Going Dutch in Amsterdam

When you're done trading in tulip futures, it's time to tiptoe through the treasures of Europe's most gay-friendly capital.




Extended stay

If you're on an expense account, check into the Amstel (Professor Tulpplein 1; +31 20 622-6060; Intercontinental.com), the grand dame of Dutch hotels and the first choice of royalty, nobles, and rock stars since it opened in 1867. A two-year renovation in the 1990s restored the hotel to its original grandeur and added a luxurious spa and pool, with a glamorous view of the Amstel River. The daring and dramatic style of the Dylan (Keizersgracht 384; +31 20 530-2010; DylanAmsterdam.com), a boutique hotel built in a traditional canal house, will appeal to those in the style-and-design crowd, who also appreciate its location in the Nine Streets, a charming neighborhood of trendy boutiques, restaurants, and traditional canal architecture.

Even in a city where gay people are welcomed everywhere, it may come as a surprise that the local gay leather B&B has a sizable straight following. Seven of the nine rooms at the Black Tulip (Geldersekade 16; +31 20 427 0933; BlackTulip.nl) have slings, restraints, and other sex fantasy equipment, and the hotel's central location is extremely convenient to the train station, red-light district, gay bars, and shopping district. Equally convenient is the Amistad (Kerkstraat 42; +31 20 624 8074; Amistad.nl), a gay American-run B&B and apartment rental for those whose idea of "gay furniture" means Ikea, not the St. Andrew's cross. If your mainstream hotel rate does not include breakfast, don't add it. Hotel breakfasts here are generally dull and overpriced. Skip breakfast in the hotel and instead head out to one of the city's many pancake houses.

Tags: Travel