Head on over to TripAdvisor and you’ll see that the number one attraction currently listed for Amsterdam is (shockingly) the library. The reason Amsterdam’s library rates so highly is because it claims to have Amsterdam’s best views, from the cafe on the top floor. Yes the views are quite cool but for Amsterdam’s best views I’d recommend a trip to Amsterdam’s Skylounge bar. The view from this Amsterdam hidden gem extends for 20km away across Amsterdam city centre, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
The Skylounge, part of the DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam hotel (www.doubletree.com) and located on its top floor, is a few doors down from the library and just behind Amsterdam Central Station.
Where the library has a small outdoor area, with a few tables and (hard wooden chairs) the Skylounge has a large outdoor terrace, complete with impressive panoramic views of Amsterdam, cushioned benches and beanbags. If you’re in luck and the sun’s shining it’s the perfect place to chill out, unwind and drink in the city’s scenery, overlooking Central Station, Damark and the IJ river.
Sadly the day I went with Sharps, I was lucky enough to have been invited along by the hotel to try out a couple of the cocktails, it absolutely chucked it down. But even with the rain the views of Amsterdam’s nighttime skyline are magnificent. We opted for evening drinks as the Skylounge is open till 1am, and 3am at weekends – at around 10pm a DJ magically appeared on the decks playing mellow house tunes.
Views from inside the contemporary bar area are equally as spectacular as those outside and the Skylounge is a great place to come for a romantic night out or special occasion. We started our evening in one of the comfy couches inside before a window table became vacant with views across the IJ. It was mesmerising to watch passing trains on the track as we could, slightly voyeuristically, even see the people inside them.
Given I paid €15 for lunch in the library cafe which is part of a chain, plus I was charged to use the library loo (which I’m still outraged about now, it’s the principle) the drinks at the Skylounge are pretty reasonable. Cocktails start from €12 (compared to €16 at some of Amsterdam’s other cool cocktail bars). It seemed rude not to try the Skylounge’s two signature cocktails – Sharps went for the Mora Mora and I had the Chilli Mango Martini. I loved the glass the Mora Mora was served in, our waiter confided that quite a few of them went missing.
The only thing that disappointed slightly was the food. We ordered a platter which we did feel was a bit on the stingy side as there was lots of lovely cheese, and meat for Sharps, with only a couple of bruschetta to enjoy them on. And the pieces of sushi were miniscule. So it’s worth bearing in mind if you are hungry that you might be better off ordering a meal as opposed to one of the more snacky options. That said, we were also given a selection of bar snacks to nibble on (pickled onions, a salty nut mix and meat) which were generously replenished. And alternatively, you could always dine downstairs the DoubleTree by Hilton Amsterdam’s proper restaurant, the City Cafe.
I have to admit I’m a bit gutted to have discovered this Amsterdam hidden gem now summer is coming to a close. But as last winter the Skylounge had an ice-rink on its terrace, I’ll be very excited to see what they have planned for when the weather gets colder for this year…