If you are a bit shaky on the history of Amsterdam, Marcel Wanders, Andaz's A-list designer, has a novel solution.

The toilets in each of the hotel's 122 rooms are wallpapered with enough maps, illustrations and tales to make you linger an awkward length of time.

It's just one clever flourish in a five-star bolthole that's full of them - the sinks daubed in Marcel's signature blue patterns (painted in just one minute), his wacky 'whale comb' artwork over the bed, and a seven-storey high model Alice who peers over her 'wonderland' courtyard.

Understated this is not, but the quirky vibe is just right for its Nine Streets district location, which is a rabbit warren of boutiques, bars and restaurants.

WOW FACTOR: We were left speechless looking at the lobby's cathedral-height ceiling with its own solar system, gigantic white bells on ribbons and a huge chair that would make a Bond villain green with envy.

TRAVEL TIME: 5 hours by train.

GO: Double rooms cost from £274 www.amsterdam.prinsengracht.andaz.com while eurostar www.eurostar.com to amsterdam starts at £99 return.