We stayed here initially with a Groupon deal and then again off our own bat. First time I had modest expectations of a Holiday Inn, essentially thinking it a better version of a Travelodge but nowhere near a Novotel.
The hotel is pleasant and reasonably plush, pleasant and clean - much more so than I thought. The little bistro on the first floor does have hotel prices, but is reasonable value with good food and excellent service. Having Angry Birds available in the lifts makes the little boring moments much less tedious!
It's located well, slightly out of the way, by the RAI convention centre (think Birmingham NEC just not way out of town). However it's just next to an NS railway station with regular links to Amsterdam Central (change once) and at the end of the tram terminus. This works well, it feels like you're taking a sort of 'scenic route; run (about 20 mins) through Amsterdam in the morning, to the square by the central station via the funky Rembrandtsplein. It's got a decent little mini-gym too.
I had numerous changes and unexpected amendments prior to arrival, and the reservations staff here really couldn't have been better - cheerfully and efficiently taking change after change in their stride. I agree that the free Wifi was a little slow unless you paid rather more than you'd expect for the faster version - but hey look it's a business hotel. I found they were much better than I thought when I ended up bringing in the family. They couldn't do enough to be helpful.
For me the real gems were the staff. What I really noticed is that 'bored student' staff were instead bright and energetic, without being 'cheesy' every single morning at breakfast. We were also well served by a gent who would have fitted effortlessly at The Savoy one dinnertime, without any hint of grouching or resentment at where he might have been without a world recession. You simply wouldn't get this in the UK. I cannot praise this place enough and will look forward to staying again.
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