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“What do you need in a hostel?” 3 of 5 stars
Review of The Shelter City

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The Shelter City
Barndesteeg 21, 1012 BV Amsterdam, The Netherlands (Red Light District)   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #70 of 175 Specialty Lodging in Amsterdam
Groningen, Netherlands
Contributor
11 reviews 11 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“What do you need in a hostel?”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2012

Personally I find that if you stay in a hostel in a popular city you should not expect much more than to get a clean bed, a decent shower and a door that locks. They delivered on all fronts. The mattress was a bit thin/worn down but I slept like I was stone cold dead. There are decent-sized lockers in your room (At 6AM those tin boxes sound LOUD) but bring your own padlock to save €5.
When I checked in the girl at the counter told me about an open-mic night that evening (Which would have been fun to attend I think but alas, I had other plans) and the church service the following morning, which I full-heartily slept through.
The only thing I was a bit taken back by was the attitude of the guy made who let me back in (At 6 AM mind you ;) ), it felt a bit like he looked snubbed his nose at me and looked down at me for returning a tad inebriated. I found that a bit odd as it was Amsterdam, a Friday night and he worked in a hostel in the deadcenter of town so I could not have been the first to do that, ever or even that night alone! But maybe he had a long night or I misinterpreted him.
Anyway, long story short; If you need a (for Amsterdam) cheap place to rest your head and wash your body clean of Sodom and Gomorrah, you're at the right spot. Though if you want to do a pubcrawl untill 6 AM you're better off getting a hostel at het Spui or het Leidscheplein.

Room Tip: Take a smaller room -> 6 people make far less noise than 12.
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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190 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (21)
Date | Rating
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English first
Ottawa, Canada
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
21 helpful votes 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 30, 2012

Finding accommodation for a group of 23 youth and adult travellers is not always easy, but Shelter City stepped up to the plate. The advance reservation process was smooth and the correspondence prompt. On arrival our keys were ready and the check-in fast. The two dorms were clean/orderly, as were the double rooms booked for the adults. Box lunches were fair value for the 5 Euros charged. Breakfast was tasty and varied. Only two points for consideration: the double rooms need some more hooks or flat surfaces on which to organize personal things and the addition of high-speed WiFi would eliminate the queues to use the four terminals on the first floor. All in all a great choice for a large group.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, England
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 14, 2012

I stayed here with a friend for four nights a couple of weeks ago. In terms of decor and facilities it's distinctly average, but the location is excellent, just a few minutes' walk from Centraal Station and close to most of the main sights. It's very close to the red light district (in fact there are a couple of brothels on the same street!) but it's not a seedy area at all, even at night. I'd read in guidebooks that the red light district was treated as just a normal part of everyday life in Amsterdam, and didn't really believe it...but it's true! Myself and my female friend never felt unsafe, even after dark.

When you arrive at the hostel you are given a voucher which acts as your pass to get into the building (presumably so you can't sneak guests in by giving them a door code!). There are no locks on the doors to the rooms themselves, but big secure lockers are available in the room for a 10euro deposit (which is returned when you give the key back). We stayed in room 3, which is a 16-bed female dorm on the ground floor. The bunks were reasonably comfy and there was enough space between the beds. It could have done with a fresh lick of paint, but it was clean and tidy. People seemed to be pretty considerate in terms of coming in late etc, but it's always a good idea to take along an eye mask and earplugs to make sure you get a good night's sleep :) If you want to charge your phone, camera, etc, there are a few plug sockets dotted around the room, or there’s a free charging service at reception (they give you a numbered ticket to make sure you get the right things back).

The bathrooms are fairly spacious and are cleaned twice a day. The water pressure in the showers isn’t great – we found that the best ones on the ground floor were the ones nearest the windows, for some reason.

Breakfast is included in the room price, you have the option of muesli, bread and cheese or the daily hot option (while we were there this included french toast and pancakes), as well as either tea, coffee, or juice. It’s not massive, but you can buy more for a reasonable cost. The cafe is open throughout the day, serving snacks and drinks. There’s also a nice courtyard garden in the centre of the hostel, where you can socialise, play table tennis or just sit and relax with a book.

This is a Christian hostel, but (aside from the giant "God Loves You" sign) nobody tries to evangelise you while you're there. There is a no drugs and alcohol policy, which we didn't realise until we arrived meant that you weren't supposed to be under the influence...we tried to be good, but got a bit carried away on the beers one night and didn't get back until 5am. However, the guy who was manning the desk politely ignored our giggling and didn't tell us off!

Bear in mind that Amsterdam can be an expensive city, especially when eating out, but if you try to avoid the tourist traps then you can find some cheaper places. Also it’s a small city so you don’t need to worry too much about public transport – we walked to most places, and hired bikes one day mainly for the experience rather than out of necessity. You can book this through the hostel, I think it cost us about 6euros each for the whole day. Overall, we had a great stay in Amsterdam, and would use this hostel again if we returned.

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Leuven
Top Contributor
67 reviews 67 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 23 cities Reviews in 23 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 25, 2012

Me and my friend booked this place for one night and it was pretty cozy. Small and the staff was very friendly. This hostel is literally in the middle of the red light districts!! As we entered the place we saw a few guests panick and ask for the staff to call an ambulance for their friend. Turned out one of them, couldn't handle smoking weed and was suffering the consequences for it. This is a christian hostel, so you're not allowed to bring in any alcohol and drugs ( weed for example), but you are allowed to smoke normal cigarettes in the garden. There are lockers available and they are quite big. I managed to fit in 2 medium sized backpacks in one, so...
Breakfast was kinda crap though, not enough to be full :/ They only gave us three thin pieces of mini pancakes, so I was still starving after breakfast. Bathrooms don't have hairdryers and it's quite small. Only three washbasins, but the place is clean!

  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Portland, Oregon
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
16 helpful votes 16 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 12, 2012

If you are looking for a hostel, this is an excellent place! Right next to the Red Light District and the Waag, but a short walk from Dam Square. We stayed in the room with 16 beds and it was very clean and comfortable. The bathrooms were clean and the showers were adequate, although it was best to test out a few to see which had the best pressure. Breakfast was great, and the cafe in the hostel is quite nice. Staff were very kind! I would stay here again!

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Lyon
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 1, 2012

Its a nice place to stay in, specially if your traveling on your own, though not so much if your plans include partying hardcore :P
It's more a place for families, definitely.

  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Montevideo, Montevideo, Uruguay
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
21 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 1, 2012

Booked it cos of availability, not being aware of this being a christian place. Well nobody tried to proselytize me or molested me in any other way.
At opposite! The place is nice, I liked their breakfast and attitude.
Just a pity that you cannot smoke weed in the yard

Room Tip: avoid the ten share
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  • Stayed May 2012, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about The Shelter City

Address: Barndesteeg 21, 1012 BV Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Location: The Netherlands > North Holland Province > Amsterdam > Red Light District
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #70 of 175 Specialty Lodging in Amsterdam
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Number of rooms: 158
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Friendly, clean hostel in the centre of Amsterdam. Single-sex dormitories and rooms with 4-8 beds, some with en-suite bathrooms. 24 hour reception, cafe with cheap food and drinks, free use of lockers, great garden to hang out in with giant fish-pond! ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Shelter City Hotel Amsterdam

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