I'm not usually keen on heights but I do love a good cityscape so when I heard there was a SkyLounge bar in Amsterdam I knew I had to try it. Turns out the SkyLounge isn't that high up - I believe it was the 15th floor - so it didn't cause any dizziness or vertigo. It is located on the top floor of the Doubletree by Hilton which is walking distance from Centraal Station conveniently located near the cruise ship port (directions on how to get there are below).
The bar/lounge is elongated along the roof of one of the hotel's buildings. When you first walk in, you will see the bar on your right and some tables along the windows on the left. Further along there are more places to sit inside and then there is also an outdoor terrace which was very popular (it was a sunny August day when we visited). We took a window seat across from the bar which had a great view of the city center. You can see all the steeples and spires across the city and on a clear day you can even see the control towers at Schiphol Airport (they have a handy map you can look at to figure out what everything is).
Now on to the important part - the cocktails! One word: delicious. They had a very good menu of "signature" cocktails but you can also order pretty much anything else you want as they say they serve 500 different types of drinks. I can't remember the specific names of what we ordered but they were all amazing (and all were their "signature" drinks). You can tell the bartenders knew what they were doing and they had developed great tasting flavor profiles in each drink. I had a berry cocktail and a cucumber (with gin?) cocktail. Service was quick and attentive - and friendly. They also have a menu with snacks and entrees. We opted for nachos and bread with three types of dip. The nachos were good but they weren't Tijuana Flats good (if you know what I mean!). The dips were all tasty and it was a good option to have with the drinks. They also serve you fresh popcorn with your drinks if you just want something salty to munch on with your cocktail. Pricing is higher than average but that is to be expected since you are paying a premium just for the view.
The SkyLounge is open daily from 11am. They close at 1am during the week and at 3am on Friday and Saturday. They have a lunch menu if you are there during the day as well as free wifi if you want to pretend to work while there.
Directions to SkyLounge Amsterdam from Centraal Station:
- Upon arrival at Centraal Station, face the front entrance of the station itself. Then turn to the right and start walking.
- You will walk the length of the station (so you should have tram stops on the right and bike rental on the left). Keep going until you get to the end of the building.
- Cross the road and you should see either Starbucks or the Doubletree in front of you.
- Entrance to the Doubletree is at the other end of the building.
- Alternatively, you can just follow signs to Nemo (a hands-on science museum - its the huge green building at the harbor) and you will come across the Doubletree before you get to Nemo.
The Doubletree by Hilton in Amsterdam is a newer property located near the river and ocean cruise ports so it is convenient if you want to stay a night there pre-/post-cruise. It is a further walk from the scenic canals and popular museums (tram or taxi would have to be used) so it isn't my favorite location to stay in but it is a developing area with some excellent nearby restaurants.
Update: There is also a new rooftop lounge in Amsterdam's city center atop the W Hotel which is right behind Dam Square/Royal Palace. You can enjoy cocktails or coffee in a trendy and hip setting. The lounge isn't up as high as the Doubletree but that just means you are more eye-level with the neighboring roofs of the surrounding buildings. Also recommended!
Amsterdam continues to be one of my top favorite places. I've spent several years in Amsterdam so it is my second home. It is unlike any other major city with a melting pot of cultures. People watching is the best there. Ik hou Amsterdam!