The last few weeks have been centred around working in Amsterdam, so I have been at the mercy of Dutch hotels. I keep meaning to write about some of the ones I’ve been using, but somehow the days have slipped by. So here are some thoughts.
It’s generally quite a civilised place to be, Amsterdam, although the excitement of the central parts of the city wore off for me many years ago. So I now tend to stay outside the centre and look for places that are quiet and clean with a decent bar. Having said that, I stayed in the Mint hotel recently and although I wasn’t much looking forward to it, because it’s right by the Central Station, I have to admit that grubby location and freezing fog apart, it was really quite pleasant.
What do you look for in a hotel? I suppose a useful place to start is with what you really hate about staying in hotels. I hate grubby rooms. I hate rooms with connecting doors. And I hate eating alone in restaurants. So when I find somewhere that ticks those boxes it’s good news. First of all the Mint is brand new and they hail it as an ‘exciting new international adventure’, well that’s quite a statement to live up to. But certainly the rooms are clean and bright. The design is quite minimalist, they call it contemporary, so only time will tell how the style fares after a few hundred nights of abuse. Bathrooms are a bit cramped but the showers are good. This is important when you’re greeting the world first thing in the morning after a heavy session in the bar the night before. Hopefully these guys will keep the maintenance programme up and the clean bright feel will stay. They will also need to pay attention to making sure the technology works. I would hazard a suggestion that equipping the rooms with iMacs could end up being an expensive choice. You need to be a moderately tech-savvy guest to make it all work. But for now it’s great and that number one of hotel rip-offs – the wi-fi Internet connection – is free.
The restaurant serves good food, well prepared and served by cheerful and clean-looking staff. It’s also a place that you don’t feel exposed in and service comes quickly so you can get in and out without fuss.
Yes, it’s definitely a high 7 out of 10 sort of place and would score even higher if it wasn’t in such a pit of an area. I didn’t try the Skylounge bar that was so highly recommended on check-in, because after a short pause for reflection, the receptionist did concede that there wouldn’t be much of a view due to the freezing fog. And they didn’t have those slippers that you get so you don’t have to touch the carpet with your bare feet. That would be a nice touch too.