The Vanguard, Amsterdam
This was our first visit to Amsterdam, so everything was a new experience for us but Cynthia Martens the owner of The Vanguard had already made our travel plans that bit easier with clear directions from the airport via the 20 minute train journey to the Centraal Station and then on to either tram number 4 or 14 to Rembrandtplein, a mere 5 minutes away. From there her wonderful guest house is another 5 minutes on foot through the square and then the property opens up in front of you, perched overlooking one of the most iconic bridges in Amsterdam situated on the corner of Herengracht and Reguliersgracht where you can view the seven bridges in a row.
Cynthia met us at the door and welcomed us into her home, from there we were taken into her kitchen where she served freshly baked cookies, whilst we sat and chatted about our journey and our plans for the weekend. With over 40 years of experience in hospitality and catering Cynthia knows how to look after her guests and by the end of our stay, she had become like an old friend to us and we really didn’t want to leave.
Everything is spotless inside The Vanguard, with a delightful mixture of modern and traditional furnishings. Our room had underfloor heating which was so nice and cosy to come back to after a day exploring the city. The property was built in 1688 as a merchant’s house on the canal, the stairs are steep which you will always find in these properties but once at the top the views are breathtaking. This a two room bed and breakfast so the overall feeling is really quiet, peaceful and relaxing. Cynthia knows Amsterdam intimately and readily shares her knowledge and tips for all the best museums, restaurants and sights to visit.
The rooms are elegantly decorated and are equipped with walk in showers, flat screen television, hair dryer, Nespresso coffee maker, mineral water and high speed Wi-Fi. Her beautiful cat Lapsung, will make her acquaintance with you but remains unobtrusive during the stay. Breakfast is a lovely informal affair where Cynthia will make you pancakes and bread pudding to accompany the selection of fresh fruit on skewers, breads, cheese and ham. Up on the third floor the room has a balcony and mini sundeck with a view over the rooftops.
There are so many sights to see within a short distance of The Vanguard, Anne Frank’s House is about a 15 minute walk but you must book your tickets online and there are large queues. The museums are all around this area but just stroll along the canals and take in all of the pretty views. We dined at a really nice Argentinian restaurant nearby called La Parrillada, which cost about €30 for two, including drinks and a sweet.
The overriding memory of this trip was the warmth of our host Cynthia, who really goes the extra mile to ensure you have an enjoyable stay in her lovely home. The bicycles…there are thousands of them everywhere, which makes it so easy to capture iconic photographs, the trams which allow for easy transportation around the city and the beautiful light (which Cynthia explained was due to the amount of water in Amsterdam). Easyjet operate regular daily flights from London Luton Airport and it only takes 45 minutes. Schiphol Airport is vast, with shops and restaurants.
Thank you to Cynthia for having us to stay at The Vanguard
Our stay was complimentary. As always, all opinions are my own.