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GAY TRAVEL | Amsterdam is more than damn thrilling

Paris may try to lure you in with its reputation for style and sophistication, Berlin with its unconventional ways and underground creativity and San Francisco with its liberal mindset. Amsterdam, however, has all of this but doesn’t feel the need to flaunt it. It is the coolest looking person in the club, and it knows just how cool it is. If Amsterdam didn’t exist, you would think it’s too unbelievable to be real, a fictional utopia, the product of an over-zealous mind.

Pexels / Pixabay

As always the Eurostar journey was effortless, the perfect combination of speed, practicality and comfort, which could almost be the motto on the coat of arms of the city I was heading for. You can travel directly from London to Amsterdam for as little as £35 per person, and Amsterdam to London (with a stop in Brussels) for £65.50 per person. Time your return to London smartly and spend the day in Brussels at no extra cost.

ernestovdp / Pixabay

My destination was The Toren hotel, only 15 minutes walk from Amsterdam Centraal Station, nestled seductively in the iconic canal belts of the city and the perfect location from which to explore the main attractions at the heart of Amsterdam. Chic, theatrical and more than a little bit mysterious, this old building blends warmth and comfort and is rich with vivid patterns and lush interiors.

Bar lounge - The Toren Amsterdam - By the Pavilions

Photo by: thetoren.nl

The Toren is almost too good to be a mere hotel as I couldn’t decide if I wanted to just stay there all day or explore the sights of Amsterdam, that’s how inviting the place is. It also was the perfect inspiration for how my own home could be. The bed was comfortable, the decor deep, dark and elegant, the curtains draped heavily as if they were hanging blankets, the bedding had the reassuring and luxurious weight and feel of curtains and the lighting was designed so that you could adjust to any mood desired; to rest or digest, for ambience or excitement…or even fight or flight!

Cosy double room - The Toren Amsterdam - By the Pavilions

Photo by: thetoren.nl

When I entered the bathroom, I realised that I had met my match! A Jacuzzi bathtub, which had industrial style settings… so don’t expect soft bubbles, this is bubble technology as a deep but sensual massage. It featured a dual shower block for 2 people which also doubles as a steam room, complete with comfortable seats, and an intelligent toilet with an activated sensor that raises and closes the seat.

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Whirlpool bath special deluxe room - The Toren Amsterdam - By the Pavilions

Photo by: thetoren.nl

Typically for The Toren’s habit of never cutting corners when it can offer a bit more indulgence, the toilet seat even heats up. Breakfast felt as if you had been invited to your Auntie’s house for a buffet; charming, warm and wonderfully intimate. With an open fire, The Toren bar is strikingly inviting and almost like a secret hidden from the foot traffic of Amsterdam and the staff are more than just personnel, they are nothing short of point-blank comfort ambassadors.

Gallery image of this property

Photo by: thetoren.nl

But if you can drag yourself away from this glorious and inviting place, then there is plenty to see and experience.

8 Things To Do While Staying At The Toren

  1. Anne Frank’s House, a museum that has retained the required authenticity and subdued atmosphere to match its sombre but poignant back story.
  2. Walk to the famous Heineken Brewery. A guided tour of their factory is undoubtedly worth checking out, and so is their non-alcoholic beer.
  3. The Van Gogh Museum, a must-visit for art fans and culture vultures alike.
  4. All roads lead to Dam Square, the real heart of Amsterdam, where you can casually check out The Royal Palace, the Nieuwe Kerk and the War Memorial in a square that is the embodiment of the iconic look of Amsterdam.
  5. Jordaan is a neighbourhood somewhat akin to London’s Cockney East End, a blend of the working class past and modern gentrification, the perfect collision of old and new, rich and poor.
  6. Men seeking more hedonistic or at least social options should visit Nieuwezijds Gay Sauna which offers a fully licensed bar with lounge, whirlpool, Turkish bath, Finnish sauna, private cabins, light meals, masseurs, smoker’s lounge and ample relaxing and cruising space. Look out for No Towel Tuesday!
  7. Prik, a wonderfully inviting LGBT cocktail bar hidden in the city’s heart and while compact and bijou, is intimate, warm and welcoming.
  8. People watch in one of the ubiquitous cafes and coffee bars which you can’t avoid finding as you travel around the city.

In short, Amsterdam knows just how damn sexy it is, so much so that it doesn’t even have to try to make you fall in love with it, that just happens naturally.

Written By: Ray Si – Proud Member of IGLTA

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