Japanese Aesthetics and Opulence at Hotel Okura Amsterdam

Japanese Aesthetics and Opulence at Hotel Okura Amsterdam

Have you ever been to a hotel that you could visit time and time again? One that’s almost better than the destination itself to spend time at?

That’s how I feel with any property under the brand Okura Hotels and Resorts. The first time I ever experienced an Okura Hotel was my first few nights upon moving to Japan. I was absolutely blown away by the hospitality and quality of Okura Kobe. It was clear to me why people praised this hotel, and while I did enjoy every minute there, I wasn’t quite sold yet.

It wasn’t until visiting another Okura Hotel, this time in Tokyo, that I was hooked. Since then Okura name, became one I trusted and sought out on returning trips to Japan.

It was clear this Japanese hotel brand had surpassed my expectations time and time again, which is why when I saw they had one location in Europe– in Amsterdam, I knew I wanted to see if their famous Japanese hospitality crossed borders.

Arriving in Amsterdam Central Station, it took us a few minutes to figure out how to get to where we needed to go, but with a little help from a nice train station attendant, we were well on our way to Hotel Okura Amsterdam.

The hotel is located a little further out from most tourist attractions downtown, but that made it a welcomed retreat from the busy city.

Exchanging greetings with the doorman, instantaneously I was transported back to my first time arriving in Japan, stepping through the doors of Okura Kobe. Everything inside was bright and shiny with warm undertones that radiated the feeling of luxury.

As we waited for our turn to check-in, I wandered around the lobby, drawn to all the subtle Japanese aesthetics and design elements.

Amsterdam - June 2014

Amsterdam - June 2014

A very tall, obviously Dutch man, waved us back to the counter and I came crashing back. No, I was not in Japan, I was indeed in Amsterdam.

He began checking us in and asked for my business card. Handing it across the counter, he politely grabbed it with two hands, and looked it over before carefully placing it in his pocked– he had been trained well.

I heard Japanese being exchanged at the counter next to us, and just like that, I was transported yet again.

The Rooms

Amsterdam - June 2014

Arriving to our room, I felt incredibly giddy. It was like that old ‘kid in a candy store’ comparison, and I was the kid as I ran around the room checking out all of the cool features inside.

I loved seeing a welcome note with my name programmed on the TV, the fact that every time we opened the door to our room the curtains would automatically open– a feature which never got old, and that every night when we’d return the maid had stopped in to put out our robes and slippers.

Amsterdam - June 2014  Amsterdam - June 2014

It’s these details that made me remember why I loved the Okura brand, as they truly leave no stone unturned.

This room was actually nicer than those in Okura Kobe, most likely because they are also much newer.

Spacious and welcoming, our room was fitted with everything we could possibly need–

Comfy beds? Check!

Amsterdam - June 2014

Nice working space? Check!

Amsterdam - June 2014

With fast Wifi and plenty of outlets, the facilities made it easy to do work, especially at the large desk provided, but at the same time, it was hard to bring myself to actually do any in a place like this.

I continually found myself distracted, wanting to explore the hotel or take advantage of other facilities.

My favorite part of the room though? The bathroom.

Amsterdam - June 2014
Amsterdam - June 2014

There were double sinks with heated mirrors overlooking the canal, high end toiletries, and two separate smaller rooms for the toilet and rain shower. But the best thing in that bathroom had to be the oversized tub– with a flat screen TV at the end of it. Oh how each night, after a stressful day in Amsterdam, did I look forward to using that tub.

The Facilities

Aside from enjoying our room, we were also fortunate enough to explore some of the other facilities at Hotel Okura Amsterdam.

Guest are invited to experience any of their five restaurants, two of which are Michelin Starred, two bars, one of which gives some of the best views over Amsterstam, and their unique cooking studio, a Taste of Okura.

Amsterdam - June 2014  Amsterdam - June 2014

I was completely intrigued by their Taste of Okura concept, as it is the only Okura Hotel to offer this amenity. Whether as an individual or as a group, guests can learn to prepare some of Okura’s finest dishes with either of their Michelin Starred chefs.

After having an enjoyable cooking session, they can then delight in eating the food they’ve prepared together. Talk about a great team-building activity idea!

Amsterdam - June 2014

Next to the cooking studio, they also feature a wine room, which is used for educational sessions with a sommelier and also for sake tastings! Based on the brief conversation we had while there about the activities they conduct, I was intrigued to learn more about wine tasting and the power of our brains.

As a foodie, a Taste of Okura sounded like something right up my alley and while I didn’t have time to try it on this particular trip, it’s something I hope to partake in on a future visit.

Now I understand some people probably don’t have interest in cooking their own food, but how about watching the chef prepare yours first hand? Their fine dining option on the top floor, Ciel Bleu, has an executive table located actually inside the kitchen. How’s that for impressing your business clients?

Amsterdam - June 2014

For those who aren’t really foodies (seriously? do people like that even exist?), then maybe Nagomi Spa and Health would be of more interest.  Slip away to workout in their state-of-the-art gym or relax with one of their signature massages.

A walk to their massage room has you passing through a traditional Japanese garden, a feature which just added that extra level of zen, triggering a state of relaxation of the mind.

Amsterdam - June 2014

The Okura name is known for excellence, and this hotel branch is no exception. Everything about our stay was perfect, and I couldn’t have asked for anything better.

After staying with multiple Okura Hotels worldwide, I will continue to show loyalty to this brand. I hope to return to Hotel Okura Amsterdam the next time I find myself in town, as I had found exactly what I was looking for–

A piece of Japan in Amsterdam.

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Is there a hotel brand you really love and are loyal to? Tell me in the comments below!

 I was a guest of Hotel Okura Amsterdam. As always, all opinions and love of the Okura brand, are my own.


  1. November 4, 2014 / 3:54 am

    certainly over my budget but it looks beautiful. Love the photo of the lobby :-)

  2. October 15, 2014 / 11:19 pm

    Wow – I’ve been wanting to return to Japan since I was there last year – didn’t realise I could get a quick fix closer to home. I wish I’d stayed here when I was in Amsterdam…guess I’ll just have to go back :)

    • Beth Williams
      October 29, 2014 / 6:26 am

      Get used to that feeling ;) I always want to return to Japan no matter how many times I’ve been!!
      But yes, at least there are a few closer options thanks to Okura hotels!

  3. October 12, 2014 / 4:46 am

    Oh. My. Goodness. I would totally splurge on a place like that! I don’t know what I’d like best, the decor, atmosphere, Japanese garden or taste of Okura experience… fantastic!

  4. October 12, 2014 / 1:41 am

    If you saw our recent review of Hotel SP34 in Copenhagen, you will know that we definitely feel the same way about staying in a hotel over and over again! It’s so great when you find somewhere that almost feels like home and when you are treated so well by the staff that just adds to the overall experience.

  5. October 10, 2014 / 10:31 am

    There is really nothing like Japanese service! I also stayed at a Japanese hotel outside of Japan– in San Francisco! I became deathly ill and the hotel staff fell over themselves to take care of me. What a great idea to find one in Europe (you can never get too much Japan as far as I’m concerned). That bathroom is crazy! I’ll have to check this hotel out the next time I have a business trip in Amsterdam, thanks for the great review!

    • Beth Williams
      October 13, 2014 / 11:04 am

      I’ll have to grab the name of that SF from you for future references! Next time you find yourself in Amsterdam– or Japan for that matter, do look into Hotel Okura. They also have a brand that’s slightly lower end called Hotel Nikko. There used to be one in Chicago and it was Opera’s favorite hotel, there’s probably one in New York as well!

  6. October 10, 2014 / 3:58 am

    I never heard of this hotel before but it seems like a great place to stay. Bit out of our budget but then again, it’s good splurging every now and then…

    • Beth Williams
      October 13, 2014 / 11:01 am

      Okura is certainly more high end than most hotel chains, but it’s worth every penny (or euro or yen) for when you want to splurge!

  7. October 10, 2014 / 12:10 am

    Beautiful hotel :D I really like themed hotels and I really like the cranes over the stairwell :D Simply stunning!

    • Beth Williams
      October 13, 2014 / 11:01 am

      I LOVED the cranes!
      I had to fold 1,000 for a class project a few years back, maybe that’s why I appreciate them so much now… haha

  8. October 9, 2014 / 10:32 pm

    Yep, that bathroom would have been my favorite, too. Looks like a decent view but a flat-screen TV? Awesome!

    I sensed that you kind of get the same feeling I do when staying at amazing hotels: you almost don’t want to go out and explore the destination because your accommodations are so incredible. It’s a tough call to have to make!

    • Beth Williams
      October 13, 2014 / 11:00 am

      Um yeah, all I wanted to do was take a bubble bath and watch trashy American TV shows that I had missed since being away! haha

      Wait, was I supposed to be exploring Amsterdam…? Whoops! ;)

  9. October 9, 2014 / 10:03 am

    Unique hotel – first off, very impressed with your photography. I read so many hotel reviews with horrible photography so I can never tell if I’m actually getting an accurate or honest review. But this looks amazing. Had never heard of the Okura Hotel brand before but will look it up next time we’re in Japan. Thanks!

    • Beth Williams
      October 13, 2014 / 10:57 am

      Thanks Megan! Photographing indoors can be pretty tricky, but I’m working on it :)

  10. October 9, 2014 / 6:21 am

    This hotel looks AWESOME. I would love to stay here! I love the Japanese-style design and the room looks so comfy…and that bathroom!I can see why you loved it so much. I’d love to stay here…in a heartbeat!

    • Beth Williams
      October 9, 2014 / 7:36 am

      I loved how they integrated the Japanese design of a typical Okura hotel with the local Dutch design!

  11. October 9, 2014 / 2:07 am

    Looks lush! Great review, would love to stay there

    • Beth Williams
      October 9, 2014 / 7:35 am

      Lush indeed!

  12. October 8, 2014 / 9:26 pm

    Holy crap that hotel looks amazing. And it includes not just one but TWO Michelin star restaurants?!? I would kill to stay there!

    • Beth Williams
      October 9, 2014 / 7:35 am

      Yeah! I really didn’t want to leave the hotel!

  13. October 8, 2014 / 5:10 pm

    I have to be in Amsterdam soon. This hotel I will have to try!

    • Beth Williams
      October 9, 2014 / 7:35 am

      Take me with you :P
      But really, do give it a try if you can!

  14. October 8, 2014 / 10:52 am

    What an amazing hotel. It is really nice when hotels pay attention to the details and/or have a theme.

    • Beth Williams
      October 9, 2014 / 7:34 am

      I’m not sure I’ve ever been to a hotel that paid better attention to detail! It’s a huge reason why I love the Okura brand so much.

  15. October 8, 2014 / 6:39 am

    It sounds stunning, I remember you mentioning somewhere else (either here before your trip or on your facebook page) and being excited about it. I’m glad it lived up to your expectations Xxxxx

    • Beth Williams
      October 9, 2014 / 7:30 am

      It surpassed every expectation I had and truly lived up to the Okura name– I wasn’t sure if a hotel outside of Japan could do that, but it did!

  16. October 8, 2014 / 5:40 am

    This looks like a modern design museum masquerading as a hotel! As someone who always seeks out unique food experiences, that dining area inside the kitchen would be the highlight of a stay for me.

    If I could afford to stay at the Okura hotels whenever possible…well, that would keep me happy regardless of the rest of my time in a destination.

    • Beth Williams
      October 9, 2014 / 7:29 am

      The design was beautiful and tasteful. I kind of want to recreate the spiral staircase and cranes in my own home!

  17. October 8, 2014 / 4:36 am

    I’ve been dying to try the restaurants at the Hotel Okura. Though now hearing about the Taste of Okura, I may have a change in what I’m aiming for… Did not know about that before!

    • Beth Williams
      October 9, 2014 / 7:28 am

      You’ll have to look into signing up for a Taste of Okura the next time you’re in town. It seems perfect for you!