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First time in Amsterdam

Going to spend 3 days in Amsterdam in November. I have been searching for hotels and would like some comments/opinions on what areas of the city center are best to stay. We will be going to a few museums and want to get a feel of the city in our short stay. Is the "red light" district save and a fun place for 2 young at heart seniors or should we look elsewhere? Any suggestions for a hotel (not fancy; just clean) would be appreciated. Haven't had a chance to buy RS book on Amsterdam as of yet. Thanks

Posted by
11292 posts

I'd stay almost anywhere in the center (that means the inside the canal belt, the canal belt itself, and the Jordaan) - EXCEPT the Red Light District. The problem is not the prostitutes, but the customers, trolling for sex and drugs at all hours. Gross, for anyone of any age. I definitely found it worthwhile to see, but the thought of staying there is, to put it gently, unpleasant. Do get the RS book, as I found it invaluable. But be aware that many of his hotel listings are in several other guidebooks, and they often have 5-20 rooms or so. Amsterdam is a year-round destination for Europeans, particularly those from the British Isles. All this means that hotels get booked up fast, and many have minimum stay requirements on weekends - year round. Here's a page from TripAdvisor, which I can't get to hotlink, explaining the central areas (and what's not so central): http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g188590-c156882/Amsterdam:The-Netherlands:Where.To.Stay.In.Amsterdam.html

Posted by
8995 posts

Most of the hotels in the RLD cater to the backpacker/hostel crowd strictly looking to smoke as much weed as they can during their stay. I don't think you would be comfortable with that scene;) Try the RHO Hotel or the Avenue Hotel.

Posted by
31510 posts

Joanne, You might have a look at This Hotel. It's within easy walking distance to both the Rijksmuseum and Van Gogh Museum, and about a one minute walk from a Tram station. A VERY convenient location! It's been renovated and renamed since I was there last year, but I found the room very comfortable (albeit diminutive) and the staff were great. As the others have said, the RLD is probably not the best location to stay, although it should be safe. The atmosphere (especially at night) tends to be a bit "rambunctious". One point to note. If you plan on buying any rail tickets at Amsterdam Central using a credit card, that WON'T be possible unless you have a "Chip & PIN" card. Be sure you have cash on hand. Happy travels!

Posted by
12040 posts

Check out the Leidseplein area. Not too far from the major museums, many restaurants, and lively without the sleaze of the RLD.

Posted by
672 posts

We are planning a trip to Amsterdam this fall too and we are going to be staying at the Eel House bed and breakfast. It's gotten great reviews on Trip Advisor. It's in the heart of the beautiful Jordann neighborhood near the Anne Frank house. Here's their website: http://www.eelhouse.eu/

Posted by
2829 posts

The area between Rembrantplein and the Museumplein is my favorite for "central lodging in Amsterdam". It is close to many sites, not far from the ones withing the 1st canal belt but has definitively a different "vibe" without the stag and hen group parties and the junkies... Hotels in De Wallen are a bad choice in my opinion...

Posted by
109 posts

We (2 adults in our late 30's and 1 65-year-old) really enjoyed Hotel Keizershof in Amsterdam. You will probably want to ask for the room up a few stairs by the kitchen/dining area, not one of the rooms up the winding staircase...well unless you like steep, tight spiral staircases. We walked and took trams everywhere. Quite convenient.

Posted by
513 posts

I second the above recommendation for the Leidseplein area. Over the years I've stayed in perhaps a half a dozen hotels within a 5 to 10 minute walk of the plein. However the last 4 or 5 times I was in Amsterdam I stayed at the Piet Hein Hotel across from Vondel Park. It is within 5 or 10 minutes of major museums (as well as Leidseplein), and has the added advantage of being in a quiet neighborhood.

Posted by
192 posts

Our first trip to Amsterdam ('06) we stayed at the Hotel Washington, and it was fine. Steep stairs of course, but we made it. Nice breakfast, comfy room. We loved Amst. so much we saved up for 2 years and returned in '08, this time for a whole week. That time, we stayed at the Mercure Amsterdam Frommerthe one 'downtown', not the one near the airport. It was really nice, clean, quiet, friendly staff. We either walked or took trams wherever we wanted to go. (We were 65 and 70 that trip.)
On our to-do/see list: Anne Frank House (allow at least one hour), Dutch Resistance Museum (same time frame), VanGogh Museum, Rijksmuseum. We spent part of a day in Haarlem (Corrie tenBoom Museum, Frans Hals Museum) and enjoyed that very much. (It took only about 15-20 min. from Amst. by train.) The Corrie tenBoom Museum was, we thought, well worth the time. Don't be put off by people saying the guides 'preach' at you because they don't. They do make a plea for world peace, but it's nothing heavy. (If you can, be sure to watch the movie, "The Hiding Place" before you go.) Dutch trains are greatfast, efficient, ON TIME, and pretty clean. Most of the people are very friendly, especially the little kids. Watch out for bikes, tho, they have the right-of-way and are very quick! There's a nifty pancake place about 2 blocks from the AF House...all sorts of pancakes. I liked the lemon ones with powdered sugar on top. There's also a good restaurant that looks like a green carousel and has the BEST pancakes! And the Floating Chinese Restaurant is good, too. Our second trip to Amsterdam we allowed for a day in Bruges also, and it wasn't enough. We'd love to go back to both! I hope you have a wonderful trip! (PS, you can buy beautiful wooden tulips in the airport!)

Posted by
1986 posts

Delft is a nice leisurely full day trip in my experience. Interesting downtown area with canals, leisurely walk to the Delft factory and time to take the tour and then walk back to town. Probably be able to arrive midmorning and leave in the mid afternoon. Dont try and rush it

Posted by
1977 posts

As other poster said, we really enjoyed Haarlem,I think only about half hour by train from Central Station. We went specifically to see the Ten Boom museum but loved walk around canal, windmills, we enjoyed it more than Delft. Large open area at the cathedral to enjoy glass of wine, people watch, worth a half day. You need to research Ten Boom museum on line as I think they close early. The pancake house by AF house was great. I think you can get on line tickets for AF house so dont have to wait but we were there off season and had no lines, probably like that in November. Enjoy.

Posted by
1300 posts

I was just there in May and again in June. I stayed both times at the Hotel Brouwer on the Singel canal on the edge of the RLD. They have a tiny elevator. The rooms are small, but tidy, the breakfast is basic, but the coffee and croissants are great. I was treated very well. I am in my mid60's. I had a cold on my trip home in June and someone made me tea each day. The location was good. I really recommend you visit Anne Frank House, but make your reservations online before you go.

Posted by
125 posts

Thank you everyone for wonderful informaton. I have had to turn my energies towards a family party and July 4th here in Side Lake, MN. I am coordinator of the parade this year so my travel preparations have been put on hold for a week or so. I will be following up on the suggestions especially for finding accomodations, small villages around Amsterdam and getting my museums in order. We want to see AF for sure along with the VanG Museum. We can add 2 more days to our stay and with all the info, maybe we will. Will write more when plans are finalized. Have a safe holiday weekend!!!

Posted by
125 posts

Thank you everyone for wonderful informaton. I have had to turn my energies towards a family party and July 4th here in Side Lake, MN. I am coordinator of the parade this year so my travel preparations have been put on hold for a week or so. I will be following up on the suggestions especially for finding accomodations, small villages around Amsterdam and getting my museums in order. We want to see AF for sure along with the VanG Museum. We can add 2 more days to our stay and with all the info, maybe we will. Will write more when plans are finalized. Have a safe holiday weekend!!!

Posted by
9 posts

The last time we stayed in Amsterdam we booked an 'apartment' through VRBO or vacation rental by owner. There are so many places to chose from on this site, and most of them are much cheaper than a hotel, plus you get your own kitchen for making breakfast or whatever. I chose a place in the Jordaan, a heritage house, 3rd floor with very steep stairs, but it was really worth it. It faced onto a garden courtyard where you could see children playing and laundry on the line. The apt. was a big room with bed, kitchen, dining, plus a bathroom. Cost about $80 Canadian per night. The Jordaan is a lovely area around the Prinsengracht and near the Anne Frank house. We even walked our suitcases over from the Central Station, just. As it is a residential area there are grocery stores, bars, farmers market, and nice restaurants and take-outs. Enjoy.

Posted by
125 posts

Finally a moment to read all the replys again and start planning our time in Amsterdam. We will be taking a train from Fulda Germany, stay two nights in Brugge and then onto Amsterdam for 3 nights before flying back to USA. I was on trip advisor and found Boogaards B & B and was rated very high and great comments. Current price is 130E/night. Has anyone stayed at this property? Said it was centrally located and they do have availability. I'm going to check out the recommended properties above and will book something very soon. Again, thank you all for your input....a sunny day in northern MN and will take time for a quick kayak trip around the lake. Best to you all.

Posted by
2490 posts

If Boogaard's is available and you are okay with that price, GRAB IT NOW BEFORE IT GETS AWAY! You will not regret it. The place, and Peter, are unbelievable.(and about a 5 minute walk from the train). I am astonished that you can get this on such short notice, since he has converted two of his 4 rooms into an apartment unit.

Posted by
249 posts

I second Larry's post. Boogaard's is wonderful; good location on quiet street; easy walk from train station-restaurants nearby, and t'Arendsnest-the best pub for beer I've had 30+ taps plus 200 other brews. Happy travels.

Posted by
15035 posts

I got a great price on a 4-star chain hotel in Amsterdam 3 years ago on priceline by bidding. I haven't used the site for a couple of years, though. You can get more info on current bids and strategies at biddingfortravel.com As others have said, any central location except the RLD is good. If you really want to get a feel for the city, rent bikes to use for your transportation. Nothing will make you feel more like you are part of the Netherlands.