My husband and I will be traveling to Amsterdam in late October after 3 weeks of traveling around Switzerland and Germany. We will be arriving in the morning by train (from Dusseldorf, Germany) and I am looking for suggestions for a hotel and things to do with such a short time frame to work with. I'd love to stay in Haarlem (Hotel ML, per R.S. suggestion) but I fear that it will make our departure from Schiphol Airport a bit of an inconvenience, having an 11 am flight to USA the next morning (expecting 45min to get there and 3 hrs pre-flight). If we do stay in Haarlem I'd like to go to Jopen Brewery, go to Zandvoort (or general area to say I saw the North Sea) and whatever else we can manage without being exhausted. I expect that we will be tired and ready to go home by this time, so I'm looking more for a laid-back, easy going kind of day in the area. My other concern is for the time of year and the weather. I'm a bit unsure if we want to be doing a ton of walking all over a city in wet or cold conditions. So I guess I am looking for a nice, relaxing end-of-trip place to be, with lovely (classic Dutch) architecture and some close by things to see. Any suggestions? We are not interested in seeing the Red Light District or hanging out in a busy city. Thanks!
Consider using locker storage for your bags when you arrive by train. Then head out to Haarlem to spend the day, walk around and relax; return earlier if you want to walk around Amsterdam a bit. When you are finished for the day, grab your bags and stay at a hotel near the airport - there are lots of options and are within walking distance of the terminal. We used the Sheraton, but there is a Hilton and others. (They will also store your bags for you prior to check-in, but that means an extra trip to the airport).
Then you won't be rushed in the morning before you leave. An 11 am flight will be an 8 am arrival at Schipohl. Less stress to stay nearby.
Thank you for the advice. I am so torn since I would love to stay somewhere other than a chain hotel for the night, but I know that adds a ton of stress to the morning we leave. I have looked at several hotels around Schiphol Airport, some even have what appears to be a nice walking/jogging trail.
Haarlem station has luggage lockers, so you can directly go from Düsseldorf to Haarlem. From Haarlem to Schiphol airport you have the choice between a direct bus (leaving every 10 mins or so from the bus stands in front of the railway station) or a train (with a change at Amsterdam Sloterdijk).
Late October won't be cold. If it's raining you have the excellent Frans Hals Museum to keep you dry and the late 18th-century Teylers Museum. In good weather you can take the half-hourly train to Zandvoort, which itself is of medium interest, but has indeed a lot of sea and pleasant pavillions on the beach.
Based on the time you have, Haarlem would be a great place to spend the night. Jopenkerk is a good brewery/restaurant (suggest reservations for dinner in the fancier, upstairs restaurant) and easy to grab some grub and beer on a whim. Nearby, the smaller but more intimate (and better beer IMO) Uiltje Brewery is highly recommended. When we stay in a hotel in Haarlem, we stay at the Carlson Square Hotel. A bit of a walk from Central Station, but nice nonetheless. I am sure other hotels are closer that regular posters can recommend. It really does not take much longer to get to AMS from Haarlem compared to Amsterdam.
Jay MN, Thank you for the tip on Uiltje Brewery! I just checked out their website and it looks like we have breweries to check out. The more the merrier right?
tonfromleiden, Thank you for the advice! Any help on the transportation system is appreciated. It seems we have lots of options to get around.