In my mission to share with the world just what a family-friendly city Amsterdam is, there is one piece of advice that has often stumped me – “can you recommend some family-friendly accommodation?”
Whilst I have been lucky enough to spend the odd night in a hotel in Amsterdam, the chances of me being an expert, with direct experience of large numbers of hotels and apartments for rent is a bit of a stretch.
So, in order to try to do something about the gap in my knowledge, I’ve made it my mission to reach out to as many places as I can and ask them what they can offer for families.
And here’s what I’ve discovered. Whilst (as with everything) you kind of get what you pay for, there really are some fantastic options in just about every price bracket.
So, here goes. My attempt at a definitive and comprehensive list of family friendly places to stay.
From here, its over to you – if you’ve stayed in one of these places and the ‘family-friendly’ staff just aren’t that friendly or if I’ve missed somewhere utterly brilliant and kid-friendly, please please please let me know. I’d love to keep this up to date and full of valuable information that helps us all…
If you have the budget, it’s hard to think of anywhere more wonderful to stay than The Pulitzer. A luxury hotel set within 25 interlinked 17th and 18th Century canal houses in one of the best locations in the city. Although it has 225 rooms, the hotel feels intimate and has beautiful gardens and a wonderful restaurant.
When it comes to families, The Pulitzer has got it nailed. Rooms options include the family suite – a spacious and beautiful split-level suite with canal views, featuring two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a dining area and a lounge, suitable for a (very lucky!) family of four. There are also three family rooms (also split level and able to accommodate four) and eight further interconnected rooms. Cots are available as well as baby baths, baby monitors and bottle heaters and there is a nanny service available on request. The hotel also hands out complimentary children’s amenities on arrival based on age group including natural skincare products for babies and personalised surprises and age-appropriate activity books for children. For those travelling with teenagers, rooms are equipped with Pulitzer Amsterdam travel diaries to allow them to record what will unquestionably be an amazing trip. As if this wasn’t enough, the astonishing Pulitzer gardens are a wonderful place to let off steam. One in particular has a playground feel with hanging chairs and hand carved wooden rocking horses. Food-wise, the good times continue to roll. The stunning Jansz Restaurant has a kids’ menu at both lunch and dinner serving fish and chips, burgers, spaghetti and grilled chicken and no shortage of child-friendly dessert treats. The restaurant gives colouring pages to keep restless little ones occupied, which can be handed in and exchanged for a gift from “Mr Jansz’s Treasure Box”. Once a month they go even further with Jansz Family Sundays from 4.30 – 6.30. This early dinner dedicated to kids allows little ones to head to the Copper Rooms after (or instead of!) eating, for films, balloons colouring pages and toys. It’s hard to think of anything they haven’t thought of at The Pulitzer. It’s an incredible hotel whatever your age.
Located on the stunning Prinsengracht – one of the city’s most beautiful canals and close to most of the city’s biggest attractions, this “Alice in Wonderland” inspired hotel offers design lux to the discerning.
Suites and larger garden-view rooms can accommodate up to three people. Interconnecting rooms are available if requested in advance. Babysitting is offered through a partner service on request and the restaurant offers kid-sized portions from the dinner menu. Families with a furry friend are welcome to take advantage of their Very Important Dog programme (!) and special activities take place at Easter and Christmas allowing grown-ups to enjoy a leisurely brunch whilst the little ones play games.
Based in a 19th Century bank with the Van Gogh and Rijksmuseums on one side and the chicest designer shops on the other, this is an upmarket place to bring the little ones. Its glass lobby is the centrepiece of what is undoubtedly one of the city’s most stylish places to rest your head.
The Residence Suite and Conservatorium Suite can be set up with an extra bed and a sofa bed to allow up to two children to stay. The Royal Duplex Suite is large enough for four adults. Connecting rooms are also available. There are two sizes of wooden cribs on offer and in their words: “a special baby blanket containing corn to produce a textile fibre that is soft to the touch, renewable, environmentally friendly, biodegradable, has a brushed finish and is completely hypo-allergenic” (see comment earlier re: ‘you get what you pay for’!) A personal Host is assigned to each and every guest who can arrange professional nannies as well as making arrangements in the city for family-friendly activities. The Vondelpark is close by, there is bicycle rental on offer and the restaurant has a kids’ menu.
The Dylan is one of Amsterdam’s seriously luxurious hotels although it retains an intimate, boutique feel with only 40 rooms spread across two historic canal-side properties in one of the best spots in town right in the midst of the “9 Streets”. The restaurant Vinkeles ranks as one of the finest in the city and the courtyard garden and lounges are amongst the most beautiful around.
If you can splash the cash, the Dylan has got an awful lot to offer well-heeled mini-travellers. With a range of connecting rooms available in all price categories as well as cots and babysitting services, a bakfiets for hire and even a Wii with a variety of games which can be installed in the room, little jet-setters are exceptionally well served. As if that wasn’t enough, the hotel offers a kids package that includes: Very Important Kids (VIK) check in; two interconnecting double rooms; a Dylan cuddly toy; a colouring book; milk, cookie and popcorn turndown; buffet breakfast including kids pancakes; tickets to the amazing NEMO science museum a 3 course dinner in Brasserie OCCO including a VIK dessert plate for the kids; in-room usage of the Nintendo Wii and VIK check-out (phew) – all for the bargain price of….just 1095 euros a night. You have been warned.
Somewhere between a boutique and a luxury hotel is the uniquely wonderful College Hotel. This is one place we HAVE stayed before and it’s a huge favourite. Housed in a beautiful 19th Century former boys’ school it is staffed by students of hotel management and is an enormously cosy, atmospheric place to stay in the Museum District.
Deluxe rooms and Junior Suites are big enough to accommodate an extra bed for families of 3. Those looking to sleep four could consider their connecting rooms. Cots are available as is a babysitting service. There’s an Italian restaurant on site and a sumptuous lounge where little ones will be well looked after.
The two Max Brown hotels in Amsterdam are high on my list for a future stay. With one based in the heart of the Canal District and the other in Museum Square, they combine gorgeous historic townhouses with a contemporary but cosy vibe.
Both offer extra large loft rooms that can sleep 4, and there’s an additional 3 person sleeper in the Museum Square branch. The Dutch buffet breakfast is packed with child-friendly crowd-pleasers and sweets and treats are available to buy at the bar throughout the day.
Hotel Dwars is a stylish, central and small hotel (think precipitous, narrow Amsterdam house with enormously steep stairs) in a great location right by the bustling boutiquey Utrechtstraat. I was so delighted to discover it – I’m planning on checking it out next time I’m in town. With no unnecessary extras (no reception desk and no breakfast, although its very close to our favourite – Bar Moustache) the rooms are stylish with exposed brick, beams and crisp white bed linen and the place has a contemporary and comfortable feel. With tremendously positive reviews on TripAdvisor, this sounds like a hidden gem.
Very unusually for such a small hotel, they offer a number of triple and quad rooms and have cots available for free. Babysitting can be arranged and there are free mini stroopwafels on offer in every room. Stairs aside, this could be the perfect affordable, central bolthole.
Another hotel in the fabulous “Nine Little Streets” the Esthrea is quirky, plush full of colour, carpets, crystal chandeliers, mahogany panelling, wallpaper, luxe fabrics, flowers, plants, fish… (!) You get the idea. This is not a minimalist environment. That said, the over-the-top zany aesthetic and eccentricity is authentic, family-run and hugely welcoming.
Family rooms for 4 are available as well as interconnecting deluxe rooms. Cots and babysitting are available. Children receive a small gift on arrival, hot chocolate and doughnuts in the room and there’s even a play corner in the hotel. The Estherea gets consistently high reviews with families (and indeed those who are child-free). Definitely one to consider.
The Hoxton established itself as a hipsters paradise as soon as it hit town a few years ago. Despite bringing a dose of Shoreditch to the canals, it’s managed to pull it off with a certain charm and manages to attract families as well as advertising types. With a great location, industrial chic design and a vibrant open lounge it attracts Amsterdam families as well as out of towners.
Cosy rooms can be connected to ShoeBox rooms to accommodate a family of 4. Cots are available and the restaurant (run by Soho House) offers kid-friendly faves like mac n’ cheese and fries. The lounge area is often populated by little ones running around between mac-toting yummy mums and their hip other halves.
Amsterdam’s two “Sir” hotels are part of a small boutique hotel group that have now spawned branches in Berlin, Hamburg and Ibiza. The conceit is that you are living the “modern aristocratic” lifestyle of the eponymous (fictional) patrons. The Sir Albert is based in a former diamond factory whilst the Sir Adam is based on the North side of the river Ij in the city’s only skyscraper. Renamed the A’dam Toren (or tower) the building has been reinvented over the last few years as a hub for the city’s digital and music scene and includes that all-time favourite – a disco lift, complete with mirrorball, coloured light tiles and moodworthy music.
Aside from the disco lift, the Sir Adam has interconnecting rooms, cots for under 2’s and the city’s favourite burger joint – The Butcher, a huge hit with slightly older kids. The Sir Albert offers the Sir Albert Residence – a two-room combo of a Sir Boutique and a Sir Suite. Cots are available here and kids under 12 can enjoy breakfast for just €10.50. The hotels tend to attract quite a scene and downplay their family-friendly credentials, but for older kids or teenagers (or flexible little ones) it’s a cool bet.
Imagine a hotel where no two rooms are the same. Where you can sleep in a tram, a Spanish Villa or behind a secret bookcase. A place where a room is a work of art, with its own unique story and identity. A place with an all day bar called Kevin Bacon, serving Thai streetfood. The place you’re describing is appropriately named Hotel Not Hotel. At times more hostel than hotel, it’s cheap, but do bear in mind the 23 rooms are often tiny, and windowless. That said it’s all part of the adventure of staying in an artwork out in the hip West of the city near the wonderful De Hallen complex with its endlessly buzzing Foodhallen.
There are two 4-person rooms each with a double and two twin beds. You’re right by Foodhallen with its huge range of family friendly food offerings. And the hotel has a room like a tram. Kids basically love it here and the helpful staff go out of their way to please.
The Hotel V group now has three hotels in Amsterdam all of which are stylish, contemporary and cool. The two newer hotels are located slightly off the beaten tourist track: Hotel V Fizeaustraat is based in the hip East of the city whilst Hotel V Frederiksplein just scrapes the outer edges of the canal ring close to the ever-cool area of The Pijp. If you want super-central, head to the original Hotel V on Nesplein – on the edge of the red-light district in a small alley in the theatre district. The restaurant The Lobby is a firm favourite with hipsters and the hotels are usually frequented by Dutch celebs and media types.
Hotel V Frederksplein offers V lofts – studio apartments with their own private entrance, kitchenette and sofa bed that can sleep two. Cots are available free of charge but there’s no lift at the hotel so as with many Amsterdam residences, be prepared to take the stairs. Hotel V Fizeaustraat has a pair of interconnecting rooms, free cots available and The Lobby restaurant will make child-sized portions of food with any necessary alterations (the flammkucken are a firm favourite!). For breakfast expect pancakes and French toast. There’s lots of green space around Fizeaustraat and free movies on demand in the rooms. Hotel V Nesplein has interconnecting rooms in either the superior or suite category. Cots are available and again, The Lobby restaurant is happy to adapt for picky palates.
Owned by the Accor hotel group who also have the upmarket Sofitel in town, the Ink is a more quirky offering based in the former offices of De Tijd (The Times) newspaper and designed with appropriately “inky” features and references. It’s very central location means that the rooms can sometimes be on the small side but it consistently achieves glowing 5 star reviews on TripAdvisor.
Interconnecting rooms are available for 2 adults and 2 kids, or Executive rooms offer enough space to accommodate one additional bed. Cots and high chairs are available.
The Conscious hotel group currently has three hotels in Amsterdam – Conscious Hotel Vondelpark, Conscious Hotel Museum Square and The Tire Station with a fourth hotel opening soon at the wonderful Westergasfabriek. As the name suggests their ethos is to be as green, sustainable and eco-friendly as possible but they are at pains to point out that they are “more hip than hippy”. And I can vouch for that – The cafe at The Tire Station branch is called Sticky Fingers and is one of the hottest (and pinkest!) spots in the city right now.
The Tire Station has 16 triple rooms, Conscious Vondelpark has one triple room (although they offer interconnecting rooms) and Conscious Museum Square has 7 triples and a quadruple. There’s a children’s menu on offer at MOER, the restaurant next to the Tire Station, Conscious Vondelpark has games in the lobby, and all locations are next to the amazing Vondelpark – Amsterdam’s most child-friendly place to let off steam.
It is impossible to categorise the Lloyd which could equally be listed in the Boutique or Affordable category. Formerly a hostel, then a prison and now a hotel with rooms available at all grades, styles and prices. Based out on the Eastern Islands (only 10 minutes by tram to Central Station) it features designs from over 50 Dutch designers and is popular with artists and performers. Rooms are rated from one to five star based mostly on size (don’t expect the full luxury of 5 star accommodation but for cheaper rooms the facilities are excellent)
The Lloyd offers rooms of all sizes, a number of which are large enough to accommodate a family of four. For families who like to snuggle up together, there are two rooms containing beds that sleeps 7! Interconnecting rooms are also available at 5* and 3* grades as well as a 2* room connecting to a 4*. It’s that kind of place. Free cots for babies are offered as are extra beds for kids. They can help find local babysitters and are happy to adapt anything on the menu for little ones. The “elaborate” breakfast buffet comes cheap at only 7.50 for under 12’s and “is dangerously delicious including chocolate-glazed croissants”. The restaurant lounge features kid-sized rocking chairs designed by Ineke Hans, as well as toys and books and designer high chairs. On “platform 2” there is a children’s corner designed by Erik Slothouder with a library of international picture books, toys and games. Hotel guests are invited to borrow books including kids books from the library, and there are mini book-shelves on wheels if you want to roll the library to your room. The terrace is also a great spot for kids to hang out. The Lloyd is nothing if not unique.
There are a staggering 12 NH Hotels now in and around Amsterdam and this Spanish owned hotel chain is a reliable bet for good quality and relatively affordable accommodation (some branches push towards the upper end of “mid-range” in peak season).
The City Centre branch is right at the heart of the canal belt, close to all the city’s major attractions and offers family rooms for 3 or 4 people as well as interconnecting options amongst the 213 available rooms. Cots are available, as well as a Kids Corner offering a kids’ breakfast, where they are even able to sit at small tables.
The Linden is a sweet hotel in the excellently located Jordaan area. Rooms are very small but the hotel gets excellent reviews for its service and attention to detail and despite a rather unlovely carpet, they’ve done well to give it a boutique feel. Their website is beautifully designed and shows some lovely montages but do explore individual room pictures in detail for a better sense of what to expect.
There’s a triple room and a family room with four single beds. As it is located in a traditional, incredibly narrow and steep canal house, do check which level you are on if stairs are an issue.
The Vondel Hotel group covers a handful of properties in the city. The 4 star hotels are unique, diverse and quirky with no two rooms the same. Currently including Hotel Vondel, Roemer, JL76 and De Hallen as well as a selection of B&B’s and apartments, they are set to open two new hotels (de Jonker and Overtoomse Houthandel in the next 12-18 months.
Hotel Roemer and JL76 both offer a 4 person room with a double bed and a bunk bed. Hotel Vondel has a single room and a triple room which are interconnecting, allowing for 4 people to stay as well as other interconnecting options. All hotels have cots and offer babysitting on request.
Another hotel in a former newspaper office – this time De Volkskrant newspaper – the Volkshotel is a good affordable option. It’s not located in the most beautiful part of town by any means, but it’s a safe if busy street right by a tram stop and near the large Amstel station, just one block from the Amstel River and only a ten minute walk to the hip and buzzing De Pijp area. Style wise think lots of references to its former purpose, modern, bustling and…. joy of joys – with a lift!
Ms Big rooms fit 4 (a double and two singles) and Mrs Massive rooms have 2 doubles (the second bed area can be closed off for privacy). Cots are available and the hotel has games including table tennis, ‘sjoelen’, darts and lots of board games. It’s also worth noting that the lobby is very accessible for prams and buggies – not a given in most of Amsterdam’s more central hotels.
If you’re happy with the reliability of a 4* chain, and don’t mind staying slightly out of the City Centre, Accor Hotels’ Mercure and Novotel could be good options. Both the Novotel and Mercure “City” branches are to the South of centre, close to the Convention Centre and a 10 to 15 minute tram ride to the city. There are also further branches of both at Schipol Airport.
The city hotels both offer interconnecting rooms with family rooms also available at the Mercure. Out at Schipol, there are large numbers of family rooms available and the Novotel can also offer spacious family suites. All hotels offer cots and the Novotel City has a dedicated kids’ menu including pasta and chicken as well as as a kids’ play room. Out at Schipol Airport, the Novotel offers a play area with an Xbox, table football and games including chess and backgammon.
If you’re looking for an affordable but contemporary place to stay, you could do a lot worse than the delightfully named “Neighbour’s Magnolia” hotel. Located in a couple of townhouses in the smart Old South part of town, right by the amazing Vondelpark and a 10 minute walk from the Museum District, this small, family-run hotel offers, simple, clean and affordable accommodation that gets lots of TripAdvisor praise.
There’s a family room that can take up to 4 beds as well as 2 cots available on request. Babysitting can be arranged via a third party company and the incredible Vondelpark is on your doorstep with its world-class playgrounds and cafes. For grownups, you’re just a stone’s throw from the glamorous Cornelis Schuytstraat, with stylish but family-friendly café’s and restaurants.
This affordable three star hotel is in a lovely location right on the Amstel River within easy reach of many of the sights and a short tram ride away from everything else. There’s no lift but the 53 rooms are generally reviewed as being clean and comfortable.
The “studio” has 4 single beds and a small balcony. There’s a cosy living area as well as a small fridge and tea/coffee making facilities. The “apartment” has one double bed and a separate room with two singles. It has a fully equipped kitchen and living area and has a beautiful view of the Amstel. BUT – do bear in mind – both the studio and apartment are on the fourth floor with no lift – this is not buggy-friendly accommodation! The hotel offers a buffet breakfast with a range of healthy offerings and there is a microwave to warm milk for little ones.
Chain hotels can offer cleanliness and reliability at an affordable price, and Ibis is a great option for traveling families. There are a whole range of Ibis options in Amsterdam but for families, the two Ibis 3* ‘Styles’ hotels right in the city (Ibis Styles Amsterdam City and Ibis Styles Amsterdam Amstel) and two 2* Ibis ‘Budget’ hotels further out (Ibis Budget Amsterdam Airport and Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South) offer excellent family solutions for those looking for reasonably priced accommodation.
All the hotels offer family and interconnecting rooms as well as cots. The Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South hotel also offers a games rooms for kids.
As a family, we often prefer to stay in apartments rather than hotels, giving our kids more space to hang out and explore. AirBnB have hundreds of Amsterdam properties available many of which are suitable for families (although do bear in mind Amsterdam accommodation is usually based in very narrow houses with exceptionally steep stairs).
If you’re looking for the convenience of an apartment, but with the added benefit of cleaning and a 24 hour concierge desk, why not consider the fabulous boutique serviced apartments offered by Yays. The apartments range from studios to one and two bedrooms and sleep up to 6. Cots are available and all apartments offer a full kitchen including dishwasher oven, microwave, washing machine and all kitchen equipment. There are three Yays landmark apartment buildings – one in the East and two in the West, but Amsterdam is small, so none are far from the city centre. Yays are deeply committed to the (fabulous and vibrant) neighbourhoods in which they are based, and they offer guests a neighbourhood guide on arrival – highlighting the hidden local gems well away from the touristy lowlights. So if you want to experience life as a local, avoid the chaos of a breakfast buffet with young kids (been there, done that) and allow little ones some space to hang out or have an afternoon nap without having to sit in a poky hotel bedroom whilst they do so, Yays could just be the perfect solution for the ultimate Amsterdam family stay (click on the title link for a full review of our own “Yaycation”)
Another great aparthotel is Hotel TWENTY EIGHT in the South of the City by the Olympic Stadium. All apartments are available for short or extended stays and have a fully equipped kitchen and lovely living rooms. Although listed as a 4 star residence, the price can be on the high side but the quality looks outstanding and the TripAdvisor reviews are exceptional. With a tram stop right outside heading directly into town and a direct route on the Airport Express to Schipol as well as a gym, sauna, parking spaces (rare in Amsterdam), a nearby supermarket, overwhelmingly great staff and apparently a building that smells of flowers (!) I’m sold!
If you really want to live like a local but would prefer a curated list to trawling through endless AirBnB listings, it’s hard to improve on the extraordinary offering from Kid and Coe. With 61 Amsterdam properties on their books often owned by creative hosts (architects, designers and PR professionals) the homes are all astonishingly stylish whilst of course being completely family friendly. Prices range from €95-€770 per night and 6 of the properties are part of the Kid and Coe exchange programme, allowing families to swap their home on the site for a small annual fee. Most offer a 2 night minimum stay although they find that in general most bookings are for 5-10 nights with families preferring to stay longer and get to know a destination from one base. With a website that looks more someone’s “dream home” list on Pinterest – you’ll find living rooms with swings, playrooms and expansive gardens. Your only challenge will be getting the kids out the house and into the city each morning as they’re unlikely ever to want to leave.
Last, but most certainly not least, why not immerse yourself into city life with the ultimate Amsterdam experience by staying on a houseboat. These are usually much more “house” than “boat” – we’re talking full floating apartments with under-floor heating, baths and luxury amenities. Not only does it offer a unique and captivating experience, you can often end up with far more space than a hotel room and with views that not even the most luxurious 5 star can compete with.
Think a water-based stay isn’t family friendly? Think again. Bookahouseboat’s Amsterdam Houseboat Rentals offer lots of hugely family-friendly houseboats including one formerly occupied by the company owners who adapted the place to be entirely safe for their toddler. The large sliding window in the living room has a “harmonica fence”, making it completely safe for inquisitive little ones whilst adults still get to enjoy the canal breeze. The second bedroom can accommodate two single beds or a baby bed and a cot, which can also be moved into the master bedroom to accommodate 4 adults and a baby. There are highchairs and toys and the boat is based in the hip Oud West, a great area, close to a couple of playgrounds as well as being a very short tram ride or walk into town. With under-floor heating, two sinks, a full sized bath, a large “disco rainshower” and heaps of space, its not surprising it has received only 5 star reviews with titles like “just WOW!” from numerous happy visitors. To read our full review click here.
So there you go. The longest list available of family-friendly places to stay in Amsterdam. If you can recommend anywhere else, do let us know and let’s prove the cynics wrong – there’s simply no doubt about it, Amsterdam is one of the most child-friendly cities on the planet.