When you are used to the sweet canal-side hotels of Amsterdam, The Sir Adam is quite a surprise. It sits a very short boat ride from the city in the old Shell headquarters, a 1971 tower block looking as though it was designed to resemble a rig.
That might sound a bit Brutalist but this has two upsides: first, the most amazing views of the city and second, a freedom to create a modern hotel in an historic city. And the crew from the Sir hotel group didn’t pull any punches on this one.
Where is it?
Just across the IJ, the “river” that runs through Amsterdam. The IJ, by the way, is actually a single letter in Dutch, pronounced “eye” and the river is actually a bay. These two things you can mull over as you take one of the free ferries to hop between the Central Station terminal and the North Bank. They run all day and night, as frequently as the Piccadilly Line and take about two minutes to cross. And in those two minutes you transform your view of the city.
The North Bank itself is lively, a modern quarter with the Sir Adam, the Butcher restaurant and bar downstairs, the Madam bar upstairs, and the Eye Museum next door, making for a humming waterfront.
And there’s one other thing about this hotel. Because Amsterdam is built on marshy land, this hotel, built in the old Shell headquarters is, at 20 storeys, one of the tallest around. It means you get a great unobscured view of the city you’ve come to see.