TRAVELOGUE – AMSTERDAM CITY GUIDE PART I

Amsterdam house styleFor me, inspiration, work and travel all roll into one, which does make me feel incredibly lucky! We travel to destinations all over the world (and closer to home) for work and pleasure, always combining the two. So when Booking.com asked me if I’d like to try out their service I couldn’t wait to have a scroll through and look at all the different types of accommodation they have. Lots that are the perfect bases for creative work trips it turns out. There was one city I couldn’t wait to get back to and that was the ever inspiring Amsterdam – today and tomorrows part II post will be a visual Amsterdam city guide sharing my favourite places to visit to feel creatively inspired and get away from it all.Amsterdam coffee houseWe chose to take a winter trip to Amsterdam, to refuel our creativity after the craziness of December and picked a hotel we could work in as well as relax. This is my second visit to the city and I love what a calm and creative place it is, friendly, eclectic and full of great food spots, museums to visit and artists to meet. Although it is not everybody’s idea of work, fueling a creative soul this way with experiences tops up the mind and imagination reserves for weeks. Meeting people wherever we go all over the world opens up avenues to collaboration and both being photographers – we love sharing stories visually with our camera lenses and always leaving a little unseen for our next visit.Zoku Hotel AmsterdamAmsterdam Canal HousesThe hotel we stayed in was called Zoku – a place with modern loft style living, offering a warm welcome, chilled out Living Room, a Living Kitchen, Communal Working Spaces, bustling bar and a living roof planted with herbs and vegetables to be used in the ‘Living Kitchen’. Zoku Hotel AmsterdamA greenhouse filled with beautiful plants leads to the communal spaces, and out on the roof terrace in spring and summer herbs and flowers are blowing in the breeze. We loved it here. Fast and free Wi-Fi is available all over the place, perfect for working on your phone or laptop and the open-plan design effortlessly brings you together with other residents and city locals. A home from home, the smell of freshly ground coffee is in the air and we loved huddling around the log burners in the Living Room for breakfast, one particularly chilly morning.Zoku Hotel AmsterdamThe places you stay when travelling make the world of difference to a trip, whether for work or pleasure and this place is a homely, friendly and welcoming find.Zoku Hotel AmsterdamWe absolutely loved our room at Zoku, with a huge bed tucked away behind a screen at the top of a secret pull out staircase – to save space. Compact modern bathroom, kitchen/dining area and desk with everything you’d need hidden away under the sleeping deck, there was even a stapler – small joys! Zoku Hotel AmsterdamWith a minimalist Scandinavian feel, cosy touches and low maintenance plants to care for while you visit. There is a fully equipped studio kitchen for cooking if you don’t want to be out every night, with pale wood accents and everything else is decorated in varying shades of my favourite colour – grey.Zoku Hotel AmsterdamZoku Hotel AmsterdamThe views from the terrace outside the eating areas were just lovely and we could see our morning walking route from up above. That’s our bridge!Zoku Hotel AmsterdamThis place is super tech from the lift to the facilities, so don’t forget to order your breakfast on the iPad before to go to your table! The chefs were so lovely and happy to whip up special requests or adapt to specific diets. The Vegan breakfast option was A-mazing!Zoku Hotel AmsterdamAmsterdam Canal HousesWe couldn’t wait to get out on the streets each morning and see the city, I just love to walk along all the canal streets looking at the houses and all the different folks going about their days. All the windows here seem to frame some magic detail, this place above was just around the corner from our hotel. An indoor jungle of amazing proportions and an enviable collection of vintage globes to top it off.Amsterdam Canal HousesCat Cafe AmsterdamAs well as travelling to seek inspiration for our own work we also love seeing how other forward-thinking folks run their businesses and supporting them too. Maybe also figuring out what possible future businesses we might like to run – cat cafe or hotel is up there!Cat Cafe AmsterdamWe discovered this place and booked a table right away, to be in the company of as many feline friends as possible is always our happy place. Eight cats live here at Kopjes – rescued from two shelters they have plenty of places to hide out of sight if they are wanting quiet time and all kinds of crazy stuff to climb on and people to play with if they want company. Cat Cafe AmsterdamHomemade cake, mint tea and a snuggle for breakfast is my kind of working Saturday ;)Cat Cafe AmsterdamCat Cafe AmsterdamAntique shopping in Amsterdam To feel inspired I often look to the past, we love antique shops and flea markets, I had a wish to find Japanese antiques and there are quite a few great little shops dotted all around the city with beautiful artefacts and treasures. From humble bowls to ostentatious flourishes, the shops here are meticulously curated and there is colour everywhere.Antique shopping in Amsterdam Amsterdam Artist Print shopAntique shopping in Amsterdam Antique shopping in Amsterdam The smallest green spaces always inspire here, outside almost every home there are pots and climbing plants growing, we met a lady who had planted her rose over twenty years ago and trained it all along the street above the windows. A labour of love that we would be delighted to come back and see in full bloom in June (just visible in the top photo of this post).Amsterdam winter street photographyAmsterdam in the winterHints of spring, peeking out of every cold February corner.Amsterdam in the winterAmsterdam in the winterBoat life is another of the daydream lives we love to live, imagining how it would be on a houseboat of our own, rationing our belongings to fit in a smaller space than we live in at home, a life lived bobbing gently on the canals. Swans and ducks swimming past on the water and mopeds and bikes sailing past on dry land. My favourite stories about this are in the true-life book of once Amsterdam houseboat resident and visual artist Pia Jane Biijkerk.Amsterdam Canal HousesWhilst in the city we managed to visit the beautiful ceramics studio of Annemieke Boots, a wonderful maker or delicate pieces that we were hoping to work with this year, fingers crossed our plans made over tea and clay will be going ahead soon.Annemieke Boots Ceramics Studio Amsterdam Annemieke Boots Ceramics Studio Amsterdam Such a calming and light-filled space, pots and plates in subtle hues stacked up and waiting for new homes. Experimental pieces alongside functional items. I love the tiny splatters of clay everywhere and tools waiting to be used at any moment.Annemieke Boots Ceramics Studio Amsterdam We left this beautiful space with our hearts full and some handmade treasures safely packaged in paper and string. Taking them back to the hotel to make mint tea in our new cups. Annemieke Boots Ceramics Studio Amsterdam Personalising trips for fun or work is quick and easy for all types of travel with Booking.com, they have the world’s largest selection of places to stay, including everything from apartments, vacation homes, and family-run B&Bs to luxury resorts, tree houses and even igloos. I hope my work travels may one day require me to stay in an igloo, but for now, interesting (photogenic) accommodation, with great facilities, a tasty breakfast and friendly staff is always top of my list, so happy we discovered Zoku through them!Zoku Hotel AmsterdamIt was only on our return that I discovered that Booking.com was actually established with humble beginnings as a small Dutch start-up in Amsterdam.Amsterdam house style Amsterdam winter street photographyI’ll be back tomorrow with Part II, to share my list of discoveries from favourite streets to visit and places to eat – to shops, green spaces and a visual tour of the botanical gardens that were a five-minute walk from our hotel. xxx

Disclosure – The flights and accommodation for this trip were paid for by Booking.com, all words opinions and images are my own.Amsterdam Canal Houses

1 Comment
  • Ruth
    March 6, 2018

    Beautiful pictures! When the trip took place. I’ve recently read that the channels in Amsterdam are frozen and are used for skating :-).