The hotel was relatively easy to find from Schiphol airport. Deciding taxis were too pricey at 40-50 euros each way, we followed the sign for buses and at stop B11, to the right of the IAMSTERDAM statue, caught the 197 bus to the Museumplein for 5 euros each. Confusingly, the Museumplein stop is actually outside the Concert-gebouw building on Van Baerlestraat! Fortunately, with a map and help from a lovely man in the Christian Book store, we discovered that by walking down the street, turning left into Nicolaas Maesstraat and following this to its junction with Hobbemakade, we would find the hotel. (This was a reasonable walk but as rain threatened on our return journey to the airport, we booked the Hotel Shuttlebus through reception for 17 euros each).
I had booked directly with NH Hoteles as they promised to match the best on-line prices and had informed the hotel that we would be visiting Amsterdam to celebrate my husband's birthday, so it was a lovely surprise to receive a complimentary upgrade to a superior canal-view room. Facilities included iron, ironing board, large safe, mini-bar, ice bucket, good size desk and chair and a flat screen TV was installed during our stay. The bathroom with a strong shower over the bath contained good quality bio-degradable toiletries with a lovely tangy citrus smell: shampoo, shower gel, soap and body milk but no conditioner.
Staff throughout the hotel were friendly and helpful. My only criticisms of the hotel would be the pillows – there was an extra one in our wardrobe but we did not find any of them comfortable – and the lack of storage space for clothes. We only had a rucksack each but I ended up rolling up our jumpers, t-shirts and underwear to store in the open shelf each side of the bed.
Breakfast buffet was delicious with a range of cereals with sprinkles of goji berries, chopped dried fruit, spelt, various chopped nuts, yogurts, fresh fruits; breads and cold cuts; bacon and scrambled eggs. Slightly expensive at 20 euros, if, like me, you can only manage a bowl of cereal in the morning, though it is reduced to 15 euros if booked in advance. The excellent coffee machine actually ground the beans before brewing. We took one dinner in the hotel restaurant which was pleasant enough, though choice was limited as the King's Day celebrations the day before had virtually emptied the larder. However, the hotel is just 5 minutes walk away from excellent restaurants all in the top 20 Tripadvisor recommendations for the area, such as the Pheun Thai (turn right down the Hobbemakade outside the hotel and it's just past the bridge); and the Balti House, Monteverde, Orontes and Juuls which are all to be found on Albert CuypStraat (turn right outside the hotel along Hobbemakade and then left across the bridge.)
You can actually see the Rijksmuseum from the hotel, and the Van Gogh and Stedelijk museums are close by, as are places to take canal trips and hop on hop off bus tours. The Heineken experience is also a short walk away. The nearby Vondelpark is a welcome oasis of greenery and the canals outside the hotel were full of waterbirds and their chicks during our spring visit. The tram to the Centraal Station stops just 2 minutes away down the Ruysdaelstraat. If you know where you want to visit, you can save money and time queuing by visiting Tours and Tickets who have a ticket shop in the square near the museums www.tours-tickets.com and buying combi-tickets. You may also save money by buying an IAMSTERDAM card which provides free travel on most public transport and free or discounted entry to many museums and attractions.http://www.iamsterdam.com/en-GB/experience/deals/i-amsterdam-city-card
Alternatively, the hotel has bicycles for hire and thought we were absolutely bonkers wishing to venture out on foot! I could soon see why – bikes rule and have the best pathways on the pavements whilst pedestrians dodge bollards, trees, bike parks and boat moorings on thin strips either side! If interested, please see my photo story on Exposure for pictures of our trip to Amsterdam and Keukenhof.