Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
In residential Vondelpark, within walking distance to museums and restaurants
This residential location is known as Vondelpark, after the popular Amsterdam park at the center of the neighborhood featuring bike paths and beautiful lawns for picnicking. The neighborhood itself contains 19th century architecture (including the hotel building), and there's not much for tourists in the immediate vicinity, though guests can live like the locals and experience a plentitude of food and drink options. For museums, the Stedelijk, the Rijksmuseum, and the Van Gogh Museum are within walking distance, but transport is necessary to access some areas. A tram stop and the GVB trains are nearby, as well as the hop-on-hop-off canal boats that deliver riders to the city center.
Marked by cobblestone roads, street-level canals and an abundance of coffee shops (which are most often known for something other than coffee), Amsterdam is both a quiet and lively city without the pretention of European metropolises.
In the summer, visitors can enjoy live music at the Openluchttheater, an open-air venue at the Vondelpark, or the Roots Music Festival. The Gay Pride parade also takes place in the summer, and the city's many museums -- including the Van Gogh Museum or the Anne Frank House, where Frank and her family hid from the Nazis during World War 2 -- are popular year-round. Visitors in April can experience Queen's Day, which celebrates the queen's birthday and includes a massive flea market, parties, and outdoor concerts.
Noordermarkt is known for its antiques, and Brouwerij de Prael is a recommended stop for beer enthusiasts. Fun dining spots include the famous sandwich spot Van Dobben, as well as Pancake Bakery, which offers more than 70 types of pancakes and a slew of other breakfast goods.
Calling all non-conformists -- this quirky hotel in the residential Voldelpark area has 38 rooms and suites based on unique philosophical and/or cultural themes. Taking residence in a few 19th century buildings, every detail -- down to the steep spiral staircase -- has oodles of character. But while character is prevalent, luxury is not (many areas are in desperate need of a fresh coat of paint). Whom will Sandton Hotel de Filosoof appeal to? For twenty-something couples who prefer to avoid the sterile chain hotels and gravitate toward the unusual, this is ideal. Each room has a distinct color scheme, and amateurish artwork to boot. Deluxe rooms and suites are more spacious, and some come with kitchens and small balconies. There are good communal areas for a hotel of this size (including the bar), but the outdated breakfast room is a hard sell for the expensive meal ticket. Perhaps the biggest amenity is the garden at the back of the hotel -- a lovely place to relax and meet fellow like-minded travelers. Overall, few in-room amenities make it clear that this is simply a place to lay the head after experiencing all that Amsterdam has to offer.