Offbeat in Amsterdam

This item appears on page 17 of the June 2011 issue.

My companion, Judith Martin, and I aren’t drawn to charmless chain hotels, but for a stay in Amsterdam we were intrigued by the name misc eatdrinksleep (Kloveniersburgwal 20, 012 cv, Amsterdam, Netherlands; phone +31 0 20 330 62 41). We stayed in this delightfully offbeat small hotel, on a canal near the red-light district, in September ’10 and were not disappointed.

Judith Martin waving from Eat Me’s glass-ceilinged basement kitchen — Amsterdam. Photo: Ure

Misc eatdrinksleep is a renovated 17th-century canal house. Its narrow ivory front, flanked by tall green plants, said “cottage” to us. The mullioned windows of the reception area and bar looked out on ducks swimming in the water and a variety of watercraft.

From the hotel’s six differently themed rooms, we selected “Wonders,” done in a sort of Middle Eastern fantasy theme and larger than many European hotel rooms in which we’ve stayed.

The stairway from the lobby/bar/breakfast room to our second-floor room was sinuous, narrow and steep, but our bags were cheerfully carried up by one of the owners, Pepijn.

We had chosen a room in the back of the hotel, looking down on a garden. ( had indicated that, in many hotels in Amsterdam, rooms overlooking the canal are noisy due to late-night revelry.) Our room was very quiet, and the morning sun flooded it with light.

The atmosphere was relaxed and casual. It was easy to get to know the other habitués over breakfast, coffee or drinks.

For our four nights, our stay cost €636 (near $942), including breakfast. We paid an additional €100 ($148) for a boat tour of the countryside.

Pepijn, an Amsterdam native, and his wife, Rachel, an American, directed us to excellent restaurants. We were especially delighted to dine on great steaks at a restaurant called Eat Me (Geldersekade 93, 1011 EL Amsterdam, Netherlands; phone +31 20 626 93 88), where a glass inset in the floor allowed us to look down into the kitchen and watch the food being prepared.

Including two glasses of wine, one coffee and tip, our steak dinner cost the two of us about $70.

Salt Lake City, UT