Welcome to NYLON’s City Guides, your one-stop shop for the ideal vacation. Here, you’ll find the ultimate recommendations when it comes to where to stay, eat, drink, shop, and more for the world’s hottest cities — all tried and tested by NYLON editors.
Amsterdam: the land of Miffy, canals, stroopwafel, tulips, and a refreshingly relaxed sense of morality. The Dutch city is a picturesque hub for culture; from its storied art history to world-class parties, there’s a reason why the compact city has long been at the top of traveler’s destination wish-lists. Whether the goal is to unwind, score rare designer vintage, or break partying records, Amsterdam is the ideal weekend getaway. Read on for the ideal, NYLON-approved itinerary, ahead.
Where To Stay
The property that now hosts the Conservatorium hotel has lived many lives; prior to its conversion to a luxury hotel, the location was home to one of the foremost music schools in the Netherlands; and before that, the headquarters of the National Dutch bank. The hotel embraces its storied pasts wholeheartedly. The most obvious is in its name, a nod to its musical heritage and one of the cultural crown jewels of Amsterdam. The tributes continue in clever ways, like the name and concept of Taiko, the hotel’s Japanese fusion restaurant, named after the Japanese percussion instrument. (Taiko’s walls are lined with percussive instruments, and to take it a step further, the space was converted from a former percussion classroom.) Mosaics from its time as a bank are still intact, as bright and enticing as they were hundreds of years ago.
While the Conservatorium sits at the heart of Amsterdam's museum district, it’s not at all obvious from inside their rooms. Noise pollution is practically nonexistent, even for rooms overlooking the city’s frequent trolley train. And, ultimately, it’s hard to be distracted by external stimuli in rooms that specialize in immense attention to detail. Stained glass windows highlight old-world beauty and craftsmanship. Lofted beds bring an airy spaciousness. Doors slide to close flush against the wall so seamlessly that less keen eyes could easily miss the closet and bathroom completely. It’d be a damn shame to miss the latter — with its deep soaking tub and rainfall shower, the secluded bathrooms feel like a fortress where relaxation is the only objective, or a pre-game for a day at its celebrated Akasha Spa.
While the bedrooms skew toward the modern, once out the room’s threshold, the hotel’s glamor truly sets in. It’s rare to spend time in a hotel that cherishes its culture the way the Conservatorium has. Stone archways, spiral staircases, and heavy, ornate doors feel transportive. (The feeling is only intensified by Skin, where fragrance-heads can easily spend hours exploring the store’s collection of niche perfumes and playing around with memory.)
The Conservatorium’s balanced marriage of the past and present is best articulated in its lobby. The addition of a glass atrium structure makes what was once the outdoor facade of the building into a bright and welcoming living room and arguably the coziest place from which to watch the city’s frequent rain showers. The Conservatorium isn’t just a hotel — it’s a piece of history.
Paulus Potterstraat 50, 1071 DB Amsterdam, Netherlands
What To Do & Where To Shop
Salon Heleen Hulsmann
Meticulously curated designer vintage is the name of the game at Salon Heleen Hulsmann. The small but well-stocked shop offers plenty of Dries Van Noten, Céline, Alaïa, Jil Sander, and more; look no further for procuring investment pieces of a lifetime.
Jacob Obrechtstraat 18, 1071 KL Amsterdam, Netherlands
Designer bags that often only live in The RealReal’s favorites tab exist here, in the physical store, in all their glory. Come for coveted purses like Dior’s saddle bag to Louis Vuitton Murakami (at fairly reasonable price points!) along with flashy pieces and sets from noughties favorites like Roberto Cavalli and Versace.
Herenstraat 19, 1015 BZ Amsterdam, Netherlands
Van Gogh Museum
While the Dutch masters live in the Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam’s must-see art collection can be found around the corner in the Van Gogh Museum. It’s here that visitors not only see his lesser known works, but come away with a deeper understanding for one of the greatest painters in art history. I found the experience moving beyond the art; Van Gogh is both lauded and humanized within these walls. I highly recommend booking an enthused art tour to leave with a newfound appreciation of beauty, sensitivity, and empathy.
Museumplein 6, 1071 DJ Amsterdam, Netherlands
At the emotional heart of every great city is its public park, and Amsterdam’s Vondelpark is a picturesque microcosm of the city. The green space is vast — perfect for an idle walk, a run, birdwatching, or the always enjoyable people-watching. Vondelpark’s public art highlight happens to be Picasso's Fish, a giant, delightfully absurd fish sculpture. Those who walk through the park without headphones are treated to the park’s most peculiar residents: a colony of wild parakeets, who fly by — often and loudly — in hallucinatory flashes of acid green.
The Conservatorium already feels like its own world, and descending into the Akasha Spa feels like a suspension of time and space. The spa’s treatments are rooted in Ayurveda, created to align the chakras and promote a sense of clarity. Eastern philosophy aside, it’s a place to get an incredibly relaxing massage. Beyond treatments, the Akasha Spa also boasts a tranquil lap pool, as well as saunas, steam rooms, and a traditional Turkish hammam. A few hours spent in the warmth of the Akasha Spa brings instant good karma.
Paulus Potterstraat 50, 1071 DB Amsterdam, Netherlands
Explore “The Culture”
Amsterdam has long been a favorite destination for 19 year olds studying abroad for obvious reasons; its coffee shop culture is a magnet for giggly stoners, while its famed red light district is both surreal and silly. Personally, walking through the latter and seeing how these often harshly-judged women were also mostly bored on their phones made me feel like we were all connected by something bigger, regardless of which side of the glass we stood on.
Where To Go Out
Parallel’s event curation is expansive — exhibitions, concerts, readings, and club nights have a home here. The latter has built a reputation for bringing the party every time, with DJ lineups boasting the most exciting acts from trance to techno and beyond.
Buiksloterweg 5C, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Partying in an abandoned school is already a cinematic concept, and De School elevates it to new heights. A favorite among locals, it’s more importantly has all bases covered for a legendary night out; not only is there an elegant bar and restaurant, but the club is also the destination for Europe’s finest avant-garde and underground DJs. A leisurely dinner followed by a night of dancing without multiple locations? Perfection.
Doctor Jan van Breemenstraat 1-3 1056 AB Amsterdam, Netherlands
How To Get There
Amsterdam’s most slept-on quality is the ease of its travel, which for most, starts at Schiphol Airport located less than 20 minutes from the city’s center. It’s even more of a breeze for those flying direct to Amsterdam from JFK via JetBlue’s latest transatlantic flight route. Since its inaugural flight on August 29, the airline offers multiple direct flights daily from New York City to Amsterdam; those who wish to kick off their vacation from the air can opt for JetBlue’s Mint seating, which boasts seats that convert into fully flat beds, privacy doors, a wide screen television, luxurious amenities to stay refreshed and relaxed, and tasty chef-curated meals and cocktails that feel all the more unreal at 30,000 feet in the air.