. Diligence is paramount, with buttons as placemats and flavours honed to perfection, an evening sipping your way through the industrial revolution would be a history lesson you don’t want to skip.
Moving from the bar, the corridors begin to feel lighter.
The Grand Café Krasnapolsky is a light and airy space with magnificent views of Dam Square. Renowned for its afternoon tea, especially the pastries which are displayed in the ‘Cake Room,’ it’s take on the traditional English afternoon tea is a joy.
A flute of champagne is always a perfect start.
Jochem explains that a local company, Harlem, blends the teas scientifically to optimise flavour. Mouthfuls of steak tartare and avocado with sundried tomato are matched with a refreshing lemongrass, mint, and ginger tea. A Taiwanese Uno tea, made with piping hot buffalo milk enhances the sweetness of the scones. That and the homemade lemon curd. Dessert is complemented by a black tea made with lemon zest and marigold.
Next door, The White Room is under the command of 3-star Michelin chef, Jacob Jan Boerma, and lead by Chef de Cuisine Tristan de Boer. The White Room is derived from the historical name of the room ‘De Witte Zaal’, the name that was given to the restaurant when it first opened in 1885. The room is listed as a monument and considered to be the oldest restaurant in Amsterdam. Gold rimmed plates adorn the tables, crystal chandeliers set the mood. Indulge in the ‘gold’ themed menu, an eleven-course tasting menu featuring razor clams, Kingfish and Anjou pigeon.
The white marbled floored corridor with muted green walls and burgundy sofas leads to The Wintergarden. A spellbinding 19th century glass covered inner garden.
The Alice in Wonderland black and white checked floor spills from the steps at the entrance. The wrought iron tables and chairs provide the perfect base to feast on breakfast. Freshly made waffles, eggs, meats, and pastries beckon as the sun streams through the glass ceiling.
A perfect start to the day.
For Champagne connoisseurs a trip to The Champagne Room is a must. It has ten different varieties, by the bottle or the glass. You choose.
A well equipped 24-hour gym overlooks a donut shop, hopefully this will assist with motivation. If not, undertake more relaxing activity, the Anantara Spa offers a mixture of signature spa treatments, and saunas.
The hotel has 402 rooms, many with stunning views over the square or the canals.
Warm beige, creams and soft greys are welcoming. Images of Amsterdam feature on the walls. A local book, The Devil is Old, an ode to the senior citizens of the city is a catchy touch.
A delicious Dutch Stroop waffle, a thin round waffle cookie made from two layers of sweet baked dough with caramel filling rests beside a Nespresso machine.
Emblazoned on the back of the packaging is the Anantara belief that life is a journey.
Whatever way your journey to the Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Amsterdam starts, be it in a Mercedes Maybach or not, you will not want it to end.
For more information visit Anantara Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky Amsterdam