Style and substance
Close to Amsterdam's Canal Belt, this central hotel offers a friendly and historic experience. The Dam Square is almost on the doorstep with close access to the train station. The building dates to the 18th century and incorporates a former church, paper mill and merchant houses. It's a spacious and contemporary interior on entering that combines tradition and modernity well.

Sleeping matters 
The hotel includes 252 rooms and suites. My room was spacious with fresh white decor, bedsheets and a canal view. Fresh fruit and flowers also greeted me on arrival. It comes with a large bathroom, an adjustable shower and a range of toiletries.

Food for thought 
The Pastorie restaurant and bar is a former church manse which delivers a compelling old-world allure. It's an ideal spot to have dinner after a long day of travelling or just stop for a while to have a drink in the bar, they offer regionally produced traditional dishes such as steak, hamburger or pasta all delivered by friendly and efficient staff. A delicious and refreshing Scandinavian breakfast is served in the Restaurant De Palmboom.

Nice touch 
The city celebrates the late football icon Johan Cruyff with aplomb. I was given a guided tour by Ronald Zjip of the Cruyff ArenA which brings all elements of the sophisticated player's story, as well as the club, to life. The European Cup won by Celtic is housed in the club's museum. After Ajax subsequently won it in 1971, 72 and 73 they were allowed to keep it. An image of Cruyff with his long flowing 1970s locks dominates the outside of the stadium where fans pose for pictures.

The Herald: Radisson Blu, Amsterdam City CentreRadisson Blu, Amsterdam City Centre (Image: free)

Drink in the sights 
Amsterdam is a hub for major live gigs with its many arenas and concert halls. Close to the Cruyff ArenA I visited the Ziggo Dome for Madonna's Celebration Tour. The atmosphere is bolstered by an international crowd that is perhaps more laid-back than UK gigs with less beer consumed. The show visited the singer's greatest hits such as Holiday complete with the 80s New York dance routine. Fans clearly enjoyed the nostalgic rerun of Madonna's finest moments, it's also ideal for casual observers. I had to leave early due to the late start of the show, so it's worth keeping an eye on train times for getting back to the city centre. The City Card is the best and most efficient way of getting around. An excellent arena well worth a visit.

About the area 
Getting around is fairly easy and most places are a short bus ride or walking distance. I visited the Amsterdam Hilton where John Lennon and Yoko Ono arrived on March 24th 1969 to have their Bed-In for peace as a protest against the Vietnam War. Lennon's widely broadcast event became a part of Beatles folklore and is referenced in The Ballad of John and Yoko. The Hilton makes the most of the connection, they renamed the room where Lennon stayed as The John and Yoko Suite back in 1990 and have recreated the room to resemble how it would have looked during the Bed-In. There is also a picture of John and Yoko staying at the hotel near the entrance with some information about their visit.

For more information on the City Card please visit Please visit for flights from Edinburgh to Schiphol