Today’s review is from reader Robin.
To break the monotony of the current pandemic, I decided to embark on a day trip to Amsterdam, a place that I have never visited. I stayed at the elegant Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam and here is my review.
I used a ‘UK free credit card night’ certificate (Having spent £10,000 in 12 months on the IHG Rewards Club UK Premium Credit Card (£99 annual fee), now closed to new applicants) and wanted to maximise the value of this. The Intercontinental Amstel for a weekday in August 2020 was priced at €365 or 60,000 IHG points. I felt that staying an extra day or two wouldn’t be worth spending the extra cash or points outlay.
Indeed, using the ‘free’ night certificate and being a Spire Elite member, I had the benefit of early check-in from 10am and late checkout until 2pm (both subject to availability). As global tourism is currently reduced, I figured chances were considerably in my favour. Thus, I booked a British Airways Reward Flight Saver Avios redemption in the reduced Business Class service arriving Tuesday 10:40 and departing Wednesday 19:35.
(Given the current uncertainty with the UK government’s list of countries in the travel corridors list, both flights and hotel were booked with less than a week to go, just in case circumstances changed which was just as well given what has just happened).
The riverfront Amstel, originally opened in 1867, is in a quiet location and is a 20-25min walk to central tourist parts of Amsterdam.
A return 30-40min journey for Schiphol airport train station to the hotel (via train and metro to Weesperplein station, 3 min flat walk to hotel) cost €10.20+€6.10 = €16.30 (~£15).
Having arrived at midday, I was greeted by the concierge at the hotel’s grand colonnaded entrance. As I entered the hotel, I was asked to sanitise my hands. I was then directed to the reception on one side of the impressive regal lobby featuring 19th-century staircases, chandeliers, and elegant marble floors.
Due to the pandemic, there was a perspex screen between the receptionist and myself. It was re-assuring that the hotel and chain were taking the necessary precautions as per their policy.
Having booked a King Executive Room City View, I was upgraded to a River View due to my Spire Elite status. The hotel didn’t seem at all busy. I asked about late checkout and was informed to check again with the reception desk tomorrow morning. I did and secured a 5pm check out time. My ‘free’ night certificate turned out to be a 29-hour stay at one of IHG’s more expensive properties.
Additionally, because of my IHG status, I was given a welcome amenity choice of 600 IHG points or a drinks voucher. I opted for the drinks voucher.
In total, the Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam has 55 rooms and 24 suites. My French styled King Executive Room River View comprised of a small hallway leading to a:
- Small closet, containing a luggage and wardrobe area, a mini safe and a fully stocked drinks fridge,
- Large quiet bedroom (31-35 m²), wifi enabled, with Illy coffee and tea facilities and large opening windows overlooking the Amstel river. Whilst a large size, I felt that the room could be refreshed.
- Technologically, there was only three European two-pin sockets on one side of the bed. At this price point, I would have expected USB sockets on either side of the bed.
- Marbled bathroom with separate toilet and shower cubicle (inclusive of rainfall shower) and Anne Semonin amenities.
In addition to the standard daily housekeeping, there was an evening turndown service that you can specify the time for.
As well as a daily bottle of Evian water in the room, I was presented with strawberries on my second day of the stay.
As my stay was a redemption, the rate didn’t include breakfast. I was informed whilst checking In that there was a reduced breakfast service, so I decided to eat out at the nearby Breakfast Club (very good). The hotel includes a brasserie and a restaurant.
As well as a lounge and a bar, the hotel has a terrace on the Amstel river. A perfect place to use my drinks voucher. You have an increased choice the higher your IHG status is as below:
Gold Elite: Select from house wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages.
Platinum Elite: All of the above and an additional choice of a glass of sparkling wine.
Spire Elite: All of the above and additional choice of a cocktail.
The hotel has a very small gym (it’s a room with equipment) with onsite personal trainers. There is a also a small heated swimming pool and outdoor terrace. To prevent overcrowding, the hotel implemented a slot reservation system. More details here.
There is a separate spa complete with steam room and sauna that offers a variety of massages and treatments. However, this was closed due to the pandemic. There is also a hair salon.
Other points to note
- The service was at a high level. You can tell the courteous legion of staff throughout the hotel have been highly trained.
- City Tax for the Hotel came to €6.
- The hotel has fully accessible rooms for wheelchair users.
- Children are welcome.
- Pets allowed on request
- Amsterdam is quiet now and very pleasant to visit if you want to avoid the normal masses of party-goers during peak tourist season. As well as walking (50km) most of the central city over two days, I managed to fit in a visit to the Van Gogh Museum, Rembrandt House museum, swing over a tall building @ A’DAM lookout (highly recommended) and a boat cruise along the canals of the city.
- Sadly now the Netherlands no longer have a travel corridor to the UK and FCO advise against all but essential travel to there.
The Intercontinental Amstel Amsterdam is a luxurious hotel, with very high levels of service. Quiet location and good use of a ‘free’ night certificate for an extended whistle-stop tour of the city. However, I feel this hotel should be refreshed and modernised technologically, to justify its fairly high cash and points price.
You can find more information on the hotel, prices and book here.