Name any alternative contemporary artist or band and you can be pretty sure they stayed at the BackStage Hotel. No wonder: it’s perfectly suited for musicians and music lovers alike. The Backstage Bar is stuffed with guitars, lamps disguised as saxophones and drums, a pool table and—of course—Guitar Hero gear. The blackboard paneling and out of tune piano are filled from top to bottom with artist’s autographs and drawings. With 22 rooms, all equipped with an iPod docking station, The BackStage Hotel is of modest size, which makes for a very personal experience.
Opened after renovation in 2004, The Lloyd Hotel claims to be ‘the first 1-to-5 star hotel in the world’. Say what? Yes, the hotel offers 1-star rooms with shared bathroom, luxurious 5-star suites and everything in between. Located in the eastern part of the city center and housed in a freestanding monumental building dating from 1921, the Lloyd used to be a temporary accommodation for immigrants, a wartime prison and a detention center for troublesome youth before it was transformed into a hotel by architect firm MVRDV. Each of its 117 rooms was redesigned by famed Dutch designers like Marcel Wanders and Piet Hein Eek.
Being the hotel that won Tripadvisor’s Trendiest Hotel in the World Award two years in a row, citizenM Amsterdam City sure has a reputation to uphold. Located on the edge of town, it has no less than 215 rooms, each with an extra large bed, wall-to-wall windows, a MoodPad to control lighting and music, and an eye-catching transparent rain shower unit. Not to mention the free on-demand films which can keep you locked in for as long as you like.
Part of urban-renewal project ‘The Red Carpet,’ Hotel The Exchange is located right between Amsterdam Central Station and Dam Square. The concept was thought up by the initiators of the Lloyd Hotel & Cultural Embassy. Just like its big brother, The Exchange is a 1-to-5 star hotel, with the amount of stars referring to the room size and amenities. There’s a good reason why The Exchange, housed in three buildings on the Damrak (the oldest dating back to the 17th century), refers to its rooms as being ‘dressed like models’: the interior of each of the 61 rooms—with beautiful names like “Hide and Seek,” “History Repeated,” and “Odd Room”—is designed by students of the Amsterdam Fashion Institute.
Opened in 2011, The Manor Hotel is housed is a monumental, freestanding former hospital in Amsterdam-Oost. With a tram stop at its doorstep, this haven of peace and tranquility is only minutes away from the city centre, while at the same time offering the opportunity to explore a part of the city that’s often (and wrongfully so) ignored. Buy some groceries at the cozy yet chaotic Dapper Market, marvel at the monkeys in Artis Zoo, have lunch at one of the many nearby café’s, or stroll through the Oosterpark—it’s all there.
Opened in 2008 and housed in four monumental, early 19th century apartment buildings, everything about Hotel V exudes elegance: from the dark wood décor of the 48 rooms to the hotel’s large lobby with its impressive round fireplace. In this space, you can enjoy an energy rich breakfast with organic and fair trade products in the morning, but also have a drink and a bite in the afternoon or evening. Coffee and tea are on the house in this eco-friendly hotel that’s been awarded a Golden Green Key certificate in 2010.
Located within a stone’s throw from Amsterdam Central Station, the DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel is one of the largest hotels in town, with 553 rooms. Recently built on the Oosterdokseiland, next to Amsterdam’s public library and music school, the hotel overlooks the IJ River on one side, and the historic city center on the other. Although each room has floor-to-ceiling windows, the views are most spectacular from the 11th floor Sky Lounge. Those with fear of heights can enjoy their coffee, cocktail or meal at the ground floor City Cafe and Lobby Bar.
Built as a hospice in the late 1890s, the property that’s now known as Hotel Arena underwent several transformations in the 20th century. During World War II, one part of it functioned as shelter for Belgian refugees, another as the baby delivery department of the nearby OLVG Hospital. In the 1980s it ceased functioning as a nursing home and the city of Amsterdam decided to move the Rozengracht Sleep-In to this building in the eastern part of the city center, attracting the likes of Iggy Pop and Oasis. In 2002, Hotel Arena officially opened its doors, incorporating the ToStay hotel, the ToNight club (housed in a former church chapel), the ToDrink bar, and the ToDine restaurant, which is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Housed in a renovated 19th century secondary school since 2005, The College Hotel is a teaching hotel where students of various hotel management schools are trained to work in the hospitality industry, under the supervision of hotel professionals. In its opening year, The College Hotel won the prestigious Prix Villegiature for ‘Best Interior Design in a Hotel in Europe.’ The 40 rooms are individually designed and range from Luxury Rooms to Suites. The building, beautifully lit by night, accommodates a restaurant in the school’s former gym, where both men in suits discussing business and couples getting ready for another day of exploring Amsterdam can enjoy ‘international dishes, rooted in the Dutch culinary tradition.’