We are going to book a May 2020 21-day Europe trip and I want to book a pre-day hotel to determine the dates. Seems like a lot of hotels already have no availability or are super expensive. I'm checking both Haarlam and Amsterdam. Suggestions?
I'd be surprised if you are not able to get in to the tour hotel in Haarlem this far out. That tour usually stay at the Ambassador City Center in Haarlem.
DO arrive at least one day ahead. IF you can do 2 nights that is even better. This tour is absolutely wonderful. It is busy and you'll want to hit the ground running! This was one of my early tours and I didn't have a handle on how much there was to see in Haarlem so didn't give myself a day there. I did spend a day in Amsterdam but I needed a full day in Haarlem too.
Waterproof rain jacket - essential. Walking program so you are in good shape - essential!
We always stay in Haarlam at the Hotel Amadeus. Next to the Grote Kerk on the square over a restaurant facing the square. Between train ride and walk it is about 20 minutes from Amsterdam. We like it because it is quite and less hustle than Amsterdam. More relaxing in the evening. We enjoy sitting in one of the outdoors on the market square enjoying local beer. Nice ice cream shop under the church and fry place around the corner. Will be there again this fall.
Pam, thanks for the advice. I saw the hotel in an online scrapbook so I tried to book but they have no availability for like 3 weeks in May 2020. I may contact them directly.
I'd agree with contacting them directly. I actually had to do that back in 2014 as there was no availability on their website but I could find a room via Booking.com. I contacted them by email to ask about booking as I wanted to save them the booking fee and they were quite kind via email. Very easy to book.
You're probably too early for the Amadeus: from 28/4/2020 all dates are indicated not to be available. Best to send them an e-mail.
By the way: the city is called Haarlem, with an »e« like the New York Harlem, which was named after it.
Haarlem is delightful, has plenty to do and see that won't be covered on the tour, and is a relaxing place to start your trip. I found the Franz Hals Museum very interesting. Visit the Grote Kerk too as you'll see both its exterior and interior often in paintings as you tour Europe. Going into Amsterdam is also very easy if you wish.
I would agree you should go a couple of days early. And do contact the hotels by email. When you do, tell them you're joining a Rick Steves tour, and ask for the Rick Steves discount.
We stayed at the Amadeus pre-tour last year, and liked it very much. They were soooo helpful when we had a credit/debit card problem that required multiple calls to the States.
Many European hotels don't book rooms sooner than a few months beforehand. I suggest e-mailing the hotel and/or monitoring its website.
Haarlem is a very nice place to stay and Amsterdam is easily reached. The downside of using Haarlem as a base for Amsterdam sightseeing is that the train puts you in the busiest, most crowded part of Amsterdam. This gets old after a few days. But for your purposes Haarlem is a good choice. We liked the Lion d'Or, though it's farther from the main square, church, and museums. But it's right by the station for train and bus connections.
Thanks for all the responses. I did email the hotels and they don't open up for reservations for next May until September 2019 sometime. Wish their websites would just show not booking vs. no availability.
I also try to book the Ambassador for late May.
Email them and got respond check back to us in November
Been going to Amsterdam annually for years. Both are nice and only 20 minutes apart. I prefer Haarlem as it's just like Amsterdam, but with fewer tours. I also prefer B and Bs over hotels; Trip Advisor lists them. For the best experience, split your stay between them.
I very much enjoyed the Corrie Ten Boom house in Haarlem. Read book or watch movie first. I liked it better than Anne Frank house.
For our 21 day tour we chose to stay in Amsterdam for 2 nights at Hotel Brouwer. It was a very old building (circa late 1600's) on the Singel canal. We loved this place and the views, however, you will spend a decent amount of time in Amsterdam on this tour and staying in Haarlem will be much more relaxing! I wished we had had time to see the Corrie ten Boom house in Haarlem. I read her book and took a "virtual tour" of the house from the website but I am sure it wasn't the same! In any case, this was our first tour in 2015 and it was a wonderful tour to get you addicted to Europe ;)