June 16 2014

Hotel Review: Crowne Plaza Amsterdam City Centre

Trip report index:

 

The Crowne Plaza Amsterdam City Centre was my “Plan B” hotel. I actually wanted – in fact partially built my trip around – the InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam. But the latter did not have award availability for my first night in town, so I booked that night at the Crowne Plaza instead.

As it turned out, I much preferred the Crowne Plaza over the InterContinental. However, both were very nice properties; a preference for one over the other comes down to a matter of personal taste.

I’ll review the InterContinental in a separate post in case you find yourself debating between the two, but the rest of this post focuses on the Crowne Plaza.

The location

This was the hotel’s best attribute in my opinion. It is just two blocks from Central Station, Amsterdam’s main transportation hub (and where I first arrived in the city upon leaving the airport).

I easily walked from the hotel to everything on my to-do list: the Anne Frank House, Westerkerk, Dam Square, the Royal Palace (unfortunately closed to visitors during my trip), The Spui, the Red Light District, and of course the maze of canals for which the city is famous.

(The only exception was Museumplein, home of the city’s main museums. But that was walkable from the InterContinental so I just saved it for my InterContinental stay.)

CP exterior
The facade on Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal

That said, the property fronts one of Amsterdam’s larger streets, Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal. While that’s great for people-watching, it also means traffic noise. Furthermore, trams run literally yards away from some of the rooms.

Tram by CP
The tram just outside my window

The tram was quieter than I would have thought, but if you’re noise-sensitive I recommend requesting a room away from the big street. The tradeoff is that you’ll likely get less natural light (due to facing a narrower street) and an inferior view (of the adjacent building’s wall rather than the interesting street life). But it’s better than losing sleep if street noise affects your sleep.

The room

Since I’m not sensitive to street noise, I loved the location of my room on Level 1 (which is actually one level above street level; Level 0 is street level) facing the big street. With a floor-to-ceiling window, it provided a front-row view of the city outside – although after sunset I dimmed my lights as I didn’t want the people-watching reciprocated.

Peoplewatching view
People-watching from the room

The bed was comfortable, I think. I hadn’t slept the night before due to being in flight so I probably would’ve slept like the dead either way.

Bed & door

There was a small desk next to the window. Perfect for people-watching while you work.

Bed & window

The bathroom was modern albeit on the small side for an upscale hotel, with only one sink. The stand-up shower was roomy but there was no tub.

Sink
Bathroom sink (stand-up shower reflected in the mirror)
Bath amenities
Bath amenities

There were robes, slippers, and an in-room safe in the closet. There was also a coffee selection on the counter.

Coffee
In-room coffee selection

The service

Here’s my thing about the service at some upscale hotels: often it seems fake, sometimes to the point of being bizarre. As in, I’ll be asked “how may I have the honor of serving you today?”

I mean, no one talks that way in real life, right? That kind of “service” just weirds me out.

And should one respond in kind? “Why yes, if you would process my check-out I will be forever grateful for your capable service.”

Instead, to me service stands out when it’s genuinely friendly.

That’s my long-winded way of saying I really liked the service at this hotel. Everyone was friendly and helpful – in a genuine way. Polite but not stiff; eager to help without seeming to linger for a tip afterwards.

My only nit about the service is that, 15 minutes after arriving in my room, there was a knock at the door. It was someone delivering my IHG Rewards member amenity (chocolates). The amenity was appreciated, but I would have preferred that it were left in the room ahead of time or given during check-in. It’s not ideal to disturb hotel guests in their room unnecessarily.

The amenities

As a complete oversight on my part, I neglected to take pictures of any common areas or amenities (sorry!!). But if my written description fails, you can always see photos on the hotel’s website. 🙂

For a hotel of 270 rooms, the lobby might have been a smidge too small. But it was nicely done – looked modern yet felt cozy. The lit fireplace was particularly nice given the chilly weather outside.

The hotel was hosting a business conference during my stay, and during conference breaks the lobby was overrun with folks socializing or talking on cell phones. At those times it felt crowded and noisy, but most hotel guests probably don’t use the lobby much in the middle of the day anyway.

In addition to 24-hour room service, there is an onsite restaurant and bar. However, being close to so many other walkable options in the city, I never took advantage of the on-site dining so can’t comment on it.

There is also a business center and small fitness room, but again I preferred to get my exercise from walking the city rather than being on an indoor treadmill.

Summary

Pros:

  • Very central location.
  • Fantastic people watching (with the right room).
  • Friendly, helpful staff.

Cons:

  • Some rooms face the big street and can be noisy, especially with the tram line just yards away. I recommend specifically requesting a quieter room if you’re noise sensitive.

Cost:

  • 36,000 IHG Rewards points for one night. (A normal redemption is 40,000 points but I received a 10% rebate from my co-branded credit card.)

Link to hotel website.

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Posted June 16, 2014 by Admin in category "Crowne Plaza", "Hotel Reviews", "IHG", "Trip Reports

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