I come to the Netherlands for business a few times a year, for the last five years now. I’ve had mediocre to terrible hotel experiences. This one, I was able to bring my spouse, and to tack on some leisure travel and enjoy the Netherlands before going back to work on Monday. This review is longer than most, as the reviews of the other properties would have been, “don’t stay here”.
We had a direct flight in from the states and landed at Schiphol just after 9am. We bought our train tickets at the airport (cash only if you do not have a credit card with a chip and a PIN, even at the service counter now) and caught the train into the city center. Chipless card? Bring Euros or get them from an ATM at the airport. This is usually a better value than exchanging USD$ at an exchange window.
It’s a quick, easy, and a painless train ride to city center. The walk to the hotel, if you pre-plan and know the street to go down is a five to seven minute walk, at maximum, from the station. There is also the tram, but if it is dry out, the walk makes more sense since the tram stops well past the hotel, and then you have to walk back up towards the hotel. The fact we were close to the station was key for us, because we took it back to Schiphol Monday.
We checked in and dropped our bags since the room wasn't yet ready (it was still well before noon). The girl at the front desk was friendly, helpful, and very accommodating. We found this to be the case with everyone on the “front end”. So, we walked west and took a one and a half hour canal tour. We walked back to the hotel after a light lunch and the room was ready.
We were on the top floor (6) in a corner room, facing the main road in front of the hotel (Nieuwe Zijds Voorburgwal). We were a little concerned because this was Friday with a weekend coming up, and this was Amsterdam. I’ve been at hotels here where all I heard was partying and noise. The streets can get loud and rowdy. I can’t speak for all the rooms in the hotel, but the only things we heard were planes on arrival to Schiphol on occasion, and maybe a ding-ding from the tram bell. The windows are sealed shut (in our room, lower-floor rooms they might open), so don’t expect to open them up high. For us, we had a gorgeous view and silence.
The next day we decided we wanted to see some more of the city, so we asked the concierge how to ride the trams. He gave us detailed instructions; scan your card onto the train, and on the way out again, as well as advice on reading the map (get a map from the front desk when you check in, or from the concierge). He offered many ticket options, so we went with the 2-day pass. We felt like locals.
We were able to join the Crowne's restaurant for happy hour a few nights, from 5-6pm, where it is 2-for-1 for some drinks. We ate dinner here two nights and despite spotty service we overall enjoyed the experience. It never seemed like they had enough servers to cover all the areas, but the food did not let us down… but. The breakfast was an expensive disappointment (as was the steak for dinner)– at breakfast I asked for some fresh scrambled eggs as the ones in the steamer tray looked old, and I got a gritty pile of yellow mush. While eggs are slightly different here, these were just poorly done. I’d skip the pricy breakfast buffet and dine elsewhere.
Wi-fi in the rooms and lobby were OK. Not great, always able to connect, but not fast enough to stream video. Skype worked OK.
So, this visit was quiet room, convenient to the central station, great front end service. The last missing star was due to the spotty restaurant service and the breakfast. However, I would not think twice to stay here again, or to recommend it to a friend or family member. This was by far the best hotel experience I've had in Amsterdam.