My husband and I have just returned from a second one night stay at the College hotel. I called the reception desk on the day itself to make the booking (A'dam is only a few hours drive from our home). There were only 2 standard rooms left on the second floor, so we took one of those, although our preference would have been for those on the first floor as they have large windows and high ceilings, whereas on the 2nd floor, you are litterally under the roof with small windows. The girl at the reception advised to book breakfast in advance as it would then cost 15€ pp only (instead of 19€ pp) and so we did. We arrived at 8 pm at the hotel and were greeted by friendly staff who made us feel welcome. Subsequently we were pleasantly surprised to find out they had upgraded us to a room on the first floor (119) (luxury, I believe). Well that was a nice surprise, at least until we opened the door and were thrown back by a thick tobacco smell. Opening the window was of no help, as it was already open! So down we went again to reception: staff there was absolutely fantastic: there was no argument at all and to compensate for the inconvenience, we were promptly upgraded (so by ow it was a double upgrade), this time to a duplex room on the 2nd floor (206) which is one of their nicest rooms!! Minutes later a complimentary bottle of water arrived plus extra towels (although there were plenty already). In line with the common spaces of the hotel, the rooms are very tastefully decorated and the bathrooms are reasonably spacious, immaculately clean with solid and good looking fittings. 206 does not have a walk-in shower but a bathtub with an in-built shower: no worries here, this shower is heavenly! The towels should soon be replaced by new ones though:frequent washing has turned them into the kind of though cloth you would rather expect in a boys' boarding school indeed. 206 has a comfy downstairs sitting area and an inviting bed upstairs on the mezzanine with a window in the ceiling that can be closed by pulling a thick robe. The beds at the College hotel are very, very comfortable and make you sail off the moment your head touches the big, fluffy pillow. Although very cosy, many rooms are rather somber due to the dark colours of the upholstering and curtains combined with very discreet lighting. Normally we would not like this, but this is A'dam and the interior puts you in the right mood to enjoy the 17th century masters at the nearby Rijksmuseum.
Staff at reception, assisted by the chef who happened to pass by, were also more than helpful with booking a table (it was 8.30 pm by then) at one of the best fish restaurants in A'dam: Vis aan de Schelde; normally you need to book weeks in advance, but miraculously they had a table for us! This dinner was one of the best we had in the past six months! Thank you very much indeed!
As during our first stay, breakfast remains one area they seem to struggle with: it is served in what looks to have been the old "refter" canteen or sports hall, a beautifully restored large hall with lots of wood and trendy furniture, that looksout on to the courtyard that is furnished with stylish rotan garden furniture, has big olive trees and well trimmed buxus bushes. That is to say, you would have this view if staff would think of opening the curtains! One curtain was opened at my request, but the others remained closed, for no apparent reason, which is truely a shame. Breakfast now is a buffet with a good spread of smoked salmon, cheese and cold cuts, scrambled eggs (I do not recommend them), yoghurt, orange juice, croissants. Service is however still very slow and not very efficient: are they putting the absolute beginners here?? It turned out that our pre-booked breakfast had not been registered and brf would cost us 49€ for the two of us. This was however rectified upon check-out: not only did they reduce it to the agreed 30 € but they took the charge off our bill altogether! Needless to say that we were extremely satisfied with our stay at the College hotel and we will definitely return there! This is a college in the litteral sense of the word, but we find that true professionals might learn a lot from these yougsters who really do their utmost best to make your stay a success. Do they make mistakes? Yes they do, but the difference with a traduitional hotel is that at the College, at least, they will make up for it!
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