I have just returned from a wonderful long weekend in Amsterdam. What a beautiful and engaging city it is!
Fodors site, of course, and many thanks to all for your advice, particularly PalenQ, who generously shared his/her extensive knowledge of the city. I also always have Fodor’s guide books at hand when planning a trip.
Eye Witness Guides Amsterdam: I love the pictures, and find these guides an easy way of targeting what I want to see.
Everyman Map Guides: Once you have done your planning, these are excellent little books to bring with you. They have easy to follow maps by city region, and the major sites, and provide restaurant recommendations, which are often quite good. I have one for every major city in Europe.
Hotels.com: I was delighted! I checked various sources for hotels, including the hotels’ own websites, and was impressed that this site always had the lowest rate, although sometimes the hotel itself might have a slightly lower rate. Always use multiple sources. I chose the wonderful Amrath hotel, and got a stunning rate for a five-star hotel.
Amrath Hotel Amsterdam:
I absolutely loved this gem. I travel a lot on business, and generally end up in very disappointing four-star business hotels. I had forgotten what it was like to stay in a five-star. OK, its not the Ritz, but for the price-point, it is quite lovely. Here is the review I posted on Hotels.com and Fodors:
This is simply a wonderful hotel, five minutes walk from the Central station. I had a deluxe room, which was large and beautifully decorated, with a large bathroom with both bath and shower. It was also spotlessly clean. The room was at the back of the hotel, so I did not have a 'view', but on the positive side it was very quiet. The hotel's décor is stunning and it has a very elegant restaurant. The staff is very friendly and efficient. I highly recommend it and will definitely stay there again.
Start of the Trip
I had spent the previous week in Dusseldorf on business, so it was only a 2.5 hours train ride to Amsterdam. I booked on the DB Bahn website – 59 Euros for a First Class ticket.
I arrived at Amsterdam Central Station with a big suitcase and a roll-on, and was quite embarrassed to take a taxi for the three-minute drive to the hotel. But, there was not a word of censure from the taxi driver – just an indication of how divinely polite the Dutch are . We chatted, and I apologized for the short trip. He said it was OK, and I doubled the fare, as was appropriate under the circumstances.
There was a very personal check-in experience, and then up to my room. I loved it. Gorgeous big bed with high-quality cotton sheets; ‘Arts & Crafts’ wallpaper; rather heavy furnishings, I probably would have designed it lighter; great big windows – the Dutch love the light; absolutely fabulous bathroom, with both bath and shower.
I could not resist the bath, and soaked in it for 20 minutes before setting off to the restaurant.
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