I can’t help but wonder why they didn’t just live on the same side; no matter, the result is wondrous, particularly at night.A thousand little light bulbs gently illuminate the old drawbridge, reflecting in the rippling currents beneath.The boutique hotels can be pricey but thankfully there’s a good selection to pick from; The Conservatorium (00 31 ; conservatoriumhotel.com), in the Museum district, boasts a light and airy lobby with high wow-factor, and offers a fourth night for free over Valentine’s (rates start at €375 per night, excluding breakfast).The Dylan (00 31 ; dylanamsterdam.com), in the picturesque Nine Streets area, is a canal-side mansion set around a garden courtyard with a Michelin-starred restaurant. And The Pulitzer (00 31 ; pulitzeramsterdam.com), an award-worthy new entrant comprising 25 former houses between two canals, has its own 1920s mahogany salon-boat for those looking to take to the water. One standout canal-side choice is The Andaz (00 31 ; amsterdamprinsengracht.andaz.hyatt.com) on Prinsengracht.This former library building features characterful décor, excellent dining (try the velvety chocolate mousse) and very comfortable beds.It offers a Valentine’s package starting at €350 per night, which includes flowers, a bottle of champagne, credit towards a couple of cocktails and breakfast each morning.
While the restaurants in A’dam Tower might be tough to book for the night of the 14th itself, you could tap into north Amsterdam’s lively creative scene for other options.
It’s romantic to arrive by train, but the direct Eurostar isn’t in service yet (it’s slated for the end of the year) and the current rail journey – four to six hours depending on the connection in Brussels – takes chunks out of weekends, even extended ones. Trains from Schiphol airport into the city are fast and regular, and your destination is a compact place once you get there.
There’s an easy-to-use tram system and plentiful (though expensive) taxis; you may find it more romantic to hire bikes, which is how most locals get about.
Sexy strolls Start at Bloemenstal ‘t Lievertje (00 31 ; tlievertje.nl) – a flower shop on the Spui that leaves you with few excuses, guys.
Dig deep; a beautiful, fresh bouquet never fails to make an impression and you’re pretty much at the source here (a large share of the cut flowers sold in Britain comes from the Netherlands).