No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace as I have seen in one autumnal face – and I’m so grateful I could spend the end of this gorgeous season in Amsterdam. It was a truly amazing but also pretty chilled weekend getaway with my friend, she was such an amazing companion as she lives in Amsterdam.
Amsterdam during Covid
I know we’re all sick and tired of Covid restrictions already but I feel like it’s crucial to briefly talk you through it. The Government of the Netherlands has recently (11/11/2021) announced another – and this time a ”soft” lockdown, which means that all bars/restaurants have to close their doors at 8pm. (More info. here)
Masks are mandatory on public transport and indoors (restaurants, bars, shops etc) and strictly followed by staff. You must show your valid coronavirus entry pass at the venues serving food and drinks. If you’re fully vaccinated you can access the QR code on your NHS app and if not – you can take a free test (valid for 24hrs) at one of many testing points in Amsterdam (find the nearest point and book your slot here: https://testenvoortoegang.org/) I also highly recommend checking Netherland’s official Gov website for latest updates.
Now.. let’s skip to the good part! 🙂
Four Elements Hotel Amsterdam
I’m so excited to introduce you to the most unique hotel in the world – literally! Why? You may ask – well The Four Elements is a 100% sustainable and Eco-Friendly hotel that uses gravity, wind and sunlight to form a natural air conditioning system. This is the first and only (as far as I’m aware) hotel in the world that made it happen and it’s something I’ve never heard of before so I was really curious of how it works. The idea came from Dr. Bronsema who has developed a zero-energy airco by using the building itself as a climate engine. I highly recommend this very interesting article that’d explain the concept in details.
The interiors are absolutely beautiful and tastefully decorated. Rooms are very cosy, welcoming, minimalistic and well equipped. I loved the rustic details such as wooden floors (made from salvaged timber) and concrete ceilings. The furniture was made from recycled PET bottles and they even grow their own herbs which are then used at their restaurant.
I admire their aim to work with local local growers and producers, supporting local businesses and creators and making orders only from local suppliers to avoid unnecessary transport emissions. I love seeing businesses supporting other businesses rather than competing with each other. This is exactly what we need to make this world a better place.
All the plants (including moss-wall decors) are real, fresh and well taken care of daily. Even the glasses were made of recycled wine bottles. The first thing that caught my attention when I entered my room were these lovely cups that I later discovered were made from residual clay; clay that was accidentally mixed with another species or put away clay by other ceramists and students. Each one Is unique and cannot be copied. These were also made by a local and of course I had to buy a couple to take home with me 😉
The staff was so kind and helpful, always welcoming us with a huge smile on their faces which also made our days a little brighter despite the weather. And food? Delicious! They also have an open kitchen so it was nice to watch the chefs preparing our food.
The Hotel sits on a man-made island on the shores of lake IJmeer, so of course the views are incredible. It’s located approx. 20 minutes (by tram) from the city center and the nearest station is Amsterdam, IJburg Station- tram 26 will take you directly to Amsterdam Centraal.
Recommended locally: Strand Blijburg beach, The Marina Club restaurant, Watersportvereniging IJburg (water sports rental), Barstow restaurant, DOK48 restaurant, Caña IJburg restaurant, DekaMarkt supermarket.
Cafe’s & Restaurants
A’DAM Lookout – Brilliant place for a coffee, romantic dinner or cocktails with a panoramic views. A’DAM has the highest swing in Europe, VR Rollercoaster experience, interactive binoculars and lots of other attractions for kids and adults.
Manneken Pis – Amsterdam’s most famous fries that you definitely need to try!
Heck’s Amsterdam – Great place for cocktails, dinner or coffee.
Feestcafe Woody’s – This bar would be great if you’re looking for a cheaper drinks. You can get 5 shots or 3 bottles of beer for €15.
Pluk – Very cosy cafe but extremely busy, so best to visit when you’re around very early in the morning.
Ree 7 – Gastrobar in a cosy street, right by the Jordaan. Great for coffee & brunch.
Lotti’s – This one was my favorite because it’s not as busy as the other ones but still right in the the city center, with a lovely views on the canal, variety of dishes and cocktails and heated outdoor seating area. Lotti’s is a part of The Hoxton Hotel (Would love to stay there one day!)
We didn’t have enough time to make it to the museums etc. (not my type of sightseeing anyways) but we spent most of our time just wandering around the city and I think this is why I loved it there. All the canals and pretty buildings, cheese shops and bikes!
If you have a sweet tooth, you’ll definitely enjoy Jamin Sweet Shops! They’ve had so many sweets that I’ve never seen before!
Good to know:
- Taxi from the airport to 4 Elements hotel was €68 and I wouldn’t normally spend so much on a single ride (literally less than 15 mins) but I was travelling on my own and arrived late at night so I didn’t want to use a public transport.
- Amsterdam is well known as one of the most bicycle-friendly cities, there are around 515km of dedicated cycle lanes and more bikes than people.
- Between 12,000 and 15,000 bicycles are pulled out of Amsterdam’s canals each year.
- There is a cat boat in Amsterdam. So, if you’re looking for quirky things to do in Amsterdam, and like cats, visit the Poezenboot. It’s an animal shelter where they have more than fifty cats.
- Amsterdam has more canals than Venice and more bridges than Paris.