Where to Stay in Amsterdam: Best Areas & Hotels, 2018
The majority of Amsterdam's top tourist attractions reside in its most central neighborhoods and can be easily reached on foot, although you may want to plan a walking route that avoids the innermost area, the infamous Red Light District. Surrounding this on both sides is the Centrum neighborhood, home to sites like the Begijnhof and the Royal Palace, and an ideal place to stay for sightseeing. Also centrally located is the Canal Ring, which does indeed form a semicircle that hugs the city center with its picturesque waterways; this is where you can find attractions like the West Church, The New Church, and Amsterdam Museum, as well as plenty of things to do like shopping at Kalverstraat. Beyond here to the west is the laid-back Jordaan neighborhood, known for its narrow streets and art galleries, as well as the Anne Frank Museum.
The Museum District, which sits just south of the city center, is home to top attractions like the Rijksmuseum, the Van Gogh Museum, and the Stedelijk. The rest of the city's most popular museums, including the Rembrandt House Museum, the Jewish Historical Museum, and the Museum of the Tropics (Tropenmuseum) are located in the large area known as Plantage & the East, which is also home to the Botanical Garden and Zoo. No matter which area you choose to stay in, be aware that Amsterdam cyclists are notoriously speedy and do not have a habit of slowing for pedestrians - plan your route ahead of time to avoid being distracted by a map or your GPS.
Where to Stay for Luxury
The Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam in the popular Canal Ring neighborhood is one of the city's most luxurious places to stay. The on-site Michelin-starred restaurant is excellent, and guests should not miss having high tea overlooking "Peacock Alley," where a pair of the stunning birds roam a large private garden. Rooms are large and bright with modern amenities, including a separate shower and soaking tub. Hotel amenities include an indoor pool, fitness center, spa, and full business facilities. The hotel sits within walking distance of the Museum Quarter.
The Ambassade Hotel is located in the Canal Ring close to the Begijnhof and enough shopping to keep you busy for days. The hotel is modern yet elegant with plenty of open space, including the high-ceilinged rooms, which are decorated in the Louis XV style and overlook the canals.
The more contemporary Luxury Suites Amsterdam retains Renaissance touches, like chandeliers and ornate patterns that are balanced with more modern artwork and furniture. This all-suite hotel features well-equipped kitchenettes, a fitness center, and modern amenities. Its location at the eastern edge of the Centrum neighborhood, by the Rembrandt House, makes it the perfect spot for visiting attractions in the Plantage & the East area while still being within an easy walk to the rest of the city's main attractions.
Where to Stay: Mid-Range
In the heart of the Museum Quarter and just one street over from the Van Gogh Museum, the Hotel Fita is a family-run boutique hotel that offers not only a complimentary hot breakfast but free laundry service as well. Although the hotel is small, the guest rooms are quite spacious and have cute extras, like a rubber ducky for the tub.
Hotel JL No76 sits just across the street in an 18th-century mansion that has been carefully restored and updated with the latest technology, offering guests complimentary use of an iPad, an iPod docking station, strong Wi-Fi, and an extensive DVD lending library.
Tourists will enjoy the hip, sophisticated atmosphere of Hotel Sebastian's, where the well-appointed rooms offer standard amenities, like mini-fridges and safes, as well as tea and coffee. It is located at the northern end of the Canal Ring, just a few blocks from the train station and amid a plethora of boutiques and small restaurants.
Where to Stay on a Budget
Although you will find that rooms tend to be on the small side, Amsterdam does have good budget options in a central location that allows you to get in more sightseeing. Hotel Nadia sits in the Canal Ring, near the edge of the Jordaan neighborhood, less than five minutes' walk to the Anne Frank House, yet is still very close to Dam Square and fun attractions like Madame Tussauds. Rooms are equipped with a safe, mini-fridge, tea and coffee facilities, and even a fresh vase of flowers picked from the hotel's small courtyard garden.
Just up the street, the Clemens Hotel has cozy rooms that are clean and updated and include breakfast, free Wi-Fi, and a mini-fridge. There is no elevator here, nor at Hotel La Boheme, an eco-conscious budget lodging, but staff members are happy to carry your bags up the steep stairs to your guest room. Rates here include breakfast, and the snug rooms are decorated and furnished in a way that opens up the space, including small balconies in most. This hotel is also located at the edge of the Canal Ring, close to both the Jordaan and Museum District neighborhoods.
Where to Stay for Families
For a luxury getaway with the family, the Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam is a great option that has plenty of family suites with fun design choices, like Escher-esque bathroom tiles and headboard lamps that look like birds. The hotel offers extras, such as a complimentary snack and beverage hour each day, and is convenient to popular family attractions, like the NEMO Science Center and the Anne Frank House.
The Hoxton Amsterdam has a hip but cozy feel, located waterside in the Canal Ring and surrounded by galleries, shops, and restaurants. Staff members are incredibly friendly, and guests can enjoy complimentary extras, like an hour of international calls each day and even "breakfast in a bag" delivered to the room each morning. Other amenities include a reasonably priced restaurant, as well as a lobby convenience shop with grocery store prices - especially handy for satisfying hungry kiddos at a moment's notice.
Where to Stay for Romance
Couples looking for a luxurious romantic getaway will fall in love with the decadent Renaissance-style rooms at The Toren. Its location in the Canal Ring, just a block from the Anne Frank House, makes it convenient to top attractions, while amenities like a Jacuzzi tub, mood lighting, and of course room service make this the perfect place for taking a break from sightseeing.
At the southern end of the Canal Ring, near Rembrandtplein, and well positioned to also reach Jordaan and Museum District attractions with ease, the Banks Mansion has a more contemporary feel with its Frank Lloyd Wright inspired décor. Couples have fewer things to worry about thanks to the hotel's "all-inclusive" rates that cover breakfast, beverages, and a generous afternoon spread of fine cheeses and meats.