I apologize for asking questions which I am sure have been answered. I have spent an hour trying to locate up-to-date information. So, I am being a little lazy. We have two long lay-overs in AMS. On one lay-over we arrive at 6am and leave at 8pm. I am hoping we can store our carry-on luggage and use public transportation to go into town.
1. First Question: What type of visa do we need in order to leave the airport? Where do we get this visa? What is the cost?
On our second lay-over we arrive at 7:30pm and depart at 10:50am. I would like to stay in the most convenient hotel possible. TA indicates that the Mercure Schipol Hotel is located right in the airport, thus eliminating the need to catch a shuttle.
2. Second Question: The reviews of this hotel are unclear. Is the hotel located airside or do we have to exit through immigration and customs to reach the hotel? I am hoping that I can just leave my arriving plane, go directly to the hotel and then just wake up and go to the departure gate for our flight to the US. Does the forum have any recommendations for this hotel? Would we be happier taking a shuttle to an off-airport hotel?
We spent a bit of time in Schiphol last year, but had problems that diminished our ability to appreciate the airport. On our first layover we had to resolve a luggage issue. On our second layover we had a dreadful problem with wheelchair transportation for my husband. After those events I swore I would not go through this airport again. However, time dims the frustration, and this connection is $300 cheaper than the non-stop flight. My only other choice is a lay-over at CDG, which I find even more difficult than AMS.
I continue to read great things about this airport so I would like to give it another chance. I realize that problems are inherent in traveling.