Best Area to Stay in Amsterdam

Old Dec 27th, 2014, 11:57 AM
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Le Coin is in a nice corner of Amsterdam. Doelenstraat is wonderful: the university complex just off the street from it has Crea Cafe, but is also the entrance to Ouderzijds Achterburgwal (the nice part of it anyway) and Oudemanhuispoort, which is as beautiful as it gets in Amsterdam. This always used to be The University. Bij Nader Inzien (In Second Instance), J.J. Voskuil's "existential novel" is set in that location almost entirely, it's the biotope of a group of students immediately after the war.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obuCOGqL1Lw

(Critic Renate Rubinstein said of Voskuil's novel that it could have been half the length, had the protagonists not insisted on rolling their own cigarettes)

But again, off the number 2/5 tram through route, so getting to Vondelpark or Museumplein is a bit of a walk, although trams to De Pijp and Plantage are good from that spot (9, 14, 16, 25)

@Tabernash2 Almost opposite from you, in Hotel De Doelen, Empress Elisabeth of Austria stayed for a couple of days. She maintained a gruelling health regime, almost starving herself to death. She brought her own gym, to be installed in a second hotel room. But most of all she walked extremely long distances. During her stay in Amsterdam she walked to Haarlem and back in a day. (about 40 km)
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Old Dec 27th, 2014, 12:00 PM
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menachem, thanks for the info on Empress Elisabeth. We walked into that beautiful hotel.

Actually, in Vienna, we stayed at the Hotel Kaiserin Elisabeth. A wonderful boutique hotel right near the Stephensdom.
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Old Dec 27th, 2014, 12:19 PM
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I believe there's a plaque commemorating the whole thing in the Doelen lobby.

And of course de Doelen is the site of the "Kloveniersdoelen" which is where the Banninck Coqh Marksmen had their practice range (Doel = Target), who are the subject of Rembrandt's Nightwatch. In the painting they are "marching out", presumably from their hangout at the site of the present day hotel.
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Old Dec 28th, 2014, 11:57 AM
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Well, I was narrowing down my choices then ... I checked some of the "mystery hotel" websites (not sure if I can mention the names here) and there are what appear to be some VERY good deals.

(in the Royal Palaca/Central Station Area)
5* Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky for around $150/nt
4* or 4-1/2* nh Barbizon Palace for around $116/nt

(in the museum quarter)
4* Nh Amsterdam Center for around $92/nt.

Is one of these are more convenient area for walking access to Amsterdam's "must-sees?"

Thanks so much!
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Old Dec 28th, 2014, 12:41 PM
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oops ... "Is one of these AREAS ..." ??? ;-)
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Old Dec 29th, 2014, 10:19 AM
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I stayed in Krasnapolsky an Barbizon Palace: both are great, although Krasnapolsky would be my preference. Lots of history, and in Pijlsteeg, adjacent to it, there is Wijnand Fokkink, as authentic a gin tasting house as they get.

Barbizon is opposite Central Station, Krasnapolsky is on Dam Square, so public transport is excellent. Krasnapolsky gets you deeper into the thick of things.

NH Centre, on Stadhouderskade is very near Leidseplein, but also adjacent to the Vondelpark and near the big 3 museums, So for walking it would be the better choice I think. You are a bit further from the Canals, but you get Vondelpark in return.
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Old Dec 29th, 2014, 02:08 PM
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Thank you so much for your very helpful input. It sounds like there are pros and cons, but that I can't lose with any of these!
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Old Dec 30th, 2014, 08:01 AM
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Absolutely right. I'm a big fan of the areas surrounding Vondelpark. And they're worth a wander round in their own right. But if it's your first time, and you want to have a nice evening stroll around the canals, then Kras or Barbizon is better, Kras more so.

A few notes on the area: it borders on, but is not quite in, the Red Light district. Damstraat, which merges into Hoogstraat is around the corner from you: sleazier as you progress towards the RLD, but perfectly safe. However, parallel to the Rokin, there is Nes, with a number of cool cafe and dining options. My favorite of many years is Kapitein Zeppos, set in its own little courtyard (Gebed Zonder End/Prayer Without End), where they not only serve spanish inspired dinner but also host open microphone nights and bals chantants. If your stay coincides with one, go. It's a stricly local affair and fun for all. Other good places are Nes Cafe, Brakke Grond, Frascati.

Nes is one of the oldest streets in Amsterdam: in medieval times there were many monasteries here, but in the nineteenth century it became the centre of bohemian, artistic life.

http://www.zeppos.nl/
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Old Dec 30th, 2014, 08:56 AM
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TPAYT and others..
We loved our stay at Hotel Ambassade on the Herengracht Canal, near the 9 Streets shopping area and a short walk to Spui. We chose a room in the rear on the top floor overlooking the city rooftops but many prefer a canal view location. Breakfast was pricey but there are many small cafes nearby with wonderful breakfasts.
Amsterdam is one of our favorite cities.
We also liked the Jordaan neighborhood and used the trams to travel around the city.
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Old Dec 30th, 2014, 11:26 AM
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Last May we stayed near Herenstraat, between two of the canals in the inner ring, just east of Jordaan and not far south of the train station. We stayed in an apartment and not a hotel. The neighborhood was nice, quiet, and felt very safe. It was convenient to the train station and walking distance to pretty much everything we wanted to see. We took the tram back from the Museumplein area once or twice when we were tired but otherwise walked. The only downside was that there weren't a ton of restaurants in the area, especially more casual ones.
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Old Dec 30th, 2014, 11:59 AM
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Strange though it might sound, the reason for that is that there are pockets between the canals that are still very much residential. Around Herenstraat is such an enclave. Some sections of Herengracht and Keizersgracht too. Even though it's changing now, not a few houses in the inner canal ring are in fact part of social housing projects.

Around Leliegracht are a couple of very good restaurants, likewise along Brouwersgracht and Haarlemmerstraat/dijk.
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Old Dec 30th, 2014, 12:44 PM
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It seemed very residential. For us it was worth the tradeoff to have to go farther away to eat because the neighborhood was nice and quiet, safe, and pretty. It's not that there weren't ANY restaurants--there were some, including a tasty Spanish place right near our apartment--just not a lot, and mostly small, more upscale places that required a reservation.
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Old Dec 30th, 2014, 01:18 PM
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For me, the corner of Prinsenstraat (the extension of Herenstraat towards Prinsengracht) and Prinsengracht will forever be the spot where Kees Bakels and Rosa Overbeek kissed, in the wonderful, early 20th century novel "Kees, the boy" by Theo Thijssen. Thijssens statue can be seen at the western end of Lindengracht, in the Jordaan, opposite Cafe Thijssen.

Kees' spirit is alive and well even today. Below, on youtube the "swimming pool step" races. The "swimming pool step" is an important element in the novel.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OLIoa1K3FA
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Old Jan 2nd, 2015, 12:51 PM
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I didn't care much for the Royal Palace/Central Station area to stay--to visit, yes. Preferred the Canal zone towards Jordaan (not sure that's an accurate description--anyway, I mean by the Ambassade, Estherea, Toren, etc.). But as others have said, there are pros and cons (mostly pros) to every area. I found Amsterdam eminently walkable/stroll-able, with much to see and enjoy everywhere.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2015, 06:08 PM
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Depends on where you go. South of Damstraat it's all nice, all the way to Waterlooplein in fact. And east of Jodenbreestraat/Nieuwmarkt is wonderful too. It's just Damrak/Dam and the Red Light District that's thoroughly horrible.
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Old Jan 2nd, 2015, 08:34 PM
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I have been reading this thread with much interest. What is the consensus then? Would a solo traveller feel safe in any of the above areas?
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 12:55 AM
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Answer: yes, anywhere.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 07:29 AM
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@Menachem - thanks for all your valuable information
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 08:21 AM
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you simply cannot go wrong with Torren or its sister property Sebastians...such a beautiful area on small canal but accessible to everything...so much nicer than the major commercial areas which are not at all attractive. Go for the small canal experience and you will have a great experience. Both of these hotels offer such excellent service and nice accommodations in a small boutique environment.
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Old Jan 3rd, 2015, 09:17 AM
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Yes, Toren's location is excellent.

A mnemonic device for remembering the order of Canals: from the outside in:

Piet Keeps High Shoes (Piet Koopt Hoge Schoenen)

Prinsengracht - Keizersgracht - Herengracht - Singel

house numbers start at the Brouwersgracht end.
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