Your thoughts on upcoming Amsterdam visit, pls?
July 17, 2008 10:18 PM   Subscribe

Where to stay in Amsterdam? Fun times, easy and inexpensive (see inside)

I'm due to take about four days of vacation on my way back home in Amsterdam early in August. I'd like to have 'fun' (red light district to gawk, not to patronize, but everything else is fair game)...but I don't know about the hotel/location/fun.

First, I'm not sure in what part of the city I should aim to stay? I want to be able to be near fun (but not 'frat boy', drink till you puke fun), which leads to...

Second, I need something more secure than a hostel, but not a 4 star hotel (is it best to contact them directly? Or use an online booking site? I'm in the states - and know of Kayak,, etc.) Any advice here? I'm looking for a 2-3 star hotel. Ideas? I'm mostly concerned about my laptop. A hotel with free wifi would be great

Any recommendations of things *not to be missed*. Yes, I know - anne frank, van gogh...but how about a specific shop (coffee or otherwise), or a place where the people are really friendly. I'm willing to pose as a canadian if necessary.) Assume I've read the prior questions on Amsterdam.

related meetup here.
posted by filmgeek to Travel & Transportation around Amsterdam, The Netherlands (10 answers total) 7 users marked this as a favorite
Also , if there are areas to avoid, tourist traps, or just plain 'dumb' mistakes...I'd like to hear those too.
posted by filmgeek at 10:19 PM on July 17, 2008

I can't remember where else I've stayed, but on my last trip to Amsterdam I stayed at the Hotel Linda. It was cheap and shabby, and the stairs are a nightmare, but there's free wireless and I didn't worry about my laptop getting stolen when I left it in the room.

Personally, I think two days in Amsterdam is enough, and the "not to be missed" stuff is in other parts of the Netherlands.
posted by cmonkey at 11:45 PM on July 17, 2008

Check out Houseboats, studios, apartments and houses for rent (for minimum 3 nights) in various price ranges. I think you'll find what you are looking for. My girlfriend and I stayed in a cool and affordable room close to the city center when we visited last month.
posted by chillmost at 12:17 AM on July 18, 2008

My last trip to Amsterdam was some years, so temper my advice with that knowledge. The city can be a huge tourist trap, full of stoned American students falling over each other and overhyped, disappointing sights. However, if you put in some effort to get away from the crowds and the usual spots, it gets a lot better. There was a book I found immensely useful called something like "The Cynics Guide to Amsterdam" (can't find the title in Google, but there were similar guides to Disneyland and New York) that had lots of "don't go there, it's not worth it, go here instead".

Some random observations and memories:

* A famous and typical Amsterdam landmark, the Narrow / Skinny / Magere bridge is renown for being so narrow that it was hard for two pedestrians to pass one another. Less publicized is the fact the original bridge was so popular it was replaced in 1871 by one that could accommodate the traffic and is now distinctly un-narrow. Disappointing.

* The Rijksmuseum is totally worth it. There was also a odd walk-through mall / gallery nearby that had nothing but an array of militia company portraits, apparently a obligatory purchase for any troop of the time. A small but oddly interesting attraction.

* My memory is that the Anne Frank House was underwhelming.

* There's lots of huge and cool flea-markets.

* Although I did not visit, many recommend the Sex Museum as a one-of-a-kind attraction.

* The Begijnhof is a pretty and enclosed park in the heart of Amsterdam that is actually hard to find your way into. It had some of the city's oldest building and contains a nunnery.
posted by outlier at 12:41 AM on July 18, 2008

I always stay in the Leidesplien. Nice area with lots happening. Rookies is a great hotel (very basic but was clean and comfortable) which is right above Rookies Coffee shop (a great little coffee shop that isn't too shabby, more like a bar (though they don't sell alcohol). Very friendly staff and if you don't normally smoke but want to try it out they will be very helpful in making sure you don't lose it! Red light district etc is only a 5 minute walk away as is Vondel Park with the Rijksmuseum.

I found the red light district underwhelming (but I was there for the smoking). Check out the listings for the Paradiso, fantastic venue for live gigs.
posted by twistedonion at 3:30 AM on July 18, 2008

I've stayed in several places in Amsterdam and other places in NL. I was very happy with my stay in a room from Frederic Rent-a-Bike, which I first read about in Rick Steve's guide to Amsterdam. Frederic was very nice: He gave us suggestions (which he marked on a map for us) of nearby attractions and restaurants; and I sprained my ankle while there, and he loaned me crutches which were surprisingly difficult to find.

On his website, the link to the rooms is not on the left, it's all the way at the bottom. Scroll down and then click Rooms. I stayed in the one called "Bathroomsuite", and it was really everything I could have hoped for -- super clean, romantically cozy, in the heart of everything in Amsterdam, and yet not in the Red Light district or surrounded by coffeeshops. He has cheaper and more expensive rooms, but that one is 100 euros/night which is very competitive with the prices of rooms in hotels and yet you don't have the generic hotel feel and you are in a local neighborhood. I cannot recommend it enough.
posted by Houstonian at 4:43 AM on July 18, 2008

Hotel Brouwer Singel canal. Wonderful.
posted by Freedomboy at 8:16 AM on July 18, 2008

Hotel My Home was pretty good. Nice location, on a street with lots of food markets, shops, coffeeshops, etc. Everything is in easy walking distance. Might be about what you're looking for. We booked online with no problem and communicated with the owner via email (in English) to finalize arrangements.
posted by whatnotever at 12:20 PM on July 18, 2008


Very nice chaps. ;) I didn't stay at a B&B but rented a flat with some friends and the lads at the B&B took care of the rental. However, their B&B is nice, the lads are very pleasant & friendly and I'd stay at their B&B next time I'm in AMS.

The place is very close to the city center (and Centraal Station) in a relatively residential neighbourhood. Around the corner is a nice street to go shopping on, not too many tourists, coffee shops, pubs, cafes, restaurants are all close-by. Alternatively, ask if they've any apartments available and see how much they cost.

However, the friggin' exchange rate of the pesedollar vs the Euro makes everything so expensive! :(
posted by zaphod at 12:59 PM on July 18, 2008

Hotel Brouwer Singel canal. Wonderful.

Seconded. I stayed there a few months back, and I highly recommend it.
posted by dhammond at 2:51 PM on July 18, 2008

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