May 18, 2015

The Netherlands: Where We Stayed

Note: I'm blogging from my new house today! So happy to be here, but phew, moving is not anything I want to do again anytime soon. I don't quite remember my back and legs hurting like this when we moved six years ago ;) I'll do a house tour soon! But for now, TRIP REVIEWS! 

Kinderdjik Windmills

We chose The Netherlands for our first trip to Europe together for quite a few reasons:
  • Windmills are fun
  • April is prime tulip season and well, tulips are pretty
  • It's one of the happiest places to live in the world and thus has the happiest people
  • Its cities are diverse and full of culture
  • Everyone there speaks English
  • Stroopwafels
  • Pannekoek
  • Emma and her lovely family there (best reason of all in my opinion)

As I mentioned previously, we decided to just focus on one European country for this trip. At first, it seemed a little silly to fly all the way to Europe and only see one country, but we were so glad we did. Not only did this decision allow us to relax more, but we feel like we were able to really absorb the culture of the Netherlands instead of just a taste of only one of its major cities. 

So where to begin?

As I do with most of my recent trip recaps, I'll start with the hotels. When planning our trip itineraries, Brandon always outlines the days' activities and I get to choose the hotels. I love this job! Since we stayed in three different cities, and we booked two hotels and one Air BnB. 

Things to Note About Netherlands Hotels
  • Prices vary by city. Amsterdam hotels are expensive. If you want a decent one, prepare to spend at least €280/night (which is why we went with Air BnB, more below). Rotterdam was reasonable at €165/night for a top hotel and upgraded room and Maastricht ran us about €220/night for a really unique hotel. The Euro was pretty low when we went (bummer for them, great for us). 
  • For some reason, all of the showers there do not have shower curtains or doors. This makes for a very wet bathroom if you aren't careful, but we didn't have a problem with it.  
  • My husband would like to point out that the distance from the toilet seat to the bottom is much greater in Europe. He finds this fascinating. I have no opinion. 
  • Wifi was generally free and fast. 
  • Depending on where you are staying, you may not have access to an elevator and the stairs in this country are STEEP STEEP STEEP (this was only the case for our Air BnB). I am so glad I just packed a carry-on. Well, Brandon was glad at least. 
Also note that I completed Trip Advisor reviews for each of our hotels and I'll link to those below.

Rotterdam, Hotel New York

Hotel New York

Emma and her family really enjoy the restaurant at this hotel and highly recommended that we stay there. We booked without hesitation and are so glad we did! This hotel used to be the administration office that supported the ships crossing the Atlantic to New York (hence the name), carrying passengers immigrating to the New World. That alone makes this place the coolest hotel ever, but once we stepped inside, we were even more pleasantly surprised.

Hotel New York

The room was spacious (for Europe) and had the most spectacular view! We upgraded to a waterfront room and it was well worth the extra euros. At night we'd leave the blinds open and just sit and watch the boats move about the harbor. 

History, great view and...the most comfortable beds! Easily top three beds we've ever slept on. Maybe it was pure exhaustion from our red eye, maybe it was jet lag...but these beds were absolutely heavenly. I just mush into a puddle of "ahhhs" thinking about them.

From Hotel New York looking towards downtown Rotterdam. 

Technical stuff: this hotel is by the harbor and looks towards the city of Rotterdam, so it's not in the city center, meaning it's much more quiet. It's an eight minute walk to the tram or subway station, or just a 15-20 minute walk over the bridge to the city. We walked it a few times and the views are great. There's an elevator. They serve breakfast in the morning (heard it was good, but never had an appetite for it - darn jet lag).

Hotel New York

Overall: loved this hotel. No need to research any other hotels if you are going to Rotterdam...stay here!

Maastricht, Kruisherenhotel


We went from staying in an old administration building to a old monastery. The Dutch do a great job of repurposing their old structures and keeping the history alive. 

This was "splurge" hotel as it's pretty much a castle. From the moment we stepped into this hotel, we were kind of in awe. No, definitely in awe. The mix between modern and old was beautifully done.

The service here was beyond excellent. We don't often stay in places where they have bellhops who show you to your rooms. It's awkward for us, but aren't most things?


Our room was modern, but had this old photo mural on the wall. Kind of creepy, but definitely cool. I couldn't get the whole thing with my camera.

The bathroom had two sinks! I know that sounds pathetic to most of you, but humor me. We live in California, where luxuries such as this are only afforded to the billionaires. Anyway, fancy bath: check! (The water closet was entirely separate, which I loved).


Overall: There were a few things about the hotel that weren't exactly up to par (mostly about our room location in particular), but I wrote more about those in my TA review. Otherwise, top notch place and we'd love to stay again.

Amsterdam, Air BnB on Vondelpark

Amsterdam Air BnB

Like I mentioned above, nice hotels in Amsterdam are expensive. We searched and searched and finally it occurred to me to check out Air BnB. We totally lucked out and found Rianne's apartment just steps from Vondelpark and within walking distance (20 minutes) to downtown Amsterdam. 

Look at this apartment, you guys! It's beautiful.

Amsterdam Air BnB

Amsterdam Air BnB

It had a one bedroom loft at the top of the stairs and a sink and shower. The toilet was downstairs (I didn't drink water before going to bed), but I kind of loved that it was totally separate.

Amsterdam Air BnB

The shower was amazing! Definitely unique and had a spa-like experience.

Amsterdam Air BnB

Anyway, we had a view of the park and more space that we knew what to do with. I felt like we got a true sense of what it's like living in Amsterdam by going the Air BnB route.

Amsterdam Air BnB

So yeah, stairs. It's not a huge deal to the Dutch, but this girl is terrified of heights and I had myself convinced I was going to break an ankle on these stairs. But, it's all apart of the experience! By our second night, I was only using one hand to descend. What can say? I'm quite the dare-devil.

Overall: If you want to truly experience how the locals live in Amsterdam, definitely go with an Air BnB. Such a fun experience!

So that concludes the Netherlands hotel tour! I'm excited to tell you about each city we visited, the amazing food, and the tulips and windmills (of course, right?). Stay tuned!

1 comment:

  1. Awesome!! :D Your Hotel New York room was so amazing indeed! But then, that whole place just rocks! The picture on the wall at Kruisherenhotel creeped me out as well ;) I don't know how you guys slept in that room.. I would've been scared to close my eyes ;)

    Can't wait for the other posts! ...Even though I pretty much already know what happens ;)


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