What’s travel like now? Intercontinental Amstel Hotel Amsterdam review

InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam

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Today’s review is from reader Robin.

Introduction

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.

 

Booking

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).

 

Check-In

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.

 

Room

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.

Breakfast

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.

 

Terrace Bar

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.

 

Wellness

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. 

 

Conclusion

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.

1 Comment on "What’s travel like now? Intercontinental Amstel Hotel Amsterdam review"

  1. I stayed here at the end of July for a weekend, on a staycation rate that included breakfast and food and beverage credit. It was our second stay, having previously visited in January.

    I agree that the service is very graceful and high quality. Last time I stayed, my girlfriend and I were discussing at check in how much I like stroopwafels, and a free tin mysteriously appeared in our room on the second day.

    The hotel is certainly taking covid seriously with multiple hand sanitiser stations and bookings for breakfast, pool etc. It’s worth nothing that you can email the hotel in advance to get everything booked in before you stay. You used to be able to check in at dedicated desks for ambassador members on the left as you walk in.

    I’m not sure I agree about the rooms needing a refresh, as I think the hotel is deliberately styled in a grand dame manner that reflects its heritage. The same could be said for other European hotels with classical styling such as the Hotel Imperial Vienna. Part of the allure is that you are staying in a building with such a deep history. I also stayed at the W Amsterdam in July for a weekend, and I loved that hotel too, which has a completely different vibe and very modern style. I think that the actual hard product at the Amstel is high quality but old fashioned. I actually prefer more modern styling but I think there’s a certain majesty to this hotel.

    A slight niche comment is that the hotel has blue and orange themed rooms, and we actually preferred the blue this time.

    In terms of breakfast, I’m not sure why they told you there has been a reduction in service, although I didn’t eat breakfast there on my previous stay. We were served a very high quality breakfast on the terrace overlooking the Amstel, which included pastries, egg dishes, bread, fruit, juice, coffee etc. It is expensive if it’s not included in the rate though (I think above 30 euros per person), and I think Amsterdam is not short of excellent breakfast/brunch destinations for cheaper. The main attraction for us was eating on the terrace of La Rive, right by the canal with boats passing by (people take pictures of the hotel and you also get to feel like a celebrity).

    One thing that is worth mentioning is how well this hotel treats Intercontinental ambassadors. Both stays, I have booked the basic King room with a city view and been upgraded to a massive junior suite that overlooks the river (technically a two class upgrade, room category and view). They also honour your 4pm checkout without quibble and give you extra F&B credit, welcome amenity, note from the manager etc. Not all Intercontinentals are so generous, especially with upgrades.

    Also worth mentioning that you can book the hotel through the IHG luxury preferred partner scheme now to get free breakfast, late checkout (3pm), F&B credit. I haven’t bothered yet because I found cheaper rates and Ambassador gets me the late checkout, but will be very worth it for anyone who is happy paying the best flexible rate.

    For me the main attraction of this hotel is that it has a high level of grandeur and service but feels like a boutique hotel, with its constant serene atmosphere and small number of rooms. And I know, as an IC ambassador, they will always upgrade me to an excellent junior suite with a huge bathroom, high ceilings and a view. I’ve not stayed on points yet but 60,000 is a steal for most dates at this hotel, as it’s often 500-600 euros a night (staycation deal was 375 inc tax, breakfast, F&B credit, which is why I didn’t use points). There was a brief period with the IHG dynamic pricing where it was 40-60k points a night, and I booked Valentine’s weekend for 40k a night!

    Amsterdam was very quiet on the two weekends I visited in July, compared to when I visited last June. I would say that this hotel pretty much always seem to feel mostly empty, which I find attractive.

    I’m really glad the author, Robin, enjoyed her stay too. I’m truly sad that Amsterdam has been taken off the exemption list, as I was planning another stay this summer. Happy to answer any questions about the hotel, as I’ve stayed about a week there this year.

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