When my parents kindly offered to take the girls on a Norweigan Cruise this summer, we decided to take the opportunity to head off on a child-free city break. We toyed with a few destinations but settled on Amsterdam. With daily KLM flights from Newcastle with less than an hour flying time and easy transfer to the city centre, it seemed like the perfect place to explore. Our last trip here had been in 2003, before we got married! So we were well overdue a return trip to Holland.
Where to stay in Amsterdam?
In my day job, I work alongside lots of students who are always heading off on exotic trips abroad. One of my student staff Ruairidh (@rurichester on Instagram) who is always pottering off on cool trips recommended the Hotel Not Hotel in Amsterdam. Looking at the photos on the internet we were sold. The Hotel not Hotel looked completely un-child friendly with its in-house lively bar the Kevin Bacon (bizarrely serving Thai food), the quirky bookshelf rooms, and the crows nest. This fitted the bill for a quirky, very reasonably priced hotel for our weekend away.
Located in the Oud-west area of Amsterdam, the Hotel not Hotel was around a ten-minute direct tram ride away from the Central Station. The Foodhallen (which we visited three times) was just a five-minute walk away so the area in itself had plenty to keep us occupied on an evening.
Hotel Not a Hotel Quirky Rooms
On check-in, we received a warm welcome and an information sheet on local recommended bars & restaurants in the area. We were given a little tour of the hotel, which is housed in a former tram station, and described as “a place in Amsterdam where a room isn’t just a room, but a work of art with its own creator, story, and identity. Most of them designed and specially made by Collaboration-O, a group of young designers that originated from the Eindhoven Design Academy, and one by Arno Coenen and his partner IRIS” So far… so quirky.
Loved this tram room but wasn’t too keen on the fact your door is in the middle of the atrium where people eat their breakfast!
The crisis-free zone room. No idea what this was all about but it looks pretty!
Our Secret Bookcase Room
We chose the large bookcase room which was on the first floor and had en-suite facilities. Most of the rooms at the hotel have a shared bathroom which to be fair was always spotless. We decided to splash out on our own bathroom!
To get to the room we had to push the bookcase (with real books) which was quite heavy.
The room was pretty small as you can see in the photos, but the linen was fresh, the mattress was comfy and the shower was powerful. Not bad for a few nights stay, but any longer we may have got a little bit of cabin fever. Still, we were here to explore the city and not lounge around.
Kevin Bacon for Breakfast
Breakfast was served in the Kevin Bacon bar within the hotel and was pretty darn good. A continental basket for two was brought to us which contained fresh rolls, ham, eggs, croissant and some of the lushest creamiest yoghurt we have ever had. This with a nice STRONG Amsterdam coffee was just the start to the day that we needed to explore the city centre.
Hotel not Hotel Amsterdam Review
We really enjoyed our stay at the Hotel not Hotel and it perfectly suited our needs for a fun, relaxed child-free break. The hotel staff were very helpful and friendly and were always there to point you in the right direction.
Obviously, the main draw here is the quirky interior. Walls of Instagram-able interest everywhere. With unusual rooms to match. Most of the rooms we spied at were small, but we were prepared for that and embraced it. The weekend we were there was very warm. So warm that we had the window open all night and a fan propped up at the base of the bed to blast us with a constant breeze. This possibly also meant we had a few mosquito bites by the morning.
The Breakfast was a good start to the day and kept us going till mid-afternoon. Although we never tried out the Thai food at the Kevin Bacon restaurant, we did try a few drinks. After a night of cocktails in town, we popped in for one last drink. Pinking a random drink off the menu resulted in an Absinthe based cocktail with a rim of chipotle sauce. Not the nicest cocktail I’ve had, but certainly a talking point.
Amsterdam is quite a large city, and the Hotel was certainly not in the heart of the tourist area. Which did mean we experienced a whole new set of options. If we were to return I might be tempted to go a little more central to avoid having to use trams (the city is so flat and easy to walk around!) However, I can now say I’ve stayed in a secret bookcase room and breakfasted in a bar named after Mr Kevin Bacon!