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Ambassador city centre hotel Haarlem

Anyone else having problems booking a pre-tour room? I checked their website and they show no rooms available for our dates even though they are showing vacancy on Expedia. They require a three day reservation on Expedia and we only want two nights. (Which I'm sure would be no problem once they know we are on the RS tour.)
I sent them an email last week explaining our situation and haven't heard back. Not to concerned at this point, just curious if this is normal. I'll give them a call if I don't hear back soon.

Posted by
21350 posts

How far in advance are you trying to book? Some location will only do about 6 months. This is a busy time of year so I would wait until a week or so after the 1st. We have used that hotel and it is not that big. There are other hotels in the immediate area if you have to go to a different one. That is our preferred location when we are in and about Amsterdam. Very easy to the hotel via bus from the airport and walk two or three blocks. We have stayed in Haarlem at least four times and most recently just prior to the shut down.

Posted by
7820 posts

(Which I'm sure would be no problem once they know we are on the RS tour.)

I would not make that assumption. Before covid made life a mess our RS tour was scheduled to start there.

They did not make any accommodation for us other than their regular policy & rates. We booked our pre-tour days at another hotel that had better rates, included breakfast and had a free cancellation policy. ( which ultimately proved to be a good decision). Our reservation was made before covid appeared.

For pre/post tour days I found them the least helpful/accommodating of the RS hotels I have dealt with.

Posted by
37 posts

Joe32F,
Thanks for your reply. Good to know. We aren't locked into any place yet so I'll do some checking around.
We are still trying to decide whether we want to stay in Amsterdam or Haarlem. Any advice on other places to stay is appreciated.

Posted by
8669 posts

Interesting, as a similar thing happened to me with Ambassador in 2014. I did email them and got a reply and they booked a room for me as they said they had plenty of rooms. Perhaps they are shortstaffed as I got a reply back fairly quickly as I remember it. At that time the vacancy was showing on Booking.com so you might want to look at that and see if there is the same 3-night minimum.

When you are to the point where you are worried, I'd book a back up at a nearby hotel that has decent cancellation policies.

Posted by
677 posts

We are still trying to decide whether we want to stay in Amsterdam or Haarlem

I suggest staying in Amsterdam. Haarlem is a nice town but not really a lot to do, nothing that's going to take 2 full days anyway. You'll find yourself taking the train into Amsterdam, which is why Amsterdam is a better place to stay. With a hotel room in the city you can stop in to take a break, pick up or drop off jackets/sweaters/etc instead of having to carry everything you might want.. And you'll gain the time for touring that you don't spend getting to/from Haarlem and Amsterdam. I'm probably biased, Paris and Amsterdam are two of my favorite cities in the world to visit and I never get tired of them.

Posted by
4736 posts

I'm going to give a different opinion from John's. We've stayed in Haarlem a couple of times, and have never run out of things to do there. There are some great museums (Teyler's, Franz Hals), and good restaurants. The last time we were there, we arrived on Thursday for a tour that began Sunday afternoon. We did spend part of one day in Amsterdam, to see a special exhibit at the Hermitage. Our first time there, we also arrived on Thursday for a late Sunday tour, and spent the entire time in Haarlem.

It's a great town for walking, too.

Posted by
941 posts

I had no trouble booking two nights prior to our 2015 tour via booking.com and today's trial showed no problem doing so. Where you stay really depends on what you want to see/do. We had no problem filling our two pre-tour days in Haarlem, visiting the Teyler's museum, the Corrie Ten Boom huis, the Archaeology museum, and wandering the lovely city. The Grote Markt is on Saturday's and is fun to browse and shop, and a stop into St. Bavo Kerk (especially for a free recital) is very interesting.
With that said, we did spend a week in Amsterdam prior to moving to Haarlem and we saw so many things we wouldn't have seen or experienced on tour as the tour day in Amsterdam was fast paced. If you stay in Amsterdam you might enjoy a walking tour with thatdamguide, visit the Willet-Holthuysen canal house, or enjoy art at the Stedelijk or Van Gogh museum. The Dutch resistance museum (Verzetsmuseum) is very much worth a visit and if you do stay in Amsterdam you absolutely must visit Winkel's 43 and get a piece of apple pie with homemade whipped cream.
If you decide to stay in Haarlem be forewarned that the Ambassador is a budget hotel. It wasn't horrible but it wasn't great either. I would stay there again because it is less expensive than many other places and I just want a clean bed and bath. I certainly wouldn't pay for breakfast there and would find a cafe to grab coffee and a roll and then lunch at Bij Babette's which has fabulous homemade bread and sandwiches and custom desserts.