We wanted to squeeze a bit of everything out of Amsterdam: as a second time visitor to this striking city, travelling with a few first-timer friends, we were curious about all the clichés, but also keen to sit back and soak up its atmosphere, along with some Dutch beer, of course… preferably right by a canal. Stayokay Amsterdam Stadsdoelen was spot on.
“Style and comfort without costing the earth”
Without much spare time on our hands, we were looking for a hostel with maximum comfort, friendly atmosphere and central location, without costing the earth. In that style typical of Amsterdam’s canal houses, Stadsdoelen hostel is sandwiched between two other tall, gabled buildings but manages to open out into a surprisingly modern, spacious reception area. It’s like Mary Poppins’s handbag, with more friendly faces and less ugly carpeted furnishings. Expect warm welcomes from the knowledgeable, efficient staff, signature minimalist orange décor and a helpful noticeboard with handwritten local recommendations.
“the best of both worlds, around the corner from the red light district, on the edge of a quiet backwater”
If you’ve been to Amsterdam before, you’ll know that around the corner from a cobbled street filled with lively bars and the surreal sight of women in windows, there’s a cute church and a secluded spot of nature. It’s a blend of history, urban flair and uniqueness which Stadsdoelen embraces down to a tee.
You can start your day at the hostel with a serene view of the Amstel canal over your complimentary breakfast of multiple breads, cheeses, sweets, meats and coffee. Turn left along the canal and you have a good walk along some of the city’s loveliest waterways to the Heineken Experience, and a little neighbourhood called De Pijp which our friends from the city led us to – filled with independent eateries, watering holes, and a new favourite restaurant called Bazar (Albert Cuypstraat 182, 1073 BL) .
Turn right and hit Nieuwmarkt within five minutes, one of the oldest parts of Amsterdam where a daily market is held and you can spend a few hours browsing interesting stalls and shops, or watching the world go by from a café. In the surrounding lanes, you’ll find yourself wandering through the Red Light District and among some excellent buzzy bars around Leidseplein come sundown, with no hostel curfew to hurry back to.
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“clean, spacious rooms with canal views”
When you walk into a hostel dorm, you instantly know whether you’re going to be snuggling up happily or wriggling in your sheets in a state of unrest. Stadsdoelen’s 10 bed dorms are clean, spacious, and ours had a canal view; not bad to wake up and stretch to in the morning. Stay connected with WiFi throughout the building, and security here is excellent too, as I found out through forgetting my key card and being locked out of my room multiple times.
“free breakfast, coffee on tap and ridiculously cheap beer”
After a day walking around the city and scaling the huge Rijksmuseum, a token for a discounted local brew in the hostel bar was a welcome bonus. The bar and lounge area has character, with bare brick walls, a dismantled harp on the wall and a panoramic view of the canal from the huge window.
You can see at breakfast time that this hostel is consistently bustling with backpackers, and we can understand why.
A few reasons you should stick with Stayokay in the Netherlands:
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