The InterContinental Amstel opened in 1867 and holds claim as Amsterdam's grand dame. I slept like a queen on fine, soft bedding — as have many queens. Queen Elizabeth of England, Queen Silvia of Sweden, the tsarina of Russia, and many other notables have made this hotel their home base in Amsterdam. My opulent, two-level suite overlooked the never-ending parade of boat traffic on the Amstel River below.

Known popularly as The Amstel, the hotel has 79 rooms (including 24 suites). The Amstel Lounge is a light-filled conservatory for casual lunches or to indulge in Amsterdam's most famous afternoon tea.

The hotel also has a wood-paneled Bar & Brasserie filled with water-reflected light streaming through floor-to-ceiling windows. In fine weather, the terraces are the place to dine, inches above water level. La Rive, a Michelin star-rated restaurant, serves contemporary French-influenced cuisine on custom Villeroy & Boch dinnerware.

Six meeting rooms, including a 2,000-square-foot ballroom with windows on three sides, can accommodate anything from an intimate lunch for 10 guests, a meeting for 180, or a reception for 350.

The InterContinental Amstel operates three, century-old “classic saloon boats.” The smallest holds 12 guests, the largest 24, for anything from snacks to a champagne reception to a full dinner on board.