Whether afloat or on dry land, it’s fun to stay like a local in Amsterdam, the city of canals. This friendly central European city has many lodging and dining options for traveling families, ranging from houseboats — a unique family “home” with privacy and room to roam — to contemporary highrises with a pool and business center.
Amsterdam Family Friendly Hotels
1016 AZ Amsterdam
+31 (0) 20 555 0222
At one of the city’s most elegant canal addresses, the deluxe, full service Ambassade comprises 59 rooms crafted from 10 adjoining canal houses. It’s quietly stylish, yet casual and friendly with its own brasserie and bar. The Ambassade accommodates families with baby cots (cribs) and sitting room sofas that become beds. A large apartment with kitchen and a 2BR suite are also available.
Rates: $$ double; $$$ suite
Amstel Botel BV, NDSM Pier 3
1033 RG Amsterdam
+31 (0) 20 626 42 47
Turn left as you exit Central Station and in 15 minutes you’ll arrive at the gangplank (walking or ferry) of this 176-cabin floating hotel on the banks of the River IJ. It actually does feel like a boat, with ship-shape rooms facing the canal, our favorite. White formica, compact triple rooms (bunk beds and lower single) will please novice sailors, if not romantics. Roof deck and small gaming area with pool table are big plusses with kids, and it’s cheap.
‘s Gravelandseveer 3-4
1011 KM Amsterdam
+31 (0) 20 624-6607
A service that offers families a small, simple hotel on the Amstel Canal, as well as furnished apartments and fully-equipped floating homes-away-from-home. The houseboats we visited had great canal views, spacious living rooms, small kitchens and pretty small bedrooms (though single bedrooms can sleep 4-5 (if the kids fit on couches.)
Rates: Hotel rooms sleeping 2 from $$; 2BR houseboats with phone, TV, linens and once-weekly maid service priced by season; bargain.
1016 GB Amsterdam
31-(0)-20 530 2010
This luxurious, centrally located boutique hotel offers families the utmost in elegance and attentive service. A unique feature at The Dylan is the tranquil interior garden, a green oasis amidst Amsterdam’s bustle. The 40 individually designed rooms and suites are loaded with posh amenities (adult caffeine lovers will go gaga for the in-room coffee service) and 16 rooms can be made into interconnecting rooms, perfect for families. Kids are treated like tiny royals from the moment they check-in, even receiving their own fake key card. Children are offered a travel notebook with pictures for coloring and crayons. The doting concierge can provide a tailor-made itinerary of what to do in Amsterdam based on your children’s ages. The Dylan is the home to a Michelin-starred restaurant (and childcare with advance request), so you can have a gourmet dining experience without leaving the premises.
Oostelijke Handelskade 34
1019 BN Amsterdam
+31 20 561 3607
The Lloyd Hotel is located in the residential Eastern Docklands neighborhood, just a few minutes from the city center via tram, bus or bike. This historic building was originally an emigrant hotel, where those bound for the New World stayed while awaiting their ship’s departure. It is set in a small park, so kids have a built-in outdoor play area. Common spaces have the feel of a trendy art gallery, plus there are assorted low-tech toys to encourage creative play. Each of the 117 rooms is unique and accented with innovative Dutch designs. Quirkier rooms have swings or a giant bed that sleeps seven. A democratic feature is that the rooms range from one to five stars. A budget-minded family could book a one-star room with a shared bath or a family with a hefty wallet could stay in a luxurious five-star room. The Lloyd’s goal is for visitors of a variety of economic means to interact. All rooms have high quality linens and excellent service no matter what price you pay. Some rooms have kitchens and there’s an excellent supermarket directly across the street. The Lloyd is buzzing with hotel guests as well as locals who flock here to participate in the array of cultural events that the property hosts. As you explore the neighborhood, you’ll see families pedaling the bike paths and snacking on waffles after school. This is authentic Amsterdam, with little in common with the touristy city center. There’s even a windmill in the neighborhood, bringing a slice of the Dutch countryside to urban Amsterdam.
Rates: $-$$$ depending on room type.
More Amsterdam Hotels
1017 JL Amsterdam
+31 (0) 20 623 1772
This 18th-century canal house is a simpler budget choice close to Rembrandtsplein. Though a bit off the sightseeing path, the young, hip neighborhood is filled with inexpensive ethnic restaurants. The canal house itself has steep creaking stairs and not much decor. Two shared-bath rooms have their own sinks; nine rooms with facilities include toilets and tiny but spotless showers. The bright canal-facing rooms are the best value.
Rates:$$ for 4 in a room, including full bathroom, breakfast and WiFi.
Hotel Seven Bridges
1017 LK Amsterdam
+31 (0) 20 623 1329
In a classy residential neighborhood within a short walk of the museums, is this bright, attentively-decorated, eight-room, three-apartment hotel placed in a 300-year-old authentic canal house. Rooms are unique, some in the attic, some off the parlor, all with private bath, and they share a pleasing blend of reproduction antique furniture, Impressionist posters, bright colors and Oriental rugs. The only drawback is that there is no elevator.
Rates: $-$$ for 2-4 people, including breakfast served in room (except for apartments)
NH Hotel Carlton
1017 HK Amsterdam
+31 (0) 20 622 22 66
This hotel, built in 1928 for the Olympics, has 218 bedrooms on the edge of the new town across from Dam Square and the Flower Market. Five minutes from the railway station, it’s very convenient for sightseers but not as quiet as other parts of town. A member of the popular NH chain, the contemporary styled rooms can connect (some have two queen beds), and three upper floor rooms have balconies. Free WiFi, A/C for summer and handicap accessible rooms.
Rates: $-$$ for standard or superior rooms.
Sofitel Legend Grand Amsterdam
Oudezijds Voorburgwal 197
1012 EX Amsterdam
+31 (0) 20 555 31 11
While this hotel may be a bit too swanky to visit with small children, it is perfect for parents of teenagers who are not looking to compromise on luxury. Replete with every fitting and furnishing imaginable, this sophisticated inn (177 rooms including 52 suites with dedicated butlers) is nestled close to many Amsterdam attractions: The Anne Frank Monument, the Rijksmuseum, and many theaters and opera houses. A hotbed of history itself — it’s one of the few “Legend” hotels in the Sofitel chain over 500 years old — it was a pair of convents. Today, the very stylish, converted hotel boasts its own collection of historical artifacts and rooms, including the room in which former Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands and Prince Claus were married. In addition to guest rooms, there are luxury apartments, a noted spa and indoor pool. The hotel has bicycles for rent, and a guided luxury boat ride on which patrons can enjoy a luxury trip down the River Amstel.
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