I published a post a little while back, packed with details of family-friendly accommodation in Amsterdam. However I realised that more often than not I was forwarding it to people who were traveling without kids and advising them to ‘ignore the family friendly part’.
So, I’ve now done a new version – taking out the ‘family friendly’ aspects, whilst retaining much of the core content, and adding a few extra places that aren’t really suitable for kids.
There are ideas below at all price levels. Remember, Amsterdam is SMALL, so you don’t need to be based in the canal ring to be within walking distance of the city’s delights.
Hope it helps you find somewhere surprisingly perfect or perfectly surprising for your Amsterdam break …
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.
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 I was blowing the budget I’d definitely opt for a night here.
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.
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. Its glass lobby is the centrepiece of what is undoubtedly one of the city’s most stylish places to rest your head.
Now we’re talking, The Pillows Hotel is right at the top of my list for a future stay. This gorgeous bolthole which gets a glowing listing on Mr and Mrs Smith boasts a pastel palette and duvets that look like marshmallows. Based just on the side of the Vondelpark, it’s hard to think of a more lovely spot for a weekend getaway a deux. A second Amsterdam branch will be opening in the East of the city next year.
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.
Located in one of the loveliest bits of the city, in the heart of the Jordaan right on the Keizersgracht canal, three seventeenth century merchants’ houses have been converted into a glorious bolthole. With just 23 rooms and a stunning private garden, expect moody opulence in shades of purple, copper and black. With rooms playfully named Good, Better, Great, Exceptional, Outstanding and Best you can’t go wrong. Sister hotel to Cowley Manor in the Cotswolds and L’Hôtel in Paris this is a grown up and luxurious place to hang out.
The two Max Brown hotels in Amsterdam tick loads of style boxes for me and I’m hoping to check them out soon. 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.
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.
Based 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.
It’s arrived. After years of buildup Amsterdam has its very own House. And you don’t need to be a member to book a room. Based in a large and imposing modernist building, the interior has been designed to stay true to its design roots and if the entrance area feels a little austere, the bedrooms, lounge area and rooftop pool (to say nothing of the cinema and gym) bring a dose of warmth.
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 those on holiday as well as members of the creative industries who find themselves in the city for work. With a great location, industrial chic design and a vibrant open lounge it’s a great option to consider.
Based in a renovated historic building on the edge of the wonderful Jordaan area you’ll find this glorious boutique hotel and restaurant. I haven’t stayed but I’ve sent others there who’ve loved the vibe.
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s hard to categorise Amsterdam’s amazing bridge houses which could sit equally well in the boutique or affordable category. These tiny but gorgeous former bridge-keepers’ houses have been turned into unique little suites based at some of the most glorious watery spots around the city. Take a read of our post to find out more.
The Conscious hotel group currently has four hotels in Amsterdam each with their own distinct personality – Conscious Hotel Vondelpark, Conscious Hotel Museum Square, The Tire Station and the recently opened property in one of our favourite places – the glorious Westerpark. 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. Read more about our wonderful stay in the Westerpark here.
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)
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 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.
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.
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, 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!
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.
Citizen M is a brilliant concept based around what we are surely all looking for – affordable luxury. They have two hotels in Amsterdam although I would strongly recommend staying in the City branch rather than out by Schipol Airport. If you’re planning on spending time in your hotel room then this isn’t for you (the bed pretty much fills the room wall to wall) but if you want a mega-comfortable and extra large bed, gorgeous bed linen and hip communal space in a well-connected location, then its definitely worth considering. In fact they describe it better than I can:
We realise that when you’re at home, you mostly use the bedroom for sleeping in and hang out in the living room and kitchen instead. So, unlike other boutique hotels in Amsterdam, we cunningly designed our rooms around sleeping, our lobby to feel like a living room and our canteen to be all homely and, er, kitcheny.
Absolutely no trouser presses, bellboys, towel swans, or pillow chocolates.
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.
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.
Chain hotels can offer cleanliness and reliability at an affordable price, and Ibis is a great option if you’re on a budget. There are a whole range of Ibis options in Amsterdam but the two Ibis 3* ‘Styles’ hotels right in the city (Ibis Styles Amsterdam City and Ibis Styles Amsterdam Amstel) and the two 2* Ibis ‘Budget’ hotels further out (Ibis Budget Amsterdam Airport and Ibis Budget Amsterdam City South) could be a great bet for those looking for reasonably priced accommodation in decent areas either in, or not too far from town.
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. 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 Yays could just be the perfect solution for the ultimate Amsterdam 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. 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!
There are of course hundreds of AirBnB properties available in Amsterdam despite the city cracking down on property owners renting out their apartments. I’m afraid there’s simply no way for me to curate all the options however there are a couple of BnB’s that are run more like hotels that I definitely like the look of:
One of the nicest little restaurants in Amsterdam, Buffet van Odette, has recently opened a couple of rooms in one of the lovliest spots in the city. And the rooms (one with canal views) designed by some of Amsterdam’s best stylists, look dreamy. Rolling out of bed and into the restaurant for their infamous truffle cheese omelette would be the perfect start to a romantic weekend.
Another wonderful-looking, newly-opened set of rooms is available at a unique farmhouse in the East of the city called Vergulden Eenhorn or Gilded Unicorn (yes, wow). This gorgeous spot in a building that dates back to 1702, offers the best of the Dutch countryside in the heart of the city and has been turned into a lovely restaurant and cafe serving seasonal food and a brand new set of rooms. The farmhouse is popular with locals for events and weddings which is not surprising as its a stunning spot. Farrow and Ball eat your heart out.
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.
To read a full review of our recent stay, click here.
(read on before you rule this option out)
Amsterdam obviously has a huge hostel culture, but don’t assume these are limited to partying youngsters. The quality has improved so much you’ll find the city version of ‘glampers’ hanging out here who know that you can still get decent accommodation for a fraction of the price of the city’s hotels.
Forget the hostels of your youth, The Generator Hostel has completely reinvented this title for the modern age. Winner of the Hospitality Design Best Economy Hotel Award, this fabulous former zoological university building now accommodates 564 guests in 168 rooms with en suite bathrooms and amazing views of the Oosterpark. Whilst the fabulous social areas are often filled with younger travellers, the hotel might still appeal with glass fronted lifts, a raised cafe, outdoor terrace and a redesigned lecture hall which is now a lounge and bar. This could be considerably cheaper than staying a hotel for loads more space and significantly more wow factor.
One of the quirkiest places to stay in Amsterdam could be right in the heart of the fabulous Amsterdamse Bos or Forest. Offering chalets, eco lodges, a hostel and camping you get the best of both worlds – surrounded by trees and lakes but not far from the centre of Amsterdam and packed with impressive facilities (including free wifi and, should you want it, rooms with private bathrooms, kitchen, TV and central heating). There are bikes for hire and cycle lanes into the city and its located right by a bus stop or take a short walk to the metro. Also on site you’ll find a shop, laundrette and communal kitchens.
So that’s it. Surely you’ve found SOMETHING that appeals.
We hope you enjoy your stay!
(For more information about Amsterdam’s districts – both within and beyond the centre, check out this post.)