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Help an Amsterdam First-Timer

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Sep 4th, 2012, 11:56 AM
  #1
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Help an Amsterdam First-Timer

We'll have five nights in Amsterdam in late March. This will be our first trip there, and we are excited to see the Van Gogh museum, the canals, the Anne Frank House, and the Rijksmuseum. A few questions:

1) Are we making a big mistake going to Amsterdam in late March? Cold, rainy, miserable?

2) If we take one day trip, where should we go? Or do you think maybe we should do three nights in Amsterdam in then go to another city nearby for two nights? (Bruges? Brussels? Somewhere else?)

3) We want a very luxurious hotel with a great location. Any suggestions?

Thank you SO much for your help!
brook33003 is offline  
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Sep 4th, 2012, 01:27 PM
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1. I've only been in the summer, but it looks like several of the things you are planning to do are inside, so it won't matter what the weather is. Also, cold and rainy doesn't always mean miserable - it can mean perfect weather for wearing cute, snuggly scarves and then ducking into cozy bars and restaurants to warm up with some tasty hot beverages.

2. We took a day trip to Delft, which we enjoyed very much. The Hague was another town we were considering, but the Echer museum there was closed for refurbishment, so we didn't go. With 5 nights, I would be inclined to spend them all in Amsterdam though rather than divide them up with Bruges or someplace else - I loved Bruges and Brussels though, and Antwep we just got the smallest taste which piqued our interest and made us want to see more. I would just hesitate to spread the trip too thin.

3. Hopefully someone else has a good suggestion for that.
november_moon is offline  
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Sep 4th, 2012, 01:41 PM
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We went in early April last year and it was fine. One option might be to visit the Keukenhof Gardens.

http://www.keukenhof.nl/

Photos and comments from our trip:

http://ukfrey.blogspot.co.uk/2012/04...amsterdam.html
indy_dad is offline  
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Sep 4th, 2012, 01:53 PM
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Amsterdam can be very cold in late March and it can be warm in late March.

I've been there in both kinds of weather. Ya pays your money and ya takes your chance.

If you go to the Keukenhof, try to go early and do not go on weekends. The main road in to Keukenhof is a traffic jam with seemingly 40-50 tour buses from Germany.

There is a back road into Keukenhof that I've taken, that avoids the traffic, and goes by several miles of tulip fields, one color next to another.

My favorite hotel in Amsterdam is the Owl Hotel,
http://www.owl-hotel.nl/gb/

It's about a 4 minute walk to the Leidesplein, less than a 10 minute walk to the Museumplein. Close to trams.

However, it's situated on a quiet street. Breakfast is included in the price, which is reasonable.
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Sep 4th, 2012, 02:07 PM
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The Rijksmuseum will be completely open then. The Van Gogh museum will be closed still. Some 75 of the paintings will be on display at the Hermitage Amsterdam though.
Visit http://www.vangoghmuseum.nl/vgm/inde...279602&lang=en for more information about this.

Make sure you book tickets for the Anne Frank house - even in late March the queues can be horrendous, and you don't want to be queuing in the rain or cold.

The weather could be cold and wet or it could be mild, sunny, snowy, - totally unpredictable, but Amsterdam has plenty of places to visit under cover.

Keukenhof will be open from March 21st and will have plenty of early flowering bulbs. Too early for tulips probably but the crocuses and daffodils make a wonderful display still.

The Escher museum in Den Haag is closed on Mondays. The Mauritshuis is also closed, but the paintings can be seen at the Gemeente Museum in Den Haag. Visit the Binnenhof and Panorama Mesdag too. You could combine Den Haag with Delft, especially if you are a Vermeer fan.

Consider also Haarlem, Utrecht and Rotterdam too as trips, though with only 5 nights don't try and fit in too much.

I can't recommend a hotel, but do be aware that Amsterdam has some of the most expensive hotel rooms in Europe - only Helsinki is more expensive I believe.
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Sep 5th, 2012, 03:58 PM
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Thanks for this, everyone! Does anyone else have a recommendation for a luxurious hotel with a great location? Thx!
brook33003 is offline  
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Sep 5th, 2012, 04:11 PM
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I always check out the hotel reviews on Trip Advisor for that. Lots of people post their reviews, so you generally get a good variety of opinions there.
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Sep 5th, 2012, 08:39 PM
  #8
kit
 
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Brugges is pretty special for first-timers. It would be tight, but...

Do you have 5 FULL days or are you arriving and departing on the front and back end of that, too. For me, I'd find 5 nights in Amsterdam too much.
kit is offline  
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Sep 6th, 2012, 07:53 AM
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Kit, we're not sure yet. We haven't booked yet. I know many say 5 nights in Amsterdam is overkill, which is why we are considering a day trip. But perhaps we should consider actually staying in another city for part of the time. What is interesting about Brugges to you? Thx!
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Sep 6th, 2012, 08:46 AM
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I would stay in Amsterdam all 5 nights myself. There's plenty to see and do there. My favorite part of the city to stay was around Leidseplein/Vondelpark area (instead of the central area around the Dam).

Sorry I only know shoe-string budget hotels (lol). -suze
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Sep 6th, 2012, 08:51 AM
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http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ite-things.cfm

My and others trip reports about Amsterdam, which I have been going to annually for decades - on business and certainly for pleasure!
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Sep 6th, 2012, 09:04 AM
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The two "luxury" hotels that I've heard the most about are the Intercontinental Amstel and the Hotel Pulitzer but I have never stayed at either one.

In April I was in Amsterdam for 4 days, we took a day trip to Delft which was fun and easy.
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Sep 6th, 2012, 10:06 AM
  #13
kit
 
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Brook, it's small, it's romantic, it's just "special" in that linger around and relax way. It is a place that you don't feel like you have a list of things to see to mark off a list. It is a place to hang a little bit more. You won't get "museumed-out" there, which can happen in bigger cities.
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Sep 6th, 2012, 10:16 AM
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What is your budget for the hotel? That will indicate the degree of luxury available to you.

The Amstel and Pulitzer are where visiting rock and film stars tend to stay .
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Sep 6th, 2012, 10:27 AM
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) Are we making a big mistake going to Amsterdam in late March? Cold, rainy, miserable?>

Well yeh except cool instead of cold - but it could be cool, wet but never IMO miserable at practically any time of year.

amsterdam IMO is weather proof though a much more pleasant place of course in fine weather as walking around this town to me is the number one sight!
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Sep 6th, 2012, 11:22 AM
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Stayed in the Pulizer - made up from a bunch of canal apartments which makes it a lttle rabbit warrenish, but has a nice garden and is well located in a quietish, quaint part of town. Of course I was getting 70% discount.
I like the Hotel Doelen.
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Sep 6th, 2012, 01:22 PM
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We stayed in the Hague 2 nights before biking to Amsterdam and totally enjoyed the vibe there. Really nice places to eat and shop and we loved the Escher museum. You are about 10 minutes from the coastal town of Schevenegen if you want to see the water. Do a canal cruise when you get to Amsterdam as it gives you a great overview of all the areas with a bit of narrated background as well.

http://www.expatica.com/nl/essential...gue-23203.html
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Sep 6th, 2012, 01:22 PM
  #18
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Ooh, the Pulitzer looks great. We are looking at the Sofitel Grand:
http://www.sofitel.com/gb/booking/hotels-list.shtml

My husband stayed there for a short business trip yrs ago, and he loved it. Anyone know anything about it? Tripadvisor reviews are good.
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Sep 12th, 2012, 07:23 AM
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The Pullitzer has a great name to it, but you should also look at the Okura Hotel, Krasnapolsky and L'Europe.
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Sep 12th, 2012, 07:29 AM
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http://www.fodors.com/community/euro...ite-things.cfm

An Amsterdam Thread I and others have contributed to. May be helpful?
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