Category Archives: netherlands

One Day Stay: Amsterdam, Netherlands


Amsterdam is such a beautiful city and a major gateway to Europe. I was thrilled to go there for my very first time in November for a girls weekend with Ana aka Mrs. O Around the World, Ashley, one half of The Lazy Travelers, and Mary Anne aka Editor of Jetset Extra. These lovely ladies would make any city visit a treat and did we ever enjoy ourselves in Amsterdam. But seriously, who wouldn’t fall for the bicycles, pretty canals and old world charm this city offers?! While I did have some good ole fun in the Red Light District, the girls and I managed to also find some of the very best that Amsterdam has to offer. Listed here in my One Day Stay are my favorites. I loved Amsterdam so much that I definitely have it on my list to return and explore for longer.



Located on Prince’s Canal and just under 2 years old, Andaz Amsterdam is a 5-Star, 122 room boutique hotel that is fresh and funky. I particularly loved the lighting and pops of Delft blue throughout. Nearby, is the lively Jordaan district and the Nine Streets. So, you will find within walking distance art galleries, trendy boutiques and shops as well as dining and nightlife. We were treated to brunch at Andaz Amsterdam’s Bluespoon and I had the very best cheesecake of my life there. Go for that alone if you cannot stay at Andaz Amsterdam.


photo 4-6

One of the most charming things about Amsterdam are the gorgeous canals. No better way to experience them than with a canal tour aboard a boat. The girls and I took a private tour on Ivresse, a saloon boat built in 1913 for a doctor. Unfortunately, the pretty boat, outfitted with a teak saloon and art-deco woodcarving, was too slow and taken out of service. (The name Ivresse means “weaving like a drunk”) Private Boat Tours fully refurbished her and now up to 12 guests can enjoy cruising the narrow canals of old Amsterdam. Our captain, Yorick, was quite knowledgable and we enjoyed our hour-long tour tremendously.


photo 2-8

House of Bols is a unique “museum” where you will learn all about the Dutch spirit that’s the world’s oldest distilled spirit brand in production in Amsterdam since 1575. Not only is the House of Bols interesting but also so well put together. It makes learning about liquor FUN. You will discover the 38 Bols liqueurs, including Bols Genever, and, as part of your admittance price, you get to design your own cocktail at the end of the tour with the ‘cocktail selector’. I went with the Dutch ‘N Stormy since I love me a Dark ‘N Stormy – it was a delish take on one of my favorites! PS – if you are a cocktail aficionado, House of Bols has an excellent gift shop for you.


Screen Shot 2014-06-09 at 3.28.42 PM

While I enjoyed all my meals in Amsterdam, dinner at Bridges in Sofitel Legend The Grand Amsterdam was beyond outstanding. One of Amsterdam’s top restos that’s Michelin-starred, Bridges offers seafood with an innovative twist of classical French gastronomy. We were treated to a tasting menu during our evening there. AND not just any tasting menu but 2 separate ones so that we were able to sample even more. Paired with delicious wines, I cannot imagine a more lovely evening.

While I booked my own trip to Amsterdam, the girls and I were treated to dinner at Bridges, the House of Bols experience (14.50€ value) and the canal trip with Private Boat Tours ($350 for an hour-long private cruise) All of these experiences were very ‘Lola Approved’ and highly recommended.


Filed under amsterdam, hipster hotels, netherlands, one day stay, travel

An Amsterdam Virgin

photo 1-10

It’s true that I’m a pretty well traveled person but I still haven’t been MANY places. Amsterdam was one of them, with the exception of flying through its airport to connect to somewhere else in Europe probably twice a year. It has been on my short list for some time and I decided I really wanted to make it there in 2013. Fortunately, I had some traveling companions in my friends, Ana, Mary Anne and Ashley, all frequent travelers and travel writers. Mary Anne was also an Amsterdam virgin and we were both super excited to see what all the hubbub was about with this city.


Ana, an Amsterdam veteran, suggested we take a private walking tour to better understand an overview of the capital city of the Netherlands. Tim, with Context Travel, was beyond brilliant. I tell you what, I’m a fan of walking tours and I really love the concept behind Context Travel arranging scholars & experts to lead “walking seminars”. In fact, they offer them in over 23 cultural capitals around the world! Tim explained various historical moments and social changes that have occurred over time that have shaped Amsterdam into what it is today. Some of the details he explained many Amsterdam virgins would be most curious about, like legal marijuana use and legal prostitution. I found it all very fascinating. Amsterdam is a stunning city. I bet is sparkles in the summertime because it was so colorful in the fall, even with the slight hint of occasional rain. As we traveled through the city, crossing bridges over beautiful canals, Tim shared photos and stories about Amsterdam that I would not have otherwise known. Ashley, also a veteran of Amsterdam, relayed funny tales from her previous visits. We walked through the Red Light District, the gay district, past hash coffeehouses and through Saturday markets. Although, I was nearly taken out by a bicyclist or two, it was all just as I hoped and it was fantastic.

photo 2-8

As four ladies do on a Saturday, next we were off for a “High Wine” experience at The Dylan Amsterdam hotel. Because, you know, you don’t have tea in Amsterdam in the afternoon, you have wine! The Dylan is known for its classic meets contemporary simple design and the High Wine experience fit right in with this concept. The pairing of 4 wines with 4 small bites was a truly lovely experience and one I’ve certainly not had before. I was a fan of this luxury boutique hotel, BIG TIME.

photo 3-3

All poshness aside, and don’t get me wrong, you can stay, eat and drink like a queen in this proper city, what I wanted to see and enjoy most of all was the grittier side of Amsterdam. NO, I didn’t go into any coffeehouses but they weren’t too hard to sniff out with the scent of ganja wafting through the streets. I wanted to go hang out in the Red Light District. We learned on the train to Amsterdam, that it’s a popular destination for stag parties or what some call “SDF” weekends. (I’ll let you guess what that means) So, once in the Red Light District, I was kind of surprised it wasn’t shadier in the evening. There were bars where you can grab a drink next to a string of windows where girls were offering up their various services next to pubs with some of the most delicious beers on draft.

photo 4-1

My favorite ironies of the bar scene in the Red Light District were they close at 2am – WHAT?! and that you can smoke pot inside but you cannot smoke cigarettes. This all tickled me so! I also quite enjoyed the laid back spirit of the people on the streets. I’m not sure if it was the residual effects of the reefer scent carrying out on to the street or what but as we made our way through the Red Light District we were quite giddy and decided to pretend like we were riding an invisible bicycle. No one, I mean NO ONE, found this behavior odd at all. They did, however, find it odd that I went up to one of the windows in the Red Light District to ask a question to one of the ladies. That practically stopped traffic in the street! No, I wasn’t soliciting any business. I wanted to know what the rent rates were for the windows is all. She referred me to the phone number on an ad and said to call. I took a pass. I just wanted to jump in the window for a minute and get my photo snapped with a mustache on. Are you really surprised? My takeaway…this Amsterdam virgin loved the city and definitely plans to return again.

I was the lucky guest of Context Travel and The Dylan Amsterdam. 2 hour long tours with Context Travel start at $300 and the High Wine experience at The Dylan is €39.50. Both a tremendous value.


Filed under amsterdam, netherlands, travel

where to party in Europe

did someone say par-tay?!

party buckets o lola!

most know Europe has an undeniable reputation for being one of the wildest party destinations in the world. whether you’re planning a bachelor party or a girl’s weekend that you’ll never forget, you shouldn’t overlook considering a getaway to one of these – not to be missed – party cities of Europe. AND you know i’m somewhat of a party expert – right? 😉

Ibiza, Spain

claiming the infamous title of the world’s largest party destination, millions of travelers flock to the notorious party island of Ibiza. located of the coast of Spain, this Mediterranean delight hosts some of the biggest and craziest dance parties in the world. while i’ve never been to Ibiza, it is up there on my party scene to-do list. i mean seriously, it’s got everything lola loves. music, drinks, dancing, beaches & blue water! they say if you’re heading to Ibiza for the party of a lifetime, be prepared for many late nights and very early mornings. the before party festivities start from around 11pm, with most of the real action not taking place until 2am, at the earliest. lola better rest up then! during the hours of sunlight, you should plan to rejuvenate those dancing feet on the pristine beaches of Ibiza, along with thousands of other partygoers. well, DUH!

shake that – dancin’ queen!

Amsterdam, Netherlands

often referred to as the party capital of Europe, Amsterdam is a favorite party destination for travelers from all around the world. the ‘anything goes’ vibe of Amsterdam is what entices many young travelers, with most holiday-makers simply looking to have a good time. this is another party destination that i’m dying to hit! some of the world’s best nightclubs can also be found in Amsterdam, hosting the best DJ’s from around the globe. LOVE IT! if you’re looking to find flights to Amsterdam, be sure to check out vacation packages that include accommodations near some of the hottest night spots in the city. i’d be down with a sweet getaway for a deal! Amsterdam is the city that never sleeps, making it a haven for lovers of dance music and endless nights. SIGN. ME. UP.

fire this party up!

Berlin, Germany

now this is one i can actually speak to since i have spent time in Berlin! while it may not be the first place that comes to mind when determining the best party places in Europe, Berlin definitely does make the list of the cities with the best nightlife. with a large student population overflowing onto the streets, partying is the name of the game for most nights in the city of Berlin. what makes Berlin one of the best partying destinations in Europe is that it continues to evolve. unlike many other destinations, which are stuck in the days of fist pumping and go-go dancers, Berlin offers travelers a diverse range of nightlife options. who doesn’t like having choices?! gaining an ever-growing reputation as the cosmopolitan hub of Germany, Berlin is home to a radical art scene, electronic playground and never before seen architecture. if you’re looking for a new place to party, you’ll be amazed by what’s offered in Berlin. i’m ready to return to Berlin myself & have my buddy Travels of Adam show me the hotspots because, you know, he’s a hipster – YEAH!

no party is complete without a good drink!

the list of ‘where to party in Europe’ destinations is virtually endless, but these are three that should definitely not be missed! whatever party scene you’re looking for, you’ll certainly find it in the captivating streets of Amsterdam, the ever-changing city of Berlin or the breathtaking shores of Ibiza.

XO – lola


Filed under germany, netherlands, spain, travel