Just a two-minute walk from the NDSM ferry stop, this retro docked cruise ship attracts budget travelers with its tiny, basic, gently priced rooms. Best suited to young groups, some rooms include bunks or up to three single beds. Recently, quirky rooms were added within each gigantic "letter" of the BOTEL sign perched atop the ship.
YOU SHOULD KNOW While you’re fairly central−opposite Centraal Station on the other side of the river−Amsterdam Noord is still a bit like staying in Staten Island, in that you’re dependent on the (free) ferry. All this will change once the new northern metro line becomes operational in 2018.
Standard guest rooms are super basic with none-too-comfy cabin style beds but do have private bathrooms, free WiFi, a safe and satellite TV with free in-house movies. Decorated by various international designers, the new “Loftletter” rooms perched on top of Botel offer amazing views and quirky features like a halfpipe for skaters (“B”), a large screen for streaming films from the nearby Eye Film museum (“E”) or a round bed (“O”) with river views.
Ask for a river-facing room
Private bathrooms are as small as a closet and equipped with a shower, toilet and hairdryer.
Not much to speak of, but there is a 24-hour reception.
Breakfast is served in a cheery but dated black-and-red restaurant.
Guests can also meet other travelers at the bar with its pool table, pinball machine, and jukebox or on the roof deck.
The Botel is moored on the northern bank of the IJ-River at the NDSM Wharf, once a shipyard now a melting pot of everything that is hip, arty or edgy in Amsterdam. You can grab a ferry to Centraal Station nearby or explore all that Noord has to offer.
Restaurant-café De IJkantine, situated in the former NDSM shipyard dockworkers’ canteen, is a good place for a sandwich or bar snack (2-minute walk), while steakhouse Loetje aan’t IJ (6-minute walk) has quite a devoted local following. Urban beach hang-out Pllek (6-minute walk) offers organic, mostly vegetarian food in a charming setting made from recycled shipping containers (what else?).
With its good selection of local craft beers, Pllek’s also a good place to go for a drink, but don’t miss the cultural cocoon that is café-restaurant Noorderlicht (9-minute walk), a hippie canteen with views for days, nearby.
WHY WE LIKE IT
The quirky new “Loftletter designer rooms” offer something singular for an affordable price.