Waldorf Astoria in Amsterdam’s City Centre

By Stella Toonen

AMSTERDAM – As part of its new expansion drive, the international Waldorf Astoria hotel chain has got its heart set on seven adjoining buildings at the Herengracht in Amsterdam, the municipality of Amsterdam announced Monday.

The hotel company has been looking for a place for an annex in Amsterdam for some years already, and is now discussing the former Fortis-complex (542-556 Herengracht) for possible use.

Roberto Payer, manager of the parent company Hilton Group, refused to confirm the plans but indicated that “the endeavor indeed seems to be fruitful”.

The building, consisting of a row of seven adjacent monumental houses, provides room for a hundred or even a hundred and fifty rooms.

It takes up a large space, with the complex’s back even extending to the Keizersgracht.

Amsterdam-Centre District manager Boudewijn Oranje said that “the hotel chain is of a level that we are not used to in our capital”.

He predicts that the new hotel will be in the top five of the most luxurious hotels of Amsterdam.

The policy that the Amsterdam-Centre District had agreed upon was that no new hotels were allowed to settle in the city centre anymore. However, they made an exception for “international top hotels” such as the Waldorf Astoria.

By opening such a big hotel in the Canal District, the municipality hopes to create a bridge to the peripheral quarters of the city. Presently, tourists still mainly concentrate on the city centre.

The Waldorf Astoria has built several new hotels in Europe during the last few years. Next year an annex in Berlin will be opened.

Follow the tracks of Carrie in a Parisian SATC-Tour

By Marlene Werner

Some time has passed since four amazing girls – Carrie, Samantha, Charlotte and Miranda – visited you weekly through your domestic television sets; this excludes those joyous get-togethers on DVD, which dedicated Sex and the City Fans, including myself, undertake regularly.

Among my personal favorites is the episode in which Carrie crosses the Atlantic with her temporary lover Aleksandr Petrovsky to live with him in Paris.

Didn’t you also dream of following Carries’ tracks through those picturesque Parisian allies, stuff yourself with delicious French pastry and get the full culture-blast that the exquisite Parisian museums have to offer?

My initial expectation that cunning marketers had already put together the full-fledged SATC-experience Parisian-style turned out to be wrong.

Fortunately, I had enough time at hand in the French capital during this summer and figured out the most prominent locations myself.

If you head to Paris anytime soon, make sure to check them out! And by the way, you do not have to be a SATC- enthusiast to enjoy these recommendations. French pastry is gustatory paradise, for anyone.

1)      Hôtel Plaza Athéné

This elegant establishment figures as Carries’ and Alek’s accommodation during their stay. The Hôtel Plaza Athéné is one of Paris’ most prestigious hotels located on 25, Avenue Montaigne, close to the Champs Élysées. It is definitely worth visiting, but the €570 charge per night may burn a hole in your pocket.
Since you are already in the area, you can pass by the flagship Dior store on 30, Avenue Montagne. Carrie slips and falls under the critical eye of some French ladies and eventually ends up in a spending splurge.

2)      Le Kong

Carrie meets Alek’s ex-wife in this fancy glass-ceiled restaurant. The food is excellent, but just as the Plaza Athéné it adheres to the Parisian ski-high price range. You can find it on the top-floor at 1, Rue du Pont Neuf.

3)      Patisserie Angelina
One of my favorite, and moderately prized, stops of the SATC Tour. The original patisserie, Cador, in which Carrie stuffs herself with French dainties and feeds the enormous dog sitting next to her, is unfortunately closed. Yet, Angelina will satisfy your cravings for delicious sweets just as well. If you are unsure what to order, try the Moelleux Chocolat (a fluffy chocolate pastry with melted chocolate inside) or the Tartelette aux Fruits Rouges (red berries on a light vanilla mousse, sprinkled with almonds). A feast for the eye and mouth. Besides the pastries, they are renowned for their heavenly hellish hot chocolate. Sitting down and enjoying your little gustatory oeuvres is a must, as the interior is just as delicious as the servings. You can find it at 226, Rue de Rivoli.

4)      La Galerie Nationale de Jeu de Paume
The Galerie National de Jeu de Paume is the venue for Alek’s exposition. It is a museum for contemporary art in film and photography, located at 1, place de la Concorde. You can just pass by after having indulged in you calories-orgy at Angelina, since it is only a stone’s throw away.

5)      Pont des Arts
The grand finale in which Mr. Big finally admits that Carrie is the one and only girl in his life, followed by the ever-so obligatory kiss, takes place on the Pont des Arts. This bridge is also known as the ‘lovers’ bridge’ and offers an almost unbearably romantic site: hundreds of couples have eternalized their love for each other by attaching a lock with their names to the bridge’s fence. It crosses the Seine right next to the Louvre.

If these sites did not include sufficient cultural entertainment for your taste, it is good to know that EU-students from 18-25 can visit most Parisian museums for free. Non-EU students get a reasonable discount. Besides the renowned Louvre, The Rodin museum (79, Rue de Varenne), the Musée des Arts Décoratifs (107, Rue de Rivoli) and the Centre Pompidou (museum of modern art, Place Georges Pompidou) are also very worthwhile to visit.

This tour does not, of course, cover all the fun things that you can experience in this breathtaking city. Just see for yourself what out of this little list suits your taste, or enjoy the full-fledged Parisian SATC-experience. In any way, I wish you a great time and tons of fun!

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