“ Address: Leidsekade 82 / HS 1017 PM / Amsterdam / Netherlands / Tel: +3120 62 30 295 „
Hotel Kooyk, Amsterdam
I stayed in this 1-star listed hotel, near the famous Leidseplein square in Amsterdam, back in March. As always, I used booking.com to make a reservation. I stayed in a twin room with a friend, and we paid 39 Euros per night, which included breakfast.
The hotel is a five minute walk from Leidsplein, which is basically an entertainment district with also a lot of shops nearby. There is also a north-south tramline that runs through it which heads directly to Amsterdam central train station (about 15min, 3 Euros) so it was very easy to get there. However, the hotel itself is on a canal front around the corner from all the excitement so it was quiet at night.
Access was through a front door opening out on to the canal front. It was necessary to ring a bell to get let in, after which you were given a pass card which worked an electronic lock so you could come in and out. There was a blue sign hanging over the door and it was easy enough to find, but inside it looked very much like a converted house. The corridors were cramped, the reception area small, and the stairs were quite treacherous. I approach all such things in good spirits and it didn't bother me at all having to lug my bag up a steep staircase with only room for one, but other people might not be so impressed. There was no elevator.
We stayed in a twin room. The beds were okay and comfortable enough, but it was very obviously budget. The lighting was a little dim, the window opened on to a closed courtyard, the paintwork wasn't the best and the cupboards in the room were pretty shabby. It was clean, but it had a distinct youth hostel feel, with the shabbiness of the furniture and the worn carpets making it feel dirty, even if it wasn't. Still, we were only staying for two nights and had known what to expect from the reviews on booking.com. I have travelled around Italy, Vietnam, and Thailand with the same friend, and we've stayed in a lot worse.
The showers were in the corridor and were pretty poky, although the water was at least hot. The toilets were cramped and the locks didn't work very well. I actually interrupted one guy in the middle of an act because the hook lock didn't shut properly and popped out when I opened the door.
There appeared to be two guys running the place, an older Dutch man who met us on arrival and a younger English ex-pat who seemed to be live-in staff. I got talking to the English guy and he was quite nice and helpful but in a matey kind of way rather than professional. As I've said before, I'm used to a bit of raggedness so nothing bothered me, but it certainly wasn't a four star hotel at budget prices, it was very much budget. While the younger guy was nice to me he was quite rude to some other customers on our second morning because they seemed to be taking advantage of the buffet breakfast a little too much for his liking, when other people were waiting for a table. They were Asian, Chinese, I think, and were demanding endless refills of juice and coffee in a packed breakfast room when he was the only one on duty. It was quite clear to me that they were expecting a little too much and I could understand his attitude, but again I reiterate that this was budget accommodation and in a higher class of hotel such rudeness would not be tolerated.
Breakfast, in a couple of cramped rooms at the front of the hotel, was pretty decent. It was buffet style, with tea coffee, juices, ham and cheese, toast and cereal. Considering it was included in the price I had no complaints, but the poor guy on duty was run ragged when it seemed all the customers came down for breakfast at once and there weren't enough tables. You got the feeling you had to eat and get out as quickly as possible, although he had a smile for us among growling at other people!
Internet was available, at an extortionate 10 Euros a night for wi-fi, which I saw some customers complaining about. Personally, I just used the communal computer that was available for 1 Euro for half an hour. While I thought charging for wi-fi was pretty cheeky, I kind of felt all these people these days who can't leave their computers alone for more than five minutes deserved it and I imagine pretty much every bar in the square around the corner had it for free.
There was also a laundry service available, but I didn't use it so can't really comment.
You get what you pay for, that's the bottom line. It was listed as a budget hotel, and it was among the cheaper options in an expensive city yet was quite central, near a tram line and close to lots of entertainment, and had breakfast thrown in. The staff were perfectly nice to me and I enjoyed my stay, although I got the impression that a lot of the other customers were expecting something for nothing and were getting frustrated when they didn't get it. I've stayed in some budget hotels that were really far better than their listing, but Hotel Kooyk is what it says on the packet, no more, no less. Personally, I would be quite happy to stay there again.