I have to admit that I had a bad first impression of Hotel Asterisk. I arrived after the regular day staff were gone, and the night receptionist was a little creepy... as a single woman traveling alone, it's not so pleasant to arrive at 11 p.m. and have the hotel staff leering and being creepily ingratiating with you.
The day staff were friendly and helpful -- when I complained about a very strong musty smell in the room, they were polite and while I was out during the day did something that seemed to help a little.
I was also not impressed with the fact that they demanded full payment for all nights of my planned stay up front, especially since they request cash payment and have a 4% credit card surcharge. Call me cynical, but this seemed a little shady and possibly not legal, so I just refused. I didn't have enough cash with me, anyway. He insisted that "everyone does it" and "well, it's sort of the rule here," but I said no, and it turned out not to be a problem -- he gave me a key anyway and I paid cash when I checked out.
The hotel is scattered over a few buildings on the block. My room, a single, was in house #25. I really have no idea what rooms were like in the other buildings.
The room smelled musty and old, and had old shag carpeting that was worn and dirty. Even by European standards, it was very small -- no place but a little chair to put luggage (no room even on the floor), and only a teeny triangle of surface to put anything else on. The towels were of varied colors and full of holes... but then again, when I arrived, there was a person at the front desk saying her room had no towels, so perhaps I shouldn't complain.
My room was with a shared toilet and bath, which I had expected. Unfortunately, they were not on the same floor as my room, so this would be a major problem for anyone with mobility issues, particularly given the steep, shallow steps of Amsterdam staircases. It also proved to be annoying when I found myself in need of a tissue, and had to go downstairs just to get some toilet paper to blow my nose.
With respect to sharing the toilet and shower, I worried at first that there might be issues, since the toilet and shower were together, but I never had to wait nor even saw any other guests there, so that was fine.
There were definitely noise issues with the other people staying on the same floor, but there are only four rooms, so I guess unless you're unlucky and get some really noisy people, it's only a minor annoyance. I faced the street, but it's a quiet block. I didn't really like, however, that the windows could only be closed or fully open -- both for noise and security reasons.
Also -- I don't know if I was on a different tram than other reviewers, but their directions say to go opposite the direction of traffic around the traffic circle where the tram stop is, and where the tram stopped for me, that was wrong... I wandered around the intersection with all my luggage for several minutes before noticing a sign for some of the hotels (including Asterisk and Kap, which is across the street).
That all sounds very negative, I suppose, but based on my searches, it was cheaper than other things with similar locations. Speaking of which, the location is really quite convenient -- close to the tram, but aside from going to and from the station, I always walked, and it was a pleasant and not-too-long walk from everywhere I went. There were cafes and bars close to the hotel, too.
Breakfast was just okay. Low-quality breads, cereal, some ham and cheese, butter and preserves, and cereals -- pretty typical, I guess. There were sometimes boiled eggs as well.
There were several things I didn't like about Hotel Asterisk, but I was looking for something well located and cheap, and I got it. For all it's drawbacks, it was passable, especially once I got over the first night. After the room smelled better and I was settled in, I was comfortable, and happy not to be spending much more money just to be a few blocks closer to the center.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Warm welcoming hotel, frienly and helpfull reception, located in a quiet street in the center of Amsterdam. Rooms for all budgets, small and large rooms, with and without private facilities. Close to the booming "Pijp" area. At walking distance to nightlife and museumarea. Free Wifi, good buffet breakfast. Main building has an elevator. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Asterisk Hotel Amsterdam