January 9, 2005
The entrance to this 60-bedded hotel was a little difficult with heavy suitcases, as we had to deal with a few steps, and once we’d struggled to reception, there were more steps to negotiate. Not surprising, I guess, as the hotel has been formed out of a number of 17th-century houses, and conversions of this type will always result in somewhat quirky accommodations.
We were dealt with efficiently at the hotel reception, and despite the fact that it was a busy time, the two receptionists were able to give everyone personal attendance without leaving anyone unattended. A great trick if you’re a hotel receptionist! The lobby is "compact," but there is a small seating area if you need to wait for service. A pamphlet rack provides a host of tourist information, and the receptionist will provide you with a complimentary map if you ask.
A miniscule lift took us slowly to the required floor, and if you are even remotely claustrophobic, this "cage" will reveal it. Our friend could never face the lift, and she could usually climb the stairs quicker than the lift could operate!
The bedrooms were huge but seemed sparsely furnished. Our friends had a small table and chairs in their room, so we tended to join them for a chat and to plan the next day. It was also fairly convenient to reminisce over the day’s activity and share a drink or two before retiring to bed. Our room, on the other hand, looked bleak, as if the removal men had been in the day before! It had the basics: a comfortable bed, a couple of chairs, a TV, and most critically, as far as my wife is concerned, a hair dryer. The view from the window overlooked the busy road, and I have to say that the noise factor in the early hours of the morning was quite significant—trams are noisy, despite what people may say.
The breakfast room is right down in the basement, and again, there are stairs to negotiate. I’m not saying that you need to be a mountain goat to get around this hotel, but you would truly struggle if you couldn’t manage stairs. Indeed, some of the staircases are quite steep and could be hazardous. The hotel only "does" breakfast, but this is a fairly lavish affair. I think seating would be a little tight if all the guests descended at the same time, but there was plenty to choose from in terms of eggs, meats, cheeses, breads, jams, and cereals. There was also no shortage of drinks and a very good selection of "do-it-yourself" teas.
From journal A great short week in Amsterdam