I have reservations in Haarlem at the Ambassador City Center, however I see on TripAdvisor that they have many negative reviews, so I am skeptical about staying there. It is listed in the Rick Steves travel book as one of his recommended hotels in Haarlem. Do you have any input about unfriendly staff or dirty rooms at the Ambassador, or should I feel OK about staying there?
I am not familiar with that one but last month we stayed at the Lion d'Or hotel near the train station in Haarlem. It was very nice, updated and clean with a large bedroom, high ceilings (ground floor) and the bath was split with the huge shower/sink in one room and toilet in another. Wonderful breakfast buffet every day. I believe it caters more to business people but it is small and has easy access to the station (across the plaza). I would definitely recommend it and would return if given the chance. So much cheaper than Amsterdam lodging and I love the trains for travel.
I've been to both hotels mentioned above and both are fine. The Ambassador is comfortable, clean, and well-located, but more of a moderate class hotel. I think Rick Steves uses it for his tours, so it really has to meet relatively high standards. The Lion d'Or is more upscale, but you pay for it. It's also a bit farther out, at the train station.
We stayed four nights at the Lion d'Or last spring, liked it very much. The description above is accurate based on our experience. We haven't stayed at the Ambassador, which is very close to the central square, more convenient for seeing Haarlem sights and probably more chance of street noise. The Lion d'Or is about ten minutes north of the square, probably quieter even though it's right across from the buses and trains. More convenient for getting to Amsterdam and elsewhere. I'm sure it's cheaper than staying in a comparable place in Amsterdam, but of course the transportation time and cost is relevant too.
You could try a new hotel that has lots of positive reviews on TripAdvisor. It's a 10 min walk from the train station. Niu Dairy
I made reservations there for March, 2019 at 120 euros/night including breakfast.
It's been a few years but I stayed at the Ambassador for the start of Rick's 21 Best of Europe tour plus nights ahead.
It was nice altho the furnishings were slightly weird - Egyptian theme in my room. It was clean, the staff at that time was very nice and helpful and I'd stay there again. The location was excellent - just off the Grote Markt. Lots of restaurants around there along with some grocery stores.
At that time there was a huge clock collection in the lobby! There were fairly big elevators for Europe but as indicated, no AC. There was a fan in my room.
editing to add: I just hopped over to TA to read the reviews. I see most of the complaints are about heat and I understand that . If you are planning to go in July or August I would want any hotel to have AC. I was there the end of August when I traveled but it was a cool, rainy spell and my room was not hot.
I'm so glad I booked the Lion d'Or for my arrival in the Netherlands in late May. The online reviews were good and now those have been verified here. Thanks to all those who've mentioned it in a positive way.