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“Not the average hostel” 4 of 5 stars
Review of The Shelter City

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The Shelter City
Barndesteeg 21, Amsterdam 1012 BV, The Netherlands (Red Light District)   |  
Hotel amenities
Chelmsford, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
26 helpful votes 26 helpful votes
“Not the average hostel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 22, 2013

On my recent visit I was looking for a good value, quiet place to stay and after some searching came across Shelter City which as a Christian Hostel, does not allow alcohol and has single sex rooms only. Perhaps not what everyone looks for but it suited me perfectly as I was there to see the sites and needed somewhere to sleep. The added bonus was that I was able to book into a four bed dormitory with en suite.

As essentially a non Christian, I was a little concerned that, though inclusivity was stressed on the website, I may feel a little out of place but this was far from the case, and while it would have been possible to join in a Bible discussion and Prayer Meeting, this was really the only thing that marked out the hostel’s ethos as far as I was concerned.

The room was quite spacious and the bed comfortable. I was also impressed that the hostel responded quickly to an e mail requesting a lower bunk and was given this with no problems. The ensuite was tiny but functional and fairly new. In addition, I visited during an unseasonably hot June week and it was really lovely to sit in the evening in the hostel’s peaceful courtyard which has a large pond and fountain, and even a cat with a Facebook page!

As for location, I think I could have done my research better. The hostel is around a 10-15 minute walk from Centraal Station down a street crammed with cafes, bars and restaurants (many of them Thai, if that’s what you’re looking for), which opens into a pleasant square (Nieuwmarkt) with more cafes. It’s also not too far from Dam Square but I was surprised at how sprawling the City is and the hostel is quite a distance from the Museumplein, although I think public transport would have been possible. I was also quite amused to find that by diverting onto a parallel street I found myself in the heart of the Red Light District!

Finally, one key point to note is that, while in the main costs can be kept down when hostelling by self catering, this really isn’t an option here. There is a fairly small fridge and a microwave but otherwise food can only be bought from the hostel’s own café (which is open late and cheaper than outside) or elsewhere in the city.

Room Tip: I think it's worth booking the smaller ensuite rooms as they're not much more expensive.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (14)
Date | Rating
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English first
Seville, Spain
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2013

I am not overly religious so normally I wouldn't have picked it, but considering I wasn't in Amsterdam to do any of the ''interesting'' activities Amsterdam offers I wanted to be somewhere safe and clean. I am happy to say the wifi was great, the rooms were nice size and the staff was AMAZING. They could answer every question you had, and whats more THE FOOD WAS GREAT. Truly breakfast was amazing and well worth getting up early to be able to get it while it is hot. The beds were sturdy and the lockers were nice - although not terribly spacious. The hostel is secure - which I loved, although wasn't a big fan of having one of the ''ladies'' soliciting not 10 meters from the hostels entrance. However, overall I LOVED IT.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 16, 2013 via mobile

I cant say enough about this place. I came in on a saturday and they offered us a free tour of the city!!! It was so much fun. Then we came back to the hostel and talked over free hot chocolate and coffee! The staff is extremely helpful and kind. I was travelling alone and they made all the difference. They let me keep my keep at the hostel so i didnt have to deag it around all day!!they offer a free breakfast in the morning and the dinner prices are reasonable for amsterdam.
I would def come back and stay here and would recommend it to anyone looking for a decent place with a clean bed with a friendly and helpful and POLITE staff!

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Brussels, Belgium
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
7 helpful votes 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 10, 2013

I'm not religious so I wouldn't have normally picked this hostel but I booked 4 days before coming so I got "stuck" with this hostel. I have to say - GREAT location. Can't beat it. Took about 10 minutes walk from the train station so even if you have luggage its an easy walk. The people are nice and they let you leave your stuff since the rooms aren't ready till 1:30. Not the best place to meet people since most people that stay there are too busy reading their bibles but a good place to stay if you just need a bed. The mattress was pretty comfortable and the bathrooms were sort of clean. I think the best part was that it was very quiet even though its really near to a busy street.

Room Tip: Rooms on the top floor are the best - very quiet. Try and get a room with 4 people since the rooms w...
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 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.
San Diego, California
Top Contributor
54 reviews 54 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 21, 2013

When my son had his first big international trip this Spring break he was doing about 6 major European cities in 10 days. With some advanced planning he located this Christian hostel in the heart of Amsterdam.
The room configurations are very versatile from bunk rooms to 4 and 6-person suites w/bath.
I was able to maintain email contact with Shelter City's reception (Jacoline was GREAT) when my son couldn't get a train reservation and would end up arriving a day late.
They pushed his reservation back a day and he & his travel mates actually did better getting a 4-person room to themselves. As a father trying to work these "minor" details from afar Jacoline's rapid and effective email contact made all the difference.
My son also liked the clean, safe &serious nature of this budget property/ hostel

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Kiruna, Sverige
Senior Contributor
24 reviews 24 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed May 11, 2013

A hostel with a great location, located in red light district and about 10min walk from the central staition. Lots of shops, cafes and stores in the area. Clean rooms with sturdy beds and lockers just outside the rooms. Very secure hostel, allways locked and you need to show your pass to enter.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
Glasgow, Scotland, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed April 24, 2013

It's near to or rather located in the Red Light District but it's very safe. They lock the door all the time and you will need to show the paper that they gave you on check-in before entering the hostel. It's close to restaurants and supermarket so we have no problem with food. They provide a free city map and the staffs are very kind and helpful. The breakfast is good but you may need to wait for 10-15 minutes if you are late as people wake up quite early to have their breakfast. Overall, it's a nice hostel with good location and clean room. The only thing that I am not happy with is that you can listen clearly to the noise of people walking in the corridor and this may disturb your sleep.

  • Stayed April 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 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 1
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

Also Known As:
The Shelter City Hotel Amsterdam
The Shelter City Hotel
Address: Barndesteeg 21, Amsterdam 1012 BV, The Netherlands
Location: The Netherlands > North Holland Province > Amsterdam > Red Light District
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #70 of 168 Specialty lodging in Amsterdam
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
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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