Luxury Hotels

How Amsterdam’s most spectacular small luxury hotel keeps it fun for kids

Last updated 24th May 2024

Pulitzer Amsterdam was the Dutch city’s first five-star hotel and is steeped in history – but how good is it for a family holiday? Harriet Mallinson found out.


Even the lobby at Pulitzer Amsterdam is impressive

Pulitzer Amsterdam is ideally located in the picturesque canal district – so it’s the perfect (and faff-free) introduction for kids to this beautiful city. Nearly everything you could want is right on your doorstep, too. Drop into trinket shops and high fashion brands within moments, get in the queue for Insta-famous eateries and traditional cafes, or zip around the corner to the Anne Frank Museum.

Don’t worry, you’ll still rack up your steps; the hotel is deceptively huge. City taxes were once assessed on the size of a building’s frontage – hence the myriad tall, narrow properties – but they all widen further back. The Pulitzer is comprised of 25 such Golden Age canal houses, all with their own intriguing heritage, and is so sprawling we’re given a map upon arrival.


Pulitzer Amsterdam is located in the canal district

Prepare to travel back in time at Pulitzer Amsterdam

Elegance is the name of the game at Pulitzer Amsterdam. The stylish hotel is traditionally decorated and you quickly get the impression you’ve entered a 17th-century merchant’s residence – think Dutch portraits of a bygone age, fluted marble columns and wooden beams.

There was even once a chocolate factory on the premises (no Wonka-esque everlasting gobstoppers here, alas). Plenty of snazzy and quirky touches can still be found, though; don’t forget to look up at the grand piano hanging above the Pulitzer’s doorway!

Staff are polite without veering into oiliness and there’s a sense of calm throughout so sloughing off sightseeing weariness is easy – as long as you find your room. The Pulitzer’s labyrinthine charm is both its strength and weakness, especially with children. Hide and seek could quickly turn into “We may never find Henry again!” if one is not careful.

The courtyard garden – one of several plots of outdoor spaces studding the complex – and glass corridors lend plenty of light and greenery views. It’s perfect for sitting outside sipping an aperitif and letting little ones run around. Pretending you’re Dutch nobility optional.


The gardens are perfect for letting off steam

Sleep amid a slice of history: Pulitzer Amsterdam family rooms

Accommodation is charming. Pulitzer Amsterdam family rooms are on a split level, complete with queen-size beds and a sleeping nook with twin beds, while Family Suites overlooking the canal are available for those looking to spread out. For those after further exclusivity, the three-storey Merchant Suite opens in May 2024. It’s set to include a master bathroom suite and two additional bedrooms plus the added perks of limousine airport service, in-room check-in and packing, and a personal concierge.

I particularly enjoy the displayed snippets of each house’s history (our gabled building dates back to 1615), the nonsensical porthole between the bathroom and bedroom and the large, ahem, nobs, for conveniently hanging coats. As a taxi driver tells me, “There is always something with the weather” – so layers are wise when holidaying here. The Pulitzer also furnishes rooms with umbrellas; nice one.

In further Brit-pleasing touches, tea, filter coffee and milk are provided plus all the paraphernalia one needs for making a cocktail (although does one ever?).


There’s plenty of history to enjoy in the rooms and suites

Eat and drink like Golden Age Dutch nobility: Pulitzer Amsterdam food

Food is excellent at the Pulitzer – so even if you don’t book yourself in for a stay do swing by their restaurant Jansz. We tuck into pillowy Greek yoghurt and fresh berries at breakfast with gusto before tackling the cooked menu for sightseeing fuel. Friendly waiters also prove admirably accepting of taking rations back to our room for when granny falls ill, even furnishing us with a takeaway tub.

Dinner equally has us ooh-ing and aah-ing. You simply must order oysters and the aubergine with hummus to start; I would have lunchboxed seconds of both if I could. The kids’ menu will please young palates and also doubles up as a learning tool – “chicken tenders” works just fine in Dutch, it turns out.

Thirsty? Head to the renowned Pulitzer’s Bar. It’s not exactly child-friendly when I visit in the evening – the general vibe is more ‘dark, atmospheric and slightly, “Ooh I could be in the 18th century”’ – but it’s perfect for a date night if you get the chance. The Chestnut Old Fashioned is one of the best I’ve ever had and the towers of books on the walls, comfy velvet seats and canal views further heighten my nightcap experience.


Pulitzer’s Bar serves up excellent cocktails for parents

Equip yourself with a sightseeing pass to fully explore Amsterdam

If you’re keen to pack in the sights during your stay at Pulitzer Amsterdam then parents might want to arm themselves with an I amsterdam City Card to keep costs down. It gives holidaymakers free access to all major highlights and 70-plus museums as well as a canal cruise, bicycle rent and city-wide public transport. This makes hopping on trams a doddle – we take the Eurostar from London and it’s a jiffy from the station into the thrum of the city.

You can also drift in and out of museums as much as you like without worrying about rising costs (or “I’m bored” wails). We particularly enjoy popping into the Resistance Museum for a quick history lesson about the WWII German occupation of Amsterdam. Expect plenty of interactive features among the fascinating personal stories to keep little ones intrigued.


The famous Rijksmuseum has an interactive Family Quest

Amsterdam staples include the Rijksmuseum, which is bursting with renowned art, model ships, dollhouses and more, as well as the Van Gogh Museum. Both cater well for kids; there’s an interactive Family Quest at the former and clues to complete at the latter. The Pulitzer also creates a package for guests that book stays in line with tickets to famous exhibits at the Rijksmuseum should you just want to hone in on the art.

If you fancy something a bit different, there’s ARTIS-Micropia, the first microbe museum in the world, nearby or the NEMO Science Museum where kids can don a lab coat and complete an experiment. Want to enjoy the outdoors? Klimbos Fun Forest serves up a tree-top adventure for diminutive daredevils while animal lovers can watch lions being fed at Artis Zoo.


How to plan a family holiday

Where to stay

Rates for family suites at Pulitzer Amsterdam start from £1,312.

Sightseeing top tip

The I amsterdam City Card starts from €60 per person for a 24-hour city card.

Book Pulitzer Amsterdam