“ Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal 5. Tel: +31 (020) 620 0500. Fax: +31 (020) 620 1173. „
Amsterdam is home to three Crowne Plaza hotels; there's one at Schiphol airport, there's the "Americaine", and then there's the "Crowne Plaza City Centre". It's at the latter that we recently had the pleasure of staying. Five minutes' walk from the Centraal (sic) Station which, itself, is a one-stop, 3.9 Euro, journey from Schiphol airport, I thought that its location was absolutely ideal. This review breaks the mould - amongst other things. I am usually travelling with my wife, Amanda, and the nearly-three-years-old baby Josh. Amsterdam, however, is no place for a toddler and it was thus that I found myself on a trip away with two good friends, Mark and Chris. Oh dear! Mathematician that I am, I feel an equation coming on.....Three blokes + Amsterdam = Trouble! Let me say from the outset that this was a really superb hotel. We loved it. There has, of course to be a downside, so I'll start there and get it over with. I was nominally in charge of booking the trip and I selected this hotel for various reasons, including location and the fact that I could book on-line and earn a shed load of Priority Club Points - the hotel is part of the Six Continents Group, encompassing such brands as Holiday Inn and Intercontinental. The guys agreed with my choice and I booked on-line. It's not very easy to book a double and a twin room in one booking - far better to make two separate bookings - but that's what I did. Subsequent 'phone calls to the hotel (and they spoke perfect English) and e-mails to Central Reservations confirmed my worst fear. The hotel thought I had two rooms. Central reservations thought I had only one. For the purpose simply of saving face, it was important to me that I'd got it right and it was only when we arrived and discovered that I was, in fact, not the total incompetent that I looked like appearing as, that I was able to totally relax. The pre-booked air
port parking had worked out, the BA 'plane tickets had worked out, and now the hotel rooms were ready, as intended. I used, as a boy, to love the "A-team". Were George Peppard still alive, he'd join me in a chorus of "I love it when a plan comes together". Just such a shame that I had had to worry about it so much, pre-arrival! In future, if I want different room types, I'll know to make two separate bookings. Helpful tip there, I hope! Worry over. Enjoy Amsterdam! We arrived at the hotel at about 6pm, having found it very easily - it's extremely accessible from the Centraal Station. (I'm getting sick of writing sic after the word Centraal (sic), so don't expect me to keep doing so!) The hotel has a modern facade and we entered the reception area via a revolving door. I was later glad to note that it revolves pretty slowly! On your immediate left is the concierge and next to that is the check-in desk. It was quite busy. In front of us, however, was a Priority Club Priority Check-in desk. As a Priority Club member, it seemed rude not to use it and, in no time whatsoever, we were checked in and given key cards to rooms 205 (Two doubles) and 206 (King). Relief - my booking had been accurate and successful after all that pre-arrival concern. We headed to the lifts, found our rooms and had a 30-minute freshen-up before heading out to see what Amsterdam had to offer - which, I think, should form a different review! The rooms were extremely comfortable, furnished in pastel colours and with russet paintwork on the doors reflecting the Crowne Plaza branding. The bed was extremely comfortable and furnished with a plain white duvet cover - it later proved to be a superb place to sleep. A very fluffy bathrobe was neatly folded on the bed, and there were sweets on the pillows. A workdesk extended to hold a colour television with various channels, some hilarious, and there was comfortabl
e seating. Trouser press, obviously, and a very adequate bathroom with good toiletries - some Neutrogena, and some products such as "Dove" hand cream dispensed from containers attached to the wall. Very comfortable, all in all. The minibar, as Mark discovered, played "touch-move" and charged you if you so much as touched any item. I avoid these machines like the plague, however! The hotel has a nice bar but, for once, I resisted the temptation. This was Amsterdam and there were no shortages of drinking holes. And we found them. One, in particular, was the "Banana Bar". Enough said, I am sure, but the entry fee was 40 Euros - which included an hour's worth of free drinking. I made a conservative start, until two American girls suggested that drinking whisky, in the circumstances, seemed better value for money. about 40 minutes of whisky-drinking later and...well, the rest is history. On arrival back at the hotel, I think I had fallen over half-a-dozen times and had been abandoned by my friends. I'm not proud of the time I'd spent in various gutters, but am glad that I'd avoided making the acquaintance of Amsterdam's canals. My final fall happened in the foyer of the hotel - and that is the one, I'm convinced, that broke my leg. I thought it was just badly bruised and it was only when I returned to England, after walking on it for two days, that the fractured fibula was diagnosed. The night porter was very kind and picked me up and, despite my protestations, kindly escorted me to my room, making sure that I was OK. The fact that, on the next night, when Mark and I needed his assistance in working out how to operate the cigarette vending machine, he made no mention of my fall, speaks volumes for his professionalism and discretion! So the rest of my trip was spent at a slow pace, taking in the inevitable window-shopping and having a great, if slightly painful time. Th
e hotel has a superb leisure centre, and Chris took advantage of this - using both the indoor heated pool and the sauna. He also took advantage of the breakfast, not realising that it was not included in the price. "Excellent breakfast", he said, "You could have had anything. I wasn't too hungry, so just had coffee, a croissant and some cheese!" Had he known that this added 22 Euros to his bill, I am sure that he would have gone a lot more overboard! All in all, a superb hotel - very centrally located, modern, comfortable and with exceptionally helpful staff. There was, I noticed, a very herbal smell in the corridors in the morning - somewhat remnicent of so many of Amsterdam's coffee shops. What better way to have a break? Oh - and please don't think I'm whinging about my broken leg - far from it! Recommended Yes
If you are visiting Amsterdam and want a hotel with a difference, then you must stay at the Holiday Inn Crowne Plaza. It is right in the centre of the city just down from the Central Station. Dam Square is on the corner and the canals, shops and museums are all very close by. The hotel itself has 270 bedrooms and they are all furnished to the highest standards with mini bar, television and all the usual commodities. We were on the top floor and had a fantastic view at night, but it did get rather cold in the room and they had to supply an extra heater. It was over the Christmas period and the weather outside was very cold so it was understandable. There is a fitness centre with a pool, sauna and solarium and we used it a couple of times. I liked the thick white fluffy towelling robes that they provided. (I didn’t pinch one when I left I swear it!) Ladies be careful if you use the changing rooms. I was busy drying myself and an Italian chap with his two teenage sons just strolled into the ladies changing room to use a sauna, they didn’t bat an eye-lid. I was totally embarrassed but I didn’t say anything because in Amsterdam apparently any thing goes. After that I used the fluffy robe and changed in my room. There are two restaurants, ‘Dorrius’ which looked very nice but we avoided it because it was extremely expensive. The patio bar was great for a cold beer and a quick snack. There are so many restaurants in Amsterdam so we didn’t really eat a lot in the hotel any way. Breakfast was in with the price and they really put a marvellous spread on including champagne and orange, I didn’t participate in that tipple for breakfast because I was nursing a headache nearly every morning from the night before. Well some of the bars over there serve such large measures! We paid £279.00 each for three nights, but it was over the Christmas period as I said, but you can s
tay there mid week for about £50.00 a night including breakfast. The reception is really ornate and the doorman dressed in all his finery has a lovely bushy beard just like Santa Clause. There are plush leather suites and beautiful glass coffee tables every where. I felt like Royalty every time I sat in there because waiters milled around and fussed over you. The staff were so helpful and it made the place just that little bit nicer than some hotels that I have stayed in. I must mention the little cake shop opposite, the aroma coming from that shop was pure heaven and I have never tasted pastries quite like it. We used to buy a bag of cakes and eat them sitting by the canal. Ah memories, I will definitely go back there but maybe next time I will go in the warmer weather because it is very difficult eating sticky cakes with woolly gloves on.
The Crowne Plaza is ideal for that wekend treat or an ideal base for a business trip. I stayed there a couple of years ago and the staff were very efficeint and friendly. The rooms were of a very high standard and the bar made nice surroundings to return to after an evening out. The restaurant prices were a bit on the high side but as there are so many other excellent places to eat in Amsterdam it didn't matter. The location is excellent as it only about a 2 minute walk from the station and is right in the middle of all the attractions without being too noisy. The next time I have the luck to be staying in Amsterdam I shall definately return to the Crowne Plaza