Sandwiched between the canals of Nine Streets and the Jordaan district (the Dutch equivalent of London's Notting Hill), the Canal House is one very sexy bolt-hole hiding behind the classic frontage of a 17th-century merchant's house - all black walls, rich velvets and a hefty dose of über-cool Dutch interior design.

The 23 rooms are packed with interesting original features, such as the hanging pots and pans in Room 1 (the old kitchen), marble fireplaces and wooden beams.

You can easily potter away a morning in the boutiques and cafes of Nine Streets before spending an afternoon in the Museum Quarter. Our favourite activity, however, was sampling wine with gourmet nibbles at Bubbles & Wine (www.bubblesandwines.com).

WOW FACTOR: Dinner in the Summer House in the garden - the perfect romantic nook away from the main dining room.

FLIGHT TIME: 1 hour

GO: Rooms from £195, B&B (www.canalhouse.nl). British Airways (www.ba.com) flies from £90 return.