Strolling along the charming tree-lined canal street before passing through the iron gate of Keizersgracht 384 into a cobblestone courtyard and up into the lobby of The Dylan Amsterdam, guests might not realize they’re entering one of Amsterdam’s most historic locations.
Founded on the site in the early 1600s, the Duytsche Academie theater produced hundreds of performances that entertained the era’s rich and famous such as the king of Poland, the Russian czar, and many others. Antonio Vivaldi conducted the theater’s orchestra on its 100th anniversary. Tragically, on May 11, 1772, a fire broke out during a performance, burning down the theater and killing 11 people.
Today, the entrance gate of The Dylan Amsterdam—a 40-room boutique hotel that combines the luxury of Old World Amsterdam with the modern conveniences travelers expect—is all that remains of that historic theater. Marble floors, fresh flowers, and friendly staff greet guests at the door. Wood-paneled walls, leather upholstery, and a fire always lit in the living room fireplace provide guests the cozy warmth of relaxation after a day of exploring the city.
In 1773 the Roman Catholic Church bought the property to bake bread for the city’s needy. Today, those same bread-baking ovens adorn Vinkeles, the hotel’s Michelin-starred contemporary French restaurant. Executive Chef Dennis Kuipers is known for dishes such as Anjou pigeon “Imperial” with preserved blackberries and pommes tsarine with crème fraîche and caviar. For a more casual dining option OCCO serves a brasserie-style menu from morning until night.
Located in the heart of the canal district, where boutiques, cafes, and gift shops line the streets in every direction, the Dylan Hotel is a perfect jumping-off point for exploring Amsterdam. Just a short stroll from the hotel is Envy, a chic, Michelin-awarded small-plates restaurant. The Seafood Bar, a modern restaurant serving fresh fish and great wines, and Bussia, an upscale Italian bistro, are also within walking distance.
Nearby P.C. Hooftstraat is Amsterdam’s most exclusive shopping street, featuring Chanel, Louis Vuitton, DKNY, and others. Neighboring Van Baerlestraat offers brands such as Vanilia, Gant, and Miss Sixty, while Cornelis Schuytstraat features famous Dutch designers like lingerie guru Marlies Dekkers. Popular tourist destinations, including the Anne Frank House, Van Gogh Museum, and Rijksmuseum, are within a ten-minute walk from the hotel.
Explore the city like the Dutch and rent a bike from the hotel or numerous vendors across town. The best way to see Amsterdam, however, is from the water. Canal tours are almost as ubiquitous as bike tours. For a truly exceptional experience, book The Dylan Amsterdam’s own restored 19th-century saloon boat The Muze. Captain Nico guides visitors through the canals for a private, hour-and-a-half tour, catered by the hotel’s Vinkeles restaurant. ■