Luxury is such a precious word when you dabble in it. But once in a while, maybe? Because who wants to develop a thick skin when it comes to appreciating the good things in life.
Adi and I are cost-conscious travellers. When you are passionate about travel and want to see as much of the world as we do, it is quite impossible to indulge in luxury in the true sense of the word (unless you have trust funds in place).
On that note you will, if you can imagine, feel the thrill we felt when we walked into the InterContinental Amstel. The five-star hotel as you can see on the main featured photograph is a beauty and sits on the river Amstel in Amsterdam. On a dull day when a fine mist hung in the air, we were at the portal of this old-world Dutch hotel. A doorman in a smart livery and top hat ushered us into a warmly lit lobby that was marked by classic white walls, high ceilings, glittering chandeliers and sconces. It radiated a sense of classic grandeur. The interiors were not of behemoth proportions because before it opened doors in 1867 its founder Dr Samuel Sarphati had fallen short of funds. He died during its construction. This man, a Dutch physician of Portuguese Sephardi Jew descent, was key to developing the city of Amsterdam. He was a philanthropist. After he came to understand the poor hygiene of the people while treating them, he set up projects to uplift them and the city at large. He set up a bread factory that would produce affordable but good bread and initiated an effective waste collection system. Let’s put it thus: Amsterdam owes him.
Back into the exalted lobby of the InterContinental Amstel, there is a bust of Sarphati inside to make you look up the unusual name of the gentleman. Though I did chance upon a ‘tabloid’ titled Amstel Times. An interesting way of putting out information about its 150-year-old history. Instead of gadding about it further, I shall let the photographs take you into the hotel.
Lastly, I have to mention the chief concierge, Aad van den Berg, who was lovely with his recommendations. He got us tickets for Anne Frank House which we had failed to book online because they happened to be sold out. Did I mention also that this was an IHG free reward night redemption at the InterContinental Amstel? Well then, let me say this that if you have a free reward night too and you are in this beautiful, vibrant city, you know where to look in. For me, it made me feel nothing less than a pampered princess.