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Swissotel Amsterdam (Netherlands)

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96 Damrak, Amsterdam, 1012 LP, Netherlands. Tel: + 31 20 522 3000.

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      19.01.2002 18:51
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      SWISSOTEL AMSTERDAM on the edge of Dam Square, a few 100 yards away from the Royal Palace and a stones throw away from the bars, clubs and red-light district of Amsterdam?? Having been fortunate enough to get free flight tickets on an Easyjet/Telegraph offer, all we had to do now was find somewhere to stay. We located this little beauty on www.bookings.nl - the site will check availability on all registered hotels in the Netherlands 365 days in advance, and most can be booked through the site. NB: Remember to make sure that the 'search for special offers' box is checked before you press that button. SWISSOTEL, AMSTERDAM The hotel, still known as Swissotel, was previously owned by the now defunct Swissair, but along with many other class establishments around the world is now managed by Raffles International. It is situated about 5 minutes walk from Centraal Station, literally a stones throw away from Dam Square and the Royal Palace. It has tram stops outside and is in the heart of the shopping and eating area with the red-light district about 5 mins walk. RECEPTION A very small affair that makes no indication of the delights that behold you beyond the security proof lift. The Concierge and reception staff really were in a class of their own - polite, helpful, friendly and multi-lingual, not just in English, Dutch and German, but Spanish and Italian to add just a few. Check-in was speedy and friendly, requiring completion of a registration form, and a gentle swipe of the credit card. Despite not being able to check in until 2pm, and arriving at the hotel at 10am, cold, tired and hungry after travelling all night, we left our bags locked safely away in a room and went off to explore the daytime delights of Amsterdam. Reception keep a stack of mult-lingual newspapers to please all their guests and also managed to provide us with a room by just before 1pm. Security is tight, and eve
      n the lifts and communal toilets cannot be accessed without a room key. THE ROOM (full air-conditioning) Both smoking and non-smoking rooms are available. This left me breathless, the BED was soft and 6' 6" wide, even lying in the middle with my arms wide open I could not reach either side - 3 pillows were lined up at the top - well I do hear they say anything goes in Amsterdam. Remote controlled colour TV with teletext in English, including BBC 1 & 2, Dutch, German, Italian and Spanish, not to mention the private pay-to-view movies at 12 Euros a time, allowing you 24 hours watching a choice of three films. Two comfy chairs and a table were provided, vanity area, two telephones, two modem points, a very well stocked mini-bar with Coke, Mineral Water, Brandy, Vodka, Gin, Iced Tea, Toblerones, crisps, nuts and a disposable camera!!!! - all at prices that would have been considered reasonable for a hotel in the South Wales City where I live, let alone a 4 star hotel in a major European capital city. An iron, ironing board and free safe were also provided. Tea and Coffee Making facilities were provided, but sadly no biscuits. The hotel has 106 bedrooms at three grades and is currently in the process of renovating each one, not that you would notice from the absence of builders, paint smells etc - all the improved rooms contain a coffee espresso machine. THE BATHROOM Fairly compact with the usual facilities, which included a VERY LONG DEEP BATH - if you are shorter than 6' 3", don't expect to be able to relax in this alone, but as I keep saying this is Amsterdam. Towels, toiletries and a nail-file were supplied in abundance and replenished daily. OTHER FACILITIES There were no leisure facilities on site, but apparently the hotel does have a partnership with a fitness club close by - as if you cannot get enough from all the walking and cycling in this lovely flat country, beca
      use be warned, they really do like their food, and if anyone can provide me with some insight into why I didn't see one overweight person there bar myself during my stay, I would really lovely to know their secret. CONFERENCE AND OFFICE FACILITIES There is a full office suite with free colour photocopying and internet access. Conference rooms hold up to 50 people. FOOD Breakfast is served - 07.30 till 10.30am weekdays and 8 till 11 at weekends - see they even understand the needs of their visitors, thats if you can drag yourself away from the bed. The Breakfast wasn't included in the price and cost 16.50 Euros per person (c£10.07) - it consisted of: * Fried Bacon * Sausages and Frankfurters * Hard Boiled and Scrambled eggs * Mushrooms * A selection of cold meats * A very wide selection of cheeses * Bread Rolls * DIY Toast * Pastries & Conserve * Fruit Juices * Yoghourts * Cereals * Coffee, Tea and Chocolate Not bad, but the warm food was a little on the cool side, if you don't want to pay such prices, most of the restaurants do a full English breakfast for around 9 Euros (c£5.60), continental slightly cheaper. The bar is open Noon to Midnight and serves snacks and drinks, a pint of lager was around £2 - room service is served from Midnight to 6.30am, for those fancying a midnight snack, again at reasonable prices - around £1.20 for a portion of chips. PRICES OK - sit down - 4 Star luxury in a major city (don't forget to ask for the King Size bed - even if you do't like your other half with that much room, it is easy to lose them) - otherwise you might get lumbered with a twin. - I shall tell you the RACK rates then what we paid. Exchange if based on 1 EURO = £0.61 (don't forget exchange rates fluctuate) * STANDARD ROOMS = 250 - 270 EUROS PER ROOM(£152.50 - £164) * LUXURY ROOMS = 2
      95 - 315 EUROS PER ROOM * SUITES = 365 - 385 EUROS PER ROOM We found the hotel on a special offer on the aforementioned web-site at 105 Euros per room night - £64.50 (5% city tax and breakfast NOT included) I am told the Luxury rooms are at the front of the building, and because of the location can be very noisy. WOULD I STAY THERE AGAIN? Despite the cold breakfast - like a shot. I tend to stay in quite a lot of hotels through work and social travel, but this was by far one of the best, nothing was too much trouble for the staff (although make sure you check your bill for errors - particurly in the mini-bar - there are sheets in the fridge telling you what it should contain) - they didn't even flinch when we highlighted the error and that BED!!!!! Rooms can be secured via their own website, or bookings.nl - cancellation is by 4pm on the day of arrival to avoid charges, and check-out time is standard at 12 Noon, although you can again leave your luggage locked away in reception - check both sites for the best price - look for "GO SWISSOTEL" There are no parking facilities at the hotel, but three public car-parks nearby, one of which the hotel has negotiated a special discounted rate with. despite being a business hotel, they didn't flinch when we arrived bedraggled and in jeans and trainers. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED************ SWISSOTEL AMSTERDAM Damrak 96, Amsterdam 1012 LP, Netherlands TELEPHONE: + 31 - 20 - 522 3000 http://www.swissotel.com/hotel-guide-europe.asp www.bookings.nl Sue - 2002

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