How to choose a hotel for your first visit to Amsterdam

How to choose a hotel for your first visit to Amsterdam

Going to Amsterdam for the first time? If you are not familiar with the city yet, you might be confused by the huge choice of hotels that the Dutch capital has. We’re here to help you make up your mind. Before you book the hotel that best suites you, you must decide on several things.

What’s the aim of your visit?

The pleasant thing about visiting Amsterdam is that most of its attractions, whether it’s historic sights, bustling nightclubs, upscale restaurants or shops, are concentrated within the inner canal belt. This area is rather compact is size, that’s why whatever spot you choose for your accommodation, most curiosities are a stone’s throw from your place. But let’s have a better look on the most important touristy areas of the city.

The Dam Square and Museumplein: a culture vulture’s paradise

NH Grand Hotel KrasnapolskyThose who arrive to Amsterdam just can’t avoid the Damrak street, with the Central Station found on its one end, and the Dam Square – on the other end, some 10 minutes walk from the Station. The Dam Square is the heart of Amsterdam, and it’s here that the National Monument and the Royal Palace stand. The Gothic Nieuwe Kerk church and Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum are waiting for you a few steps from here. There are many high-end restaurants, cafes and hotels found in the area. However, accommodation on the Dam may be overpriced.

Hotels near the Dam Square:

A must-see spot for those who want to get an insight into the history of art is the Museumplein. The best known Amsterdam museums are found on this square: the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh Museum, the Stedelijk Museum and The Concertgebouw. But note that getting to the centre from this square requires some time. The advantage of this location is quietness. Besides, you are more likely to find a cheaper room here.

Hotels near the Museumplein:

Shopping for specialties and getting inspired at the Jordaan

The Jordaan, an area west of the Central Station, is one of the best known Amsterdam neighborhoods. Tourists and locals go here to get inspired by art, relax at charming inner courtyards, visit one of the numerous art galleries and buy something special at local shops. Don’t miss a visit to local markets - the Lindenmarkt and the Noordermarkt. The most important cultural attractions in the area are Anne Frank’s house and the Westerkerk. However, there are not many hotels to choose from as this is mainly a residential neighborhood.

Hotels near the Jordaan:

Hunting for bargains at The Nine Streets and the Kalverstraat

Speaking of shopping, the most popular city shopping area is called the Nine Streets. It is found in a scenic location between the canals just some minutes’ walk from the Jordaan. Boutiques, vintage stores and atmospheric cafes are the magnet for every visitor that comes to the Nine Streets.

Hotels near the Nine Streets area:

The Kalverstraat is a home to a great number of shops you expect to see at a European capital. Mexx, Esprit, H&M, the pricey store Maison de Bonneterie and many other shops stand on this pedestrian-only street which starts at the Dam Square and ends at Muntplein Square.

Hotels near The Kalverstraat:

Partying at the Red Light District and the Leidseplein

The party people arriving to Amsterdam head to the Red Light District and the area around the Central Station in the first place. Most popular hostels are concentrated here. The Central Station is found some 750 meters from the Dam Square, that’s why you’ll also easily find luxurious hotels in the vicinity. For example, check the Sofitel the Grand which is close both to cultural and youthful areas of Amsterdam.Flying Pig Downtown

Popular hostels in Red Light District:

The more upscale and chic nightclub area is the Leidseplein in the south of the central canal ring. This part of Amsterdam teems with highly rated restaurants, cafes and such famous nightclubs as the Paradiso and the Melkweg. But despite its lively atmosphere, most of the Leidseplein hotels occupy quiet streets that are perfect for an after-party rest.

Check these hotels near the Leidseplein:

What’s your budget?

Whether you want a luxurious hotel in Amsterdam or a more budget option, you’ll easily find what you’re looking for. Just note that hotels in some areas tend to get pricier due to their prestigious location.

For example, the area near the Dam Square contains some expensive hotels (The NH Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky and Swissotel). Hotels near the Jordaan (Pulitzer, The Dylan) are on the expensive side, too. Check the hotels’ discounts and bargains before you book one of these.

But head to the other end of the Damrak, and you’ll find yourself in a backpacker’s paradise. The area around the Central Station and the Red Light District is swarming with budget lodgings. Beds offered at local hostels could cost you no more than €14. Check out the Flying Pig, the Bulldog and the Heart of Amsterdam hostels. Some of them even offer private rooms, suites and apartments. Just be prepared to stay up all night as the hostel atmosphere isn’t suitable for a quiet rest.

But in fact there is no need to go into extremes and choose between luxurious rooms and dorms. Many 2-star and 3-star hotels offer great value, basic amenities and location close to the central area. Of course most of them aren’t right on the Damrak, but they’re still pretty close to everything you want to see. Note that perhaps a 10-15 minute ride to the centre will be necessary.

Some of the hotels with good price/location ratio are:

Something for everyone

What kind of hotel atmosphere do you long for? Luxury and elegance? Fun and youthfulness? Artistic? Futuristic? There’s something for everyone in Amsterdam. For example, the stunning Lloyd Hotel and Cultural Embassy in the Eastern Docklands area is set within the former prison and is simply filled with art. Sofitel will make you feel like a king. QBic, with its qubi rooms and self-service concept, is like getting into future. And the Bulldog hostel gives you the taste of the rebellious Amsterdam. 

Finding a proper hotel at is easy. Just choose the dates, price range, property type and the area you want to stay at. You can also choose a hotel location closer to the desired attraction. Good luck and have a good stay!

Author Jenna Fish