Amsterdam with baby advice please!

Jun 8th, 2009, 07:17 PM
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Amsterdam with baby advice please!

My husband and I are taking our (then) five month old to Amsterdam in late July (we figure she'll be easier this year than when she can voice more of an opinion - wish us luck!). We'll be on the ground for 6 days, flying both in and out of Amsterdam. Hoping you Fodorites can help with the following:

1. It seems like "normal" people take about 3 days to "do" Amsterdam, which makes me think six days with baby should be just about right, including a day trip to Haarlem. Before I book hotel, do you think I have too much time, and should do an overnight trip somewhere, or is everything close enough that I can just do day trips if we get bored?

2. Any ideas for a good Amsterdam hotel that would provide a crib and otherwise be reasonably baby-friendly? Hoping to spend no more than $200/night ($150 better) but I understand it's high season and the dollar's still not so hot...

Thanks in advance for your help!
alyssabc is offline  
Jun 8th, 2009, 07:21 PM
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1. I'd spend the whole time in Amsterdam. Plenty to see and do, and you'll enjoy taking things easy with the baby along.

2. Forget the idea of a hotel entirely and rent an apartment. Lots of great options in Amsterdam.
Therese is offline  
Jun 8th, 2009, 08:54 PM
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Thanks Therese!

Nice to get confirmation on the itinerary.

You know, I've just never rented an apartment before when traveling. If I'm not really interested in a kitchen (probably TMI, but am nursing), is it worth it? Do most of them have housekeeping?
alyssabc is offline  
Jun 8th, 2009, 09:35 PM
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Personally, what I'd be most concerned with while traveling in Amsterdam with a nursing baby, is staying in a place that did not have steep, precarious stairs. So in most cases, that would mean staying in a modern hotel.

It would certainly be an advantage to have a separate room to place the baby when she's sleeping or napping, but if it were a choice between that and an elevator, I'd take the elevator.

I think that with a baby, you'd be okay with Priceline, particularly if you are okay with the baby sleeping with you. I'd take a look at and read up on how to bid for a 4* or 5* hotel in the City Central/Museum Quarter zone (not any other). I think most if not all 4* or 5* hotels would offer cribs, but possibly for an extra fee.

With or without a baby, there are no shortage of things to do in Amsterdam and the surrounding area, so six nights should be fine.
WillTravel is offline  
Jun 8th, 2009, 10:27 PM
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Just in case it isn't clear, I should add that if you find a reasonable apartment at this late date that does not have flights of steep, precarious stairs, then of course that would be a good option.
WillTravel is offline  
Jun 8th, 2009, 11:05 PM
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I recommend that you stay in Haarlem for 6 days and do day trips to Amsterdam, The Hague, and Zandvoort. The hotel Lion D'Or is across the street from the train station. There are cheaper hotels in the center of town, about a 10 minute walk, and a couple of other upper class hotels. Train service to Amsterdam is frequent and takes less than 20 minutes. Bus 300 from Schiphol airport drops you in front of Haarlem station in 45 minutes. Buy a Strippenkaart for the bus and Amsterdam trams at the airport tourist office. It is valid throughout Holland for buses and trams, but not trains.

Traveling with baby requires a lot more baggage. Bring the pampers or pay dearly in Holland. You might want to bring a portable baby crib. We had one with net siding and loved it. You also need something for baby to sit in in public places. I forget what they are called. Be prepared for plenty of attention. The Dutch people love to giggle with babies. Don't worry about nursing in public places. It is common and acceptable.
spaarne is offline  
Jun 9th, 2009, 12:41 AM
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Do not bring Pampers for the entire trip. You can always find them on offer in various stores. Albert Heijn has them on offer one week, the next week it will be one of the drug stores such Kruidvat or Etos. If you look around a bit you will find them on offer, whichever make you use. You will have enough luggage without a weeks worth of diapers!
I would stay in Amsterdam with a baby - so you can go back to your hotel easily if you or your baby needs a break, without having to get a train/bus every time. Most modern hotels have an elevator, which will be essential for you, and will offer cribs, often just a fold up one like Spaarne describes, but better than nothing. You will probably have to bring your own bedding for it but check that on booking.
Have a great trip!
hetismij is offline  
Jun 9th, 2009, 03:13 AM
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I'd still go for an apartment, even if stairs are involved. Chances are good that a baby or two has been carted up and down those very same stairs over the years, and everybody likely survived the experience. And since your husband is with you you won't be managing the stairs on your own.

I nursed both of my kids and it makes traveling much, much easier: less gear and if the baby is still exclusively nursing fewer diapers or at least fewer unpleasant one (waaaay TMI for somebody who hasn't been there, I'm guessing).

Apartments don't generally have housekeeping, so if that's what you're looking for then I'd definitely choose a hotel. I actually despise hotel housekeeping, as they're forever expecting me to get out of the room at precisely the moment that I want to be in it, and if I'm traveling with an infant I'm going to be more interested her schedule than the housekeeper's. Because an apartment's bedroom will be separate from the living space you'd likely find that the bed not being made perfectly isn't as jarring as it would be if in a hotel, and you've also got enough room to keep suitcases, etc. from being under foot.

Also consider the fact that a washing machine (often included in apartments) may come in handy, and the layout of an apartment means that you and your husband can stay up while the baby sleeps.

And even if you don't plan to cook at all, having a kitchen makes it easy to stay in for a takeaway meal from a restaurant or Albert Heijn.
Therese is offline  
Jun 9th, 2009, 03:20 AM
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I agree w/much that has already been said. Having been there done that, I would also opt for an apartment & buy what you need when you arrive. Although we have also traveled w/a pack'n'play & stuffed it w/diapers in some instances. The main thing is to try & stay on the babys' schedule, although at that age, they can probably sleep just about anywhere. We have pics of our daughter sleeping on just about every park bench in the whole of Paris, @ about 16 months old. Enjoy ! Small children open up many doors in Europe that you may otherwise have missed. They also encourage conversation.
SAnParis2 is offline  
Jun 15th, 2009, 08:17 AM
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Thank you so much for all the great advice... this is definitely going to be an adventure and a new way to travel!

I think I'm leaning back towards hotel for ease with housekeeping, elevators, etc., and definitely in Amsterdam for stops back during the day. Any specific suggestions?
alyssabc is offline  
Jun 17th, 2009, 06:29 AM
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I stayed at the Movenpick on the waterfront a couple of years ago and quite liked it. Brand new at the time, entirely smoke free (even the bar), and a tram stop very nearby (the trams are terrific, by the way). It shows up frequently on Priceline bids, and any four/five star in that area would work.
Therese is offline  
Jun 19th, 2009, 12:56 AM
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Every thing is smoke free nowadays. Except the coffee shops and terraces.
hetismij is offline  
Jun 19th, 2009, 03:11 AM
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If you can afford it, I would try to get a suite at the hotel (2 rooms) or a one bedroom apartment (not studio) as it can be difficult if you are all in one room and the baby is sleeping. Having the extra room let's you shut the door and talk, eat, watch tv while the baby is napping or going to bed early.

Personally I prefer an apartment with a small child since it gives you some extra space which is nice when you are spending more time in the accommodations and have the extra gear. But I agree that a kitchen is probably not that big of a deal if you are still nursing (of course then you are probably hungry all the time)!
Sally30 is offline  
Jun 19th, 2009, 04:27 AM
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Great news re the more widespread application of non-smoking areas. Just one more thing to love about Amsterdam.
Therese is offline  
Jun 24th, 2009, 11:03 AM
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If it's not too late, have you considered a HOUSEBOAT? The scenery is wonderful and it's such a unique experience. I agree that the apartment stairs are VERY steep. We've stayed in 2 apartments - one with 3 floors, the other on 5th/top floor. We are in excellent shape and are very adventurous, but would NOT recommend the steep stairs to anyone with a baby/kids...unless it's ground level or you're a local that has navigated the crazy stairs since childhood. Even locals express how difficult it is to have a dog while living with stairs.

Your reasoning makes sense to stay on the hotel idea. We've stayed at Victoria (across from train station), American (Leidseplein), Marriott (Leidseplein) and Vondel Park Plaza (Vondelpark). All had pros & cons. Look them up and let me know if you have any specific questions.
DamBaby is offline  
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