Food & Wine Lifestyle Luxury Hotels Travel

Champagne Pops on Amsterdam canals and luxury dining

Amsterdam is a luxury travel destination

No trip to Amsterdam is complete without a canal trip

A gal has to take a canal barge trip in Amsterdam and even that was a true luxury experience.  With lots of others at the Leading Hotels of the World Convention, we boarded a barge right outside – well, ten yards away – from Hotel Okura Amsterdam.

For an hour, in black tie and black dress, we cruised the canals, enlivened by chilled Pommery Pop champagnes along the way.

Our destination was the just-re-opened Het Scheepvaartmuseum (The National Maritime Museum), declared open by HM Queen Beatrix on October 2nd, 2011.

The renewed Scheepvaartmuseum in Amsterdam

Scheepvaartmuseum Amsterdam

What a thrill to be there, in a building that dates back to 1656.  It has been restored by a female architect, Liesbeth van der Pol of Dok architects.

The 100 by 100-ft courtyard has an amazing ceiling designed by Laurent Ney of Luxembourg – the 1,200 pieces of metal-edged glass, all different sizes, are inspired by compass lines on old sea charts.  The 868 intersection points of the frame have individually adjustable LED lights.

So… hundreds of Leading names arrived, and found their tables, ready for a glorious luxury banquet cooked by Hotel Okura chefs.

Ted Tend, president and CEO Leading Hotels of the World and guests

From left, Ted Teng, Leading President and CEO; Grace Leo, GLA Hotels; Drew Nieporent, Myriad Restaurant Group

We started with a memorable bento box, went on to seafood in a gold cardboard ‘chocolate box’ and went on to two already-plated courses.  There was more Pommery Champagne – what a way to go – and then Clarence Dillon wines.

We listened to the band of the Netherlands Royal Marines, to Dutch cabaret singer Laura Fygi and watched a Peter Stringfellow-lookalike, Las Vegas veteran illusionist Hans Klok, helped by half a dozen bikini-clad beauties who obligingly climbed in and out of assorted wooden boxes and other shapes so that he could stick swords right through the boxes.

And then we all climbed, not into boxes but into buses for the considerably down-to-earth journey back home, and in someone’s case, bed.  A gal needs her beauty sleep…

Hans Klok's magic trick at LHW's convention in Amsterdam

And more magic...

Magician Hans Klok does his magic at LHW's convention in Amsterdam