After reading a lot of the one star reviews on here, I was a little nervous...but my expectations were definitely exceeded. Yes, it's grim and dark and old, but that's part of the experience. You don't go to Amsterdam to stay at a Marriott. If you don't want any surprises, then yeah, go for your chain hotel and be pleasantly bored. The Damrak is definitely anything but boring...
I would say the best thing about the hotel is the Argentinian restaurant downstairs, where guests receive 10% off of their meals. Also, the wireless was faultless. I'm a student and rely on the internet to stay up to date with my classes via Blackboard, so internet is always a big deal for me. I never had a problem. Finally, the location...you really can't beat it. You're smack in the center of the city, less than a five minute walk from the Central Station, and you can just step outside and have your choice of dozens of cuisines and things to do. Definitely a touristy area, but convenient.
Now onto the "grim" - there are no smoking signs in the rooms, and I requested a no smoking room...but what they don't tell you is that smoking IS allowed in the hallways. So everyone on my floor stepped out at all hours of the night to smoke, and that stench seeps into your own room. I woke up sick one morning. Really not healthy. Also, my sheets looked clean and new, but the comforter had an odd smell to it. I did without. The rooms are old and the carpets and decor are definitely from the 70s, but that kind of adds to its charm. Parts of the carpet are warn down and gritty, but I wasn't going to let that ruin my trip. I wore flip flops. The bathroom was definitely clean and the water pressure was really good.
My other complaint was not really the hotel's fault, but the guests are SUPER noisy. The walls are thin (old building), and it felt like the adult guests here were more ridiculous than any of the guests I encountered at various youth hostels. They were coming in at all hours of the night, pounding on everyones doors for fun, screaming in the halls, etc. For about three hours on Sunday night I had to listen to a sports game blasting and the groans and cheers of the men watching. There's only so many times a staff member can tell people to quiet down, so it's not their fault.
Another thing I thought was weird was that you had to leave your key whenever you left the building. You left it with the front desk clerk and picked it up when you came back. To me, it wasn't really an inconvenience, except for when one clerk was more interested in the internet than helping guests. But another clerk knew who I was and what room I had, so when she saw me coming she had my key ready and waiting, which was very nice. But then when I was thinking about it, I realized that it means the hotel staff knows exactly who is in their rooms and who isn't at all times, which didn't really feel secure to me...
When it boils down to it, if you want convenience and a low cost and aren't afraid of a little grit, the Damrak will exceed your needs. But if you're the type to complain about every little dent in the desk or chipped paint on the wall, go to a chain so you feel like you're back in the US.
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- Also Known As:
- Damrak Hotel Amsterdam