We spent a wonderful week cruising the Rhine from Basel to Amsterdam with Viking cruises and decided to tack on a couple of days in Amsterdam to finish off. There was a large conference in the city the days we wanted to stay and so there wasn't a lot of choice of hotels and, though the Owl is one of Kirker travel's portfolio, it wasn't up to the standard we normally expect from them.
First the pluses: it's well situated - about half an hour's walk to the station through the middle of the city; it's clean and the bed and shower were good; the staff were wonderful. So what's not to like? Well, the whole place was in need of a facelift. If I say the decor was orange and teak in the bedroom, including the bedcover, perhaps you will get the idea! The towels were threadbare to the point of fraying - in my house most of them would have been demoted to cleaning cloths and I'm not quick to throw mine out! There is free wifi, which is good, but it was slow and unreliable.The lift was scratched and battered, the carpets in public areas were in serious need of cleaning and preferably replacing and there was a general feeling of 1970s Sindy.
Added to that, the breakfast, we felt, was mediocre to say the least, not in terms of quantity or variety, but in terms of quality: everything seemed to come out of a packet or a bottle. The bread was SLICED ( why on earth a continental capital city hotel didn't provide freshly baked bread when every corner has a bakery on it utterly defeats us) and worst of all, the coffee, which came out of a machine, was undrinkable. When we arrived, we were given some superb coffee to welcome us, so we were at a loss to explain why the hotel didn't provide the same for breakfast?
If you are looking for a comfortable, reasonably priced hotel not far from the centre of Amsterdam the Owl will suit you, we have no hesitation in saying this. But don't look there for an up to date, well- maintained property that provides you with a yummy breakfast to start your day's sightseeing. A pity - just a relatively small amount of money spent in the Owl could make such a difference to the effect it creates - and they could then easily charge a little more to cover the cost.
Ps there wasn't a fitness centre, but I tapped it accidentally and couldn't erase it!!
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