on August 10, 2011
My partner and I recently returned to Amsterdam, a city we love, for a week long summer holiday. We spent some time on various websites comparing hotel prices and locations, trying to find one in a good spot which suited our budget. We found the Hotel Casa 400 quite suddenly on booking.com, and decided to go ahead and book straight away. The price for seven nights was around £580 – the website claimed that at full price this should be £1600, so it seemed like a great bargain. We also had to pay a small amount of local tax at the hotel, which was under €30.The Casa 400 is located close to Amstelstation. We had looked at maps before travelling, but it is clearly signposted from the station, and is only five minutes walk away. We travelled to Amstel from Schipol airport by mainline train, changing at Amsterdam Centraal. Amstel is also served by the Metro, a tramline and various buses. Unfortunately during our stay the Metro was closed, so we used the tram, changing in order to get to the city centre, and the replacement bus service – which was surprisingly quick to Centraal station.Check in at the hotel was quick, easy and pleasant. The hotel foyer seemed quite busy with guests and staff, but we did not have to wait to check in. The member of staff who dealt with our check in was very friendly and polite, chatting away to us in perfect English. He gave us a city map and a swipe card key for the room, and directed us to the elevators.Our room was on the sixth floor. On opening the door, we immediately recognised the style of the room from the photos on the hotel website. There was a large double bed, two chairs, bedside cabinets, and a long shelf/desk across the width of the room-wide window. There was a wardrobe with coathangers and a fan heater (which we didn’t need during our stay), a coffee making area with kettle, mugs and coffee/tea/sugar, and underneath this was a fridge. The fridge came in very handy during our stay, for chilling soft drinks and real milk. The room was clean and very well presented.The room was fairly basic in terms of decor, but it was perfectly adequate for us. The bed was comfortable, it was two twin bases pushed together but with a double mattress, which meant I didn’t end up sleeping in a gap. The shelf along the window was ideal for laying the suitcase on – not that we managed to keep everything tidy in the case, but at least we had plenty of space to make a mess on!The bathroom was also very nice. We were provided with two bath towels and two hand towels, and could leave these on the floor any day we wanted fresh ones. The hotel supplied two types of shampoo/shower gel, as well as hand soap. The bathroom was very modern in style, and I was particularly taken with the shower – it was a shower cubicle, there was no bath, and the cubicle had double doors, like a cupboard. The shower itself wasn’t very powerful, in fact I got a surprise from our shower at home after a week of a very weak shower, but it did the job. The only problem with the bathroom was the sink – the tap was very low and did not move, so it was really hard to rinse soap and toothpaste if you got them on the sink out of the direct flow of the tap.The view from the room was over a building site, but we could see the nearby canal. There wasn’t much activity on the building site during the whole week we were there, but the hotel had thoughtfully provided earplugs just in case.Housekeeping did a good job of cleaning the room, but there were a couple of days when they didn’t come in – perhaps we hadn’t left for the day when they wanted to clean. I did however notice the same problem as I had during our last trip to Amsterdam, when we had stayed in a different hotel – mugs were not washed if they were left with any coffee/tea in them. I find this really bizarre, surely they don’t think that we want that manky cold coffee? But as this has happened in two hotels, I’m wondering if this is standard housekeeping practice and it is my lack of experience with hotels which means I am noticing it. At least they didn’t replace the hand soap every day.The ground floor of the hotel has a large foyer, which has communal seating areas where there often seemed to be people working with laptops – as there was free wifi in the room, we did not use this. There were also vending machines selling snacks and drinks. As well as the reception desk there was a small kiosk which was open from 8.30am-11.30am selling coffee and breakfast snacks such as donuts – and very good donuts they were too! The ground floor also housed a bar, which we did not visit, while the restaurant and breakfast are were on the first floor. We visited the restaurant only for takeaway coffee, and we did not try breakfast at the hotel. It was not included in our room rate, and would be €15 each – we preferred to eat elsewhere in the city for less.The Casa 400 suited us perfectly - it was not a long journey into the city centre, there was a canal nearby to stroll along, and most important, it was clean and comfortable. It is a hotel I would recommend, and one I would happily return to.
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