Newest Review: ... them to be very reasonable compared to other places I'd already tried. It cost us about £90 for 1 room for the 2 nights. The current pr... more
Floating Palace of Pleasure....for some people.
Amstel Botel Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Member Name: sylvisinc
Amstel Botel Amsterdam (Netherlands)
Advantages: Close to the centre, on the canal, friendly, clean
Disadvantages: Not posh, don't let the kids near the TV
We booked the Botel on-line because we’d used it before and had liked it. It was very easy to book. I just searched using Copernic, which brought up the Botel site and I E-mailed them with our requirements. They replied within 24 hours to say our requested dates were free. They offered a double room with land view for 84 euros or 89 euros (about £65) with canal view. We went for the canal view as our last visit had been land view and the only sight to be seen out of the window was the massive concrete Post Office building. For an extra 9 euros we could have breakfast, so we asked for this, remembering the wonderful breakfasts we had years ago.
When we arrived in Amsterdam, a city we have visited twice before and loved (but not for what you think…bad people!!) we were a bit disconcerted to find that Central Station, the place where you inevitably arrive and depart had changed beyond all recognition. We could not get our bearings as we failed to recognise the view from the doorway and spent several minutes lugging a too-heavy suitcase from doorway to doorway before we emerged into the bustle of an Amsterdam tram depot.
There are now extensive building works in progress in Amsterdam, which took us by surprise. There is a new coach station outside Central Station, as well as the tram station, which has changed the vista considerably. There are fences and machinery, some of it colossal, along the pavements and roads outside of the old impressive façade of Central Station itself. It seems that there is a five-year plan in progress to completely renovate the centre of Amsterdam, including a huge new metro system so you can imagine the scale of the building works!
When we finally realised where we were, and could see the Botel in the near distance, we headed in that direction and reached it within minutes (one of the reasons we had chosen this hotel).
The Botel itself had changed. Where previously the entrance was on the left of the floating structure, there was now a completely new wooden boardwalk on the right, the canal side. We realised that the whole vessel had been turned around and were later informed that this had taken three days to do and the reason was that the large Post Office building on the land side was being slowly demolished making the land side of the hotel lonely and uninhabited, resulting in too many unwelcome intruders late at night.
Now, this attractive promenade has been used to link the Botel and the floating Chinese restaurant next door and is also an ideal pathway to the large scientific “Nemo” building and Maritime Museum farther along the canal.
We were very glad that we had chosen a room with a view over the canal and enjoyed watching the canal boats, houseboats, the lights of Amsterdam at night and people walking along the boardwalk beneath us, as our room was on the top floor.
When you walk into the Botel you are immediately struck by how simple and unpretentious it is. The entrance is on 2nd floor and contains the reception desk manned usually by a minimum of two very friendly, smiling young people who speak excellent English. Check-in took a matter of minutes and we were presented with a modern card-key for our room. We then examined the many brochures and cards offering discounts on everything from the local cafes to the museums, and took what we thought we would use. There was also a very helpful booklet, which explained the public transport system, essential for new visitors as you can save an awful lot of money by buying a combined ticket that gives access to the trams, buses, canal buses and metro in one. The breakfast room and bar are also on this floor along with a jukebox, pool table, toilets, two fruit machines and TV. The bar serves a wide selection of drinks with a large beer costing 3euro and a small bottle of red wine (2 glassfuls) costing 4. Spirits cost approximately 3 euro per shot which isn’t too much more expensive than here. The bar also sells a limited supply of sandwiches and “Tostis”(toasted sarnies) for 2.5-3 euros.
We took the lift to our room on the 4th floor (There are also rooms below the reception area which I think are cheaper.) The room seemed smaller than I remembered, but perhaps I’m just larger! It wasn’t luxurious by any means, but it was very clean and perfectly adequate. The double bed was wider than the one we use at home (my husband complained that he couldn’t find me in the night as I was so far away!) There was only a crisp white sheet and a heavy patterned bedspread, but we had such warm weather that we didn’t need anything other than the sheet. The pillows were the large square continental jobbies that look like miniature duvets and when I requested an extra four so that we could prop ourselves up against the headboard that jutted out of the wall, these were quickly supplied. (This headboard was a bit of a problem as my husband banged his head twice because it juts out over the pillow.)
There was a very small built-in wardrobe (containing a safe) with a mirrored dressing table attached. (I had to request extra hangers because they usually don’t have people staying more than a few nights at a time.) The en-suite bathroom contained a toilet, washbasin and shower, complete with liquid soap/shampoo/conditioner dispenser, shower cap and shoe cleaner. There were 2 white fluffy hand towels and 2 matching bath towels, which were changed every day of our stay. In fact, the room was cleaned regularly every day while we were out. There was also a television with cable TV, BBC1 and 2, an assortment of continental stations and the in-house “X” rated movie, which we watched just to get into the spirit of things!! When our remote didn’t work properly, they immediately provided us with another television.
Breakfast was served between 7:30 and 10:30 and we usually got there somewhere in the middle. This had changed a little from our previous stay. Where before a waitress had circulated with pots of hot coffee and tea, filling up cups on demand, there was now a self service machine for coffee, tea, orange and apple juice, however they all still tasted fresh and delicious so no complaints there. The breakfast rolls were the soft kind, which disappointed, as I prefer crusty, a minor point, and the croissants were cold so I was unable to eat them. The plates of different meats, cheese, salad and tomatoes were there though, also the lovely unsalted butter, pumpernickel bread and sesame crackers, yoghurt, jams, boiled eggs, sausages and bacon (this latter always seemed cold but tasted delicious). I ate more each morning for breakfast than I would the whole day at home, always a disadvantage with a buffet breakfast. You were allowed to eat as much as you wanted but not to remove food from the breakfast room, though I managed to take some bread to feed the numerous swans, ducks and moor hens outside, not to mention the seagulls who scooped what I threw out of the air before it reached the canal!
I don’t remember being woken up by noisy neighbours before, which is unusual as the walls in these places are always paper-thin. We didn’t get off so lightly this time. On our second night, at about 1am we realised that an American woman had taken the room next to ours because we were awoken to cries of “Oh my god!” This was her talking on the telephone in her normal tone of voice using an expression we came to realise was her favourite, along with the interjection of the word “like” at regular intervals. We learned that her luggage had gone astray and she only had the clothes in which she stood. We learned a considerable amount about her that morning and tolerated it only up to the point where she turned on the radio which blasted out a heavy rock programme to the accompaniment of my husband’s fist slamming into the wall above our bed and his shout of “Shut the f*** up.” After that, things went quiet and we slept.
We heard her on quite a few occasions, one really hilarious time was when the bed on the other side of the wall to our bed suddenly began a rhythmic squeaking accompanied by her voice urging “Harder, harder!” Despite Sam and I shouting that we could hear everything, they obviously couldn’t hear us and the rhythm picked up so much that we feared that their bed was coming through the wall! But everything comes to an end and eventually this did also.
So, in conclusion, I think that this hotel is very good value for money, very clean and the staff helpful and friendly, and, despite the noise, I would recommend it to anyone visiting Amsterdam.
Summary: Basic, inexpensive, clean and friendly. What more do you need?
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