This is an installment in my Istanbul: End of Year Mileage Run with Dad series. Posts include; Cheap Istanbul Flights: From $576 Total Roundtrip on Delta from JFK, Help Plan My Long Weekend in Istanbul,Flight Review: Alitalia JFK-Rome in Coach, Hotel Review: Westin Excelsior Rome, Hotel Review: Park Hyatt Istanbul Spa Room, Istanbul Eats and Excursions.
The next stop on my European adventure with Dad was Amsterdam, where we stayed at a Starwood Luxury Collection property called the Hotel Pulitzer (hey, I have to keep racking up those SPG points and status!). In fact, I almost exclusively use my Starwood points when I travel to Europe because the Euro makes hotels very expensive (well, at least for now) and I get treated extremely well as a Starwood Platinum in Europe – even on points stays.
This hotel is pretty awesome—basically they took over a block of 25 traditional 16th and 17th century Amsterdam canal houses along the famous Prinsengracht canal near the central city, and converted them into 230 rooms. Despite that size, from what we saw, a lot of the seem to have an individual character (and varying sizes—see below!).
As happened at the Westin Rome, my SPG Platinum elite upgrade came through without a hitch, but in addition to that, my dad also got an upgrade.
We had booked two Classic Rooms using SPG’s Cash & Points option for 4,800 Starpoints and $90 each. These rooms go for around 259 euros or $340 a night, endowing those points with a value of about 5.2 cents each, which is already a great value in and of itself. However, dad was upgraded to a Junior Suite priced at around 449 euros ($585) and I got a huge two-bedroom duplex suite that goes for starting at 549 euros ($715).
As I said, we originally booked Classic Rooms and had no idea what to expect since they range from 160-270 square feet, so you can end up with a really tiny room if you’re not aware. My last stay as a Platinum I got a regular canal view room, which was spacious and had a lot of character.
Luckily, dad’s Junior Suite (about 3 room categories higher) was a lot larger. Though these can also range widely from 310-635 square feet, he seemed to end up somewhere in the middle of that square footage, and loved the atmospheric feeling of the heavy wooden beams, and the extra space he had with a living room area with lots of seating.
My suite was a fair bit bigger at almost 1,000 square feet, and I loved the cheery bright green wooden beams crisscrossing the ceiling in one of the bedrooms, and the gable In addition to the two bedrooms, it had a large living room area with an armchair, sofa, small dining table, flat-screen and work desk.
Despite the disparity in room size, I really had a great experience at the Pulitzer. That’s thanks in part to my SPG Platinum perks like free WiFi (it’s usually for a fee) and free breakfast in the restaurant (last time I didn’t get free breakfast, but this time they said it was included, so I’m not sure if that’s a policy change or mistake on their side).
I also love properties that combine a sense of history with modern amenities, and this one certainly did that. Its setting was definitely, uniquely Amsterdam, and the design touches wouldn’t be out of place in any of the world’s most sophisticated destinations.
Apart from the rooms, we did drinks in the cozy lobby bar and they also offer a business center with free internet. For dinner on my last night, I met up with several Dutch friends and we dined at the trendy Lion Noir restaurant, which was fantastic. Great ambiance and food – I had the leg of venison with pumpkin puree, Brussels sprouts, chestnuts and game sauce with cranberries which I’d highly recommend.
I took a few shots of my suite, and Christmastime Amsterdam, so take a look. As always, I love Amsterdam at all times of the year and look forward to my next visit – even if it’s only a day-long layover!
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