Photos and Review by Oyster.com Investigators
A central and busy area of Amsterdam -- great for walking or biking to nearby sites
Swissotel Amsterdam boasts a great location, right at Dam Square in the heart of the city center. It is a short walk from Central Station, and most major sights and attractions are within walking distance. The area can be touristy though, so guests in search of more local neighborhoods can rent one of the hotel bikes. In addition, the tram stops practically at the hotel's front door, or it's a quick walk to the train station.
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.
Swissotel may be a chain name, but this particular property in the heart of Amsterdam, across from Dam Square, feels more like a boutique hotel. With 109 rooms and suites donned in contemporary decor, it is a friendly option in a popular setting -- though it's a bit more upscale, and consequently more expensive, than some of the nearby hotels. Overall, it's simply decorated with neutral tones and minimalistic, contemporary furniture (though standard rooms feel more generic than the suites). Rooms include amenities such as a pillow menu, iPod/iPad docks, and spacious bathrooms -- of course, the glass-walled bathrooms in the suites seriously lack privacy. The main floor has a small lobby, business center, and bright fitness center, but the narrow setting lacks communal areas and dining options. There is a restaurant, Dam Plaza, in the same building, that is not officially part of the hotel, though it does offer a breakfast buffet. The red rental bikes strategically placed in front make the Swissotel easy to spot on the busy street, and they also offer a great way to tour around "the Venice of the North" -- a top priority for guests who typically stay here.