Recently stayed at the Hotel Arena during a 4 day break with the girlfriend. On the whole, it was a fantastic place to be. It is an extremely impressive building, not that striking from the outside but as soon as you set foot in the reception and see the staircases (I'd add a photo but there are plenty on here already), you can't help but keep noticing some of the incredible features.
The hotel is only a 20 minute walk from Rembrandtplein, where there is plenty to see and do. We bought 96 hour GVB passes but used them probably 3 times just because we enjoyed the walk. Along the road, then up the Amstel and over the canals and you are in the centre within 25 minutes! We would have missed out on so much if we had taken public transport instead of walking. Basically, on a map it might look like a fair distance from the city but it is not. And the distance you will have to cover wont seem so bad when you see how beautiful the walk is. Even from Dam Square, the hotel was never more than an hours walk away (and that's with our particularly poor navigational skills!).
The staff were very helpful. We arrived around 4 hours before check-in and, for a €10 deposit we were given a locker to store our luggage in. We took the opportunity to explore the nearby streets and canals before taking a stroll through Oosterpark.
Upon returning, the staff were welcoming and friendly, gave us our key cards and directed us to our room. Walking through the corridors, I couldn't help but be amazed. High ceilings, ornate staircases and coving. Beautiful courtyards. A brilliant combination of old and new, the "design hotel" element adds absolutely no pretension whilst still feeling very fancy.
Our room (number 143, on the first floor) was lovely. Nice little lounge area downstairs, with a leather sofa, television, telephone and minibar. LAN points available too. Behind a black glass panel, just inside the door, was the bathroom. Sort of a wet room style bathroom. Nice and spacey.. only thing is, the black glass is far from opaque! Really not a problem for me or the girlfriend but if you're travelling with someone you aren't incredibly comfortable with it could be an issue. As it was, we spent most of our time in the room upstairs. The gigantic bed and the television were pretty much all we needed so the bathroom was always private enough.
In the corner of the room was a little staircase leading up to the bedroom area. I really loved this feature of the room. The massively high ceilings, gigantic windows and everything.. could just be the child in me, but it was just kind of cool. Be sure to check though because if you have trouble with stairs, you'd have trouble with the room! Again, not a problem for us and the bedroom area was nice. Massive comfy bed, plenty of space, another television and telephone.
All in all the room experience was great. My only criticism is that the smaller details make it look a little bit aged. The wall paper was peeling in places, for example. I only noticed on the last day though, so its not as if it ruins the room! The cleaners make pretty early visits too. I probably ought to have apologised to the cleaner who had to see me wearing a towel at 9:30 am! Breakfast is only served until 10:30.. which isn't really that early and isn't unusual.. I'm just a fan of having a lie in so I can't complain!
On checking out, the staff were very helpful too. They took our luggage off our hands for a few hours as we had time to kill between check out and flights. They arranged for a taxi to pick us up from the reception and take us to the airport too for their fixed rate of €39. More expensive than taking the tram and metro, but so much easier. We couldn't be dealing with the hassle of trying to get to the airport in time!
All in all, the hotel and staff were fantastic. Whilst the hotel could do with a little love in some areas, it is still by quite a margin one of the nicest places I have stayed. I'd thoroughly recommend it.