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Bath, United Kingdom
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Fort Lauderdale, Florida
May 1, 2005
Right behind a large fountain surrounded by cobblestones, where a canal meets a colorfully busy street, the Hotel American towers above its equally famous café of the same name. If you have never stayed in a castle, the Art Nouveau Hotel American delivers this feeling as its turret-like features and Gothic overtones welcome you through her arched doorways. Step inside and you are whisked into an immaculate lobby, where all the chic modes of a modern five-star hotel take over.
On March 4, 2005, Intercontinental Hotel Group sold this exquisite landmark built at the turn of the last century to the Dutch-owned Eden Hotel Group for 37 million euros. My trip was several months prior, so whether boxes of chocolates and complimentary drink vouchers are waiting in the rooms upon check-in remains to be told.
What I do know is, boxes of candy or not, this Art Deco-style stay is a great value for the dollar. Traveling in the land of the Euro, using "dollar" and "value" in the same sentence is quite an accomplishment lately. I had prebooked a room with a king-size bed at 160€ prior to leaving the States. I did this on the Inter-Continental’s Priority Club website, which, at the time, listed the lowest Internet rates possible.
The warm, courteous staff wore contagious smiles on my check-in. A copy of my passport was taken, and the manager on duty personally returned it, with an upgrade to the William Shakespeare Suite. She wished me a happy birthday!
The rooms are luxuriously large and very well furnished, if not necessarily plush. Deco pink motifs abound, with cool and curvy track lighting, and a big pillar in the room is bit over the top, but there is an undeniable "hipness." The beds are incredibly comfortable, and the bedding is top-notch. Requesting accommodations overlooking the canal and the private boat dock below your window will give you several advantages. Bay windows afford views over Singelgracht’s glassy waters of the Museum Quarter, upscale residences, and the greenery of park lawns. This soothing sight serves to sweeten the first cup of room-brewed java every morning!
Amenities are bountiful. Data ports, wireless Internet, and satellite TV come standard. There are granite-topped vanities, and the closets are part of a wall-unit armoire with an iron and board, plus plenty of hanging room and drawers. The set-up also houses a sink, fridge, and coffeemaker - tea, coffee, and hot chocolate included. The bathroom was meticulously clean and the tub large enough for long soaks after walks through the neighboring Museum Quarter and shopping districts.
A block away, trams at Leidseplein Square offer expedient access to all points of the city on your map . The middle of the square is complemented by an ocean of outdoor seating among the many bars, cafés, and restaurants. It provided me the best opportunities to relax and meet scores of fun-goers after each adventurous day.
From journal Amsterdam: A Week in the Summer