During our final stay in Amsterdam, I chose to review Hotel Okura Amsterdam, which was located in trendy De Pijp, 1 km from the museum quarter. This hotel is the only Japanese Hotel owned by Okura in Europe. I have not been to Japan yet so it was nice to get a small insight of what Japan’s architecture is all about. The Okura hotel had amazing access to the canal next to it, which provided me with a gorgeous way to enjoy both the outside restaurant and the surroundings of Amsterdam. On entrance, the hotel has a modern feel to it regarding Japanese architecture with my favourite being the ceiling lights which reminded me of floating jellyfish. Throughout this hotel the standard of upkeep is very high, even though the hotel is 45 years old you can’t tell that at all. Everything for such a large space was well maintained and very clean.
Restaurants & Twenty Third Bar
Now this hotel is known for its Michelin starred restaurants, it has three of them one 3 stars and two one star. I got shown around the various options where you can either dine-in or also book group sessions to learn the fine art of Japanese food. Everything looked of a very high standard and was one of the unique selling points to the hotel. So if for those looking for something different this is the hotel for you.
There were two Japanese Michelin starred restaurants, the traditional Japanese Yamazato was awarded a Michelin star since 2002 and overlooks a Japanese garden. Then there is also the Teppanyaki Restaurant Sazanka, which is the first and so far only teppanyaki restaurant in Europe to be awarded a Michelin star. The other restaurant was the two Michelin star called Ciel Bleu and was located on the 23rd floor. This one had literally been renovated, they reopened their doors whilst I was there and it looked very interesting. The views up here of Amsterdam were breathtaking. So if you’re not staying here but want to enjoy one of the best-known restaurants in Amsterdam, then this is the place to try it.
Right next to it is, this international champagne and cocktail bar on the 23rd floor of Hotel Okura Amsterdam. Marc Wüst, the barman, had been working throughout the hotel for 30 years and he was very knowledgeable regarding any cocktail let alone cognac. He gave me a close view of a Louis XIII cognac which cost about €160 a glass. I drank my cocktail here and enjoyed the night views of Amsterdam beneath me.
Finally, If you would like to learn how to cook like a Michelin starred chef? You’ll find the perfect place to do just that at Hotel Okura Amsterdam. In the cookery studio ‘Taste of Okura’, Chef de Cuisine Louise O’Hare will show you exactly how to prepare your own Michelin star-worthy dishes. This is a nice way to bring groups together or friends for a unique night out and learn how to make Japanese food. There was another room right next to the cookery studio which was dedicated to wine tasting with some quirky experiences.
— Gracie Opulanza (@gracieopulanza) August 15, 2016
The Executive Rooms were located at the higher floors of the hotel, guaranteeing panoramic views over Amsterdam. I have to say it was the best city bathroom view I have ever had. Overlooking the canal below was amazing whilst sitting on the toilet. Yes speaking of the toilet, these luxury hotel rooms were also equipped with several technical gadgets like a Japanese toilet with heated seats and other gadgets. This was my first Japanese toilet experience and it was so much fun that I would certainly invest in one regarding my future home.
— Gracie Opulanza (@gracieopulanza) August 16, 2016
The touchscreen to adjust the curtains, the room temperature and the mood lighting from your extra-large Eastbourne bed, was a great idea but in fact, on this occasion, none of it worked as it should. It was a funny experience as I was lying in my bed the wardrobe lighting had a mind of its own, every time I moved in the bed the wardrobe light would go on. The curtains would not close but that was OK, with a view like this who wants them closed anyway.
The coffee machine was always a fabulous thing to have and alongside this, I liked the pillow menu. I travel a lot so in this case, a pillow menu is a nice added luxury touch, in where you can choose which type of pillow to sleep on. The room had a historical feel to it and the wood was gorgeous to see throughout the night. On this occasion as far as Dutch beds go it was the smallest queen size I slept in, but that’s OK because just like the Japanese I am not so tall after all. There were a lot of Japanese guests staying here which was always a good message.
As part of the executive room, I got access to the Nagomi Spa & Health which had the largest indoor swimming pool of any hotel in Amsterdam. The Okura Amsterdam added the health club into a new building which feels very modern and is separate to the hotel. The pool was lovely and the sauna and steam room were very clean and modern, in fact, the whole Spa was of a very high standard for such a hotel. There was also an area where people can lounge around to relax and unwind, which is great when suffering from jet lag.
The breakfast at the Okura Amsterdam was a buffet which is mainly full of European & American choices. However, there was a tiny section of the main rice and Japanese soup which surprised me as I expected more Japanese foods here. Especially considering the high standard of Japanese cuisines available throughout the hotel. The fresh juices were a different touch and nice to have as an available option. There were more than enough choices here to start your day and the service was excellent.
For me, the Hotel Okura Amsterdam really prides itself in the up keeping of the building and after more than 45 years it stills looks great. Obviously, the very heart of the hotel is the Japanese cuisines, the three Michelin starred restaurants and the views over Amsterdam. If you are a lover of Japan and or are thinking of visiting, then this is a great hotel to start that journey for you. This hotel is situated in a part of Amsterdam called De Pijp area, which has many funky shops and eateries.
- Room reviewed: Executive room – from €539.00
- Website: www.okura.nl
- Address: Ferdinand Bolstraat 333, 1072 LH Amsterdam, Netherlands
- Phone: +31 20 678 7111