De Ware Jacob review: an Amsterdam boutique hotel with a personal touch
A chic family-friendly address near the museum quarter that keeps things simple
The Old South district (Oud-Zuid) of Amsterdam is, according to the owners of the De Ware Jacob boutique hotel, a miniature version of Chelsea in London. They’re not wrong. The leafy residential area which huddles the museum quarter and the famous Vondelpark has a chic villagey feel and is dotted with elegant looking cafes where equally elegant denizens gather for aperitifs after work and brunch on weekends. The discerning shopping haven that is Pieter Cornelisz Hooftstraat is a dead ringer for Sloane Street too with its assortment of top boutiques including Hermes, Gucci and Chanel.
The hotel, a grand and slender building erected in 1920, is a fine example of traditional Amsterdam School architecture noted for its decorative brickwork. Like many of the properties in this exclusive area, it has a rich and poignant history: it was once home to a Jewish family who migrated from Russia after the revolution. Tragically, when the Second World War broke out, the homeowners were arrested and deported to the concentration camps of Auschwiz and Sobibor. Look carefully at the pavements and you’ll see engraved brass plaques below the doorsteps of houses honouring the Jewish residents who once resided there.
Inside the hotel
Owners Andre and Tatiana oversaw a two-year top-to-bottom refurbishment of the block, christening their new boutique business in 2020. As a result interiors have a fresh, spatial feel and every surface gleams with newness.
Influenced by a polished yet understated style, the interiors feel homely and sophisticated with only a splash of colour in the form of modern artworks and ornaments collected from the couple’s travels around the world. A bijou breakfast/lounge area on the ground floor leads to a garden terrace whose centre piece is a glorious magnolia tree.
Nineteen uncluttered bedrooms have a refined yet homely feel as if you are staying in the spare room of a chic interior designer. Nothing feels unnecessary and everything is carefully hand-picked, from the illy coffee machines and rich white cotton bed linen to the sleek lighting by Dutch designer William Brand and the luxurious M-line beds equipped with “deep sleep” technology. These comfortable mattresses were used by the Netherlands team during the Olympics which certainly stands as a testament to their gold standard.
A family-friendly atmosphere
“We have a son and we always struggled to stay in hotels of a high quality when he was little,” said Tatiana. For this reason, the De Ware Jacob is especially geared towards families. There’s a bunk room for tweens/teens as well as a 30sqm family room with two side-by-side large double beds. For those who want complete autonomy, the hotel also has two one-bed apartments with kitchenettes. The couple have also thought deeply about what kids (and parents) want after a long day exploring the city: namely excellent Wi-Fi, Netflix and Apple TV, as well as an honesty bar.
Breakfast is quick and easy thanks to a plentiful buffet of freshly baked croissants, home-made granola, local Dutch cheeses, cold cuts, eggs and waffles. Try the organic Georgian wines made following the natural method of Qvevri whereby large earthenware pots are sunk into the ground for the fermentation, storage and ageing processes without chemicals or additives.
Eating and drinking
As this is a quiet residential district, restaurants are a mix of convivial family-owned eateries such as the neighbouring Pizzeria Le 4 Stagioni (established in 1978) and upscale brasseries like George on nearby Williams Park Avenue which has various branches in the Netherlands. The latter specialises in French cuisine fused with American classics with signatures such as glazed black tuna, confit de canard and, of course, oozing stacked burgers. Cocktails are great too.
What to do
Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s largest park and the perfect place for a picnic or a bike ride. The park’s hidden gems include the 19th century Neo-Gothic church Vondelkerk and a monumental sculpture of a bird by Pablo Picasso called Figure découpée (l’Oiseau), as well as the open air theatre which is free to attend and hosts dance and musical performances as well as plays throughout the spring and summer months. Don’t forget to look up near the lake, on special constructed platforms, you are sure to spot nests of rare white storks.
A stone’s throw from Vondelpark is Amsterdam’s 19th century Museum Square home to the Rijksmuseum, the Stedelijk Museum and the Van Gogh Museum. Foodies should explore the neighbouring De Pijp area which famous for its colourful Albert Cuypmarkt, a street market with more than 300 stalls that come with the promise of generous sampling.
De Ware Jacob Boutique Hotel, Jacob Obrechtstraat 69, 1071 KJ Amsterdam, Netherlands; dewarejacobhotel.com