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“Cheap, good location - but could be so much better”

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Hotel The Golden Bear
Ranked #313 of 375 Hotels in Amsterdam
Reviewed 1 August 2011

As the title says, the price is good. The location as well. But there were quite a few minor, and easy-to-fix, things that would have made the experience more enjoyable.

For instance, soap in the bathroom/showers, instructions on how to get the WiFi working (which wasn't that good after all), a warmer approach from staff (most of the staff seemed hung-over for most of our stay for some reason - but maybe it's just Amsterdam!), more breakfast.

But overall is was quite average. It looks like a B&B - but doesn't feel like one.

  • Stayed: August 2011, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank amaral82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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175 - 181 of 383 reviews

Reviewed 30 July 2011

Any review of this Hotel must mention the stairs, they are intimidating but not so hard to climb. The staff were all helpful and efficient. The breakfast was relaxed and satisfying. I would suggest walking down the street and renting bicycles from Mikes' bikes. Bicycling from this location was fun and easy to get to anyplace in the city. I would stay here again.

  • Stayed: July 2011, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Soujourner711
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 16 July 2011

I stayed at the Golden Bear this past Easter (April 21-25) and feel I had an *almost* super stay. I'll explain soon. To start with, this hotel was the closest to American/Israeli-style hotel rooms in 4 and 5-star hotels that I've been to - it's certainly no hostel. Everything looked good and spotlessly clean. What looked like a cupboard actually secreted a large sink and mirror, with plenty of room to put one's soap and toothpaste and all that stuff. Although it had no AC, there was a ventilator that did nicely for the hot afternoons (it was the hottest Easter since-I-don't-know-when). The bed was comfortable, and the room had a huge window opening right onto Kerkstraat, which was cool. The shared bathrooms and toilets were fully satisfactory - very clean and with plenty of hot water.
The staff were friendly and helpful, and served a good-size, tasty breakfast. The ambiance at the hotel was relaxed and down-to-earth, which was good - the party should stay outside! As far as location, it's almost unbeatable. Two minutes' walk from a tram stop and five minutes from the noisy, bustling party zone that is Leidseplein.
This brings me to the one weak spot on the list - the noise. People were walking the nearby streets at all hours, with the usual merry-making and partying going on. Trams were running until quite late. I don't know if the area is quieter when it's not Easter, but I woke up every night because of the noise. Still, if you're a light sleeper like me just bring good earplugs (I didn't) and I guess you'd be fine. This, plus the price, which wasn't the cheapest, would probably be the only reasons preventing me from staying there again. As it happened I had no choice, and it was actually cheaper than the first hotel I had booked into.
In conclusion - bring your earplugs and you'll have a great time at the Golden Bear. Oh, and about the stairs - yes, they are THAT steep. I just laughed the whole thing off and was perfectly OK with it. People with back problems should really not go there. If you don't have back problems and you're going there with someone, ask them for a back-rub afterwards and have a good laugh about those impossible stairs.

Room Tip: No particular tip here - if all rooms are like mine than you've definitely nailed it!
See more room tips
  • Stayed: April 2011, travelled solo
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2  Thank Lior667
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 11 July 2011

Well what can I say, we didn't know what to expect from this place until we got there and let me tell you, we had a wonderful stay! We highly recommend this place! As a gay couple we enjoyed it so much! (and I bet non gay guests will also enjoy it).

We stayed in a double room with private facilities, the room was always clean, it had great natural illumination, good quality bed, a mini fridge (which was very helpful), a booklet of information about the services and policies of the hotel and overall good space to move around, we felt as in home; we'd such a cozy room with basic amenities and good WiFi connection. Breakfast service is also great, at first we thought the "Dutch breakfast" wouldn't satisfy our appetites (since we're good eaters) but on the contrary it was always plenty and delicious, lots of ham, cheese, bread, juice, coffee, hot chocolate, crackers and eggs on Sunday.

The hotel is located in a strategically place to reach all the hot spots in Amsterdam by foot, we barely use the tram since everything was so close; lots of bars, attractions, clubs and restaurants near the Golden Bear; for us, it was perfectly located. (i.e.: you have a restaurant, a coffee shop and a club next to it, and Leidseplein and the canals just 2 minutes away).

Another good thing to know is that if you stay in this hotel you will be staying in a historical building, The Golden Bear Hotel was the first Gay Hotel in Amsterdam and also the building was built around the mid 1700's. I would say that staying in an old dutch house makes it a very special place to enjoy your time in Amsterdam.

As for the personnel, well, they're always attentive and helpful, they helped us with everything we needed. We truly enjoyed our stay in this place. And we also got to know other people staying in this Hotel, we met good travel buddies.

Overall we truly recommend this place, if coming back to A'dam we're definitively staying here!

PS. As for the "infamous" stairs, well this is something that you'll get in every old dutch house in The Netherlands, we only had a hard time at our arrival lifting up our luggage but after that we didn't found them horrible or impossible, actually it turned to be something to joke about, see it in the positive way, its good cardio! LOL!

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
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4  Thank Psicoloco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 9 July 2011

Well what can I say, we didn't know what to expect from this place until we got there and let me tell you, we had a wonderful stay! We highly recommend this place! As a gay couple we enjoyed it so much! (and I bet non gay guests will also enjoy it).

We stayed in a double room with private facilities, the room was always clean, it had great natural illumination, good quality bed, a mini fridge (which was very helpful), a booklet of information about the services and policies of the hotel and overall good space to move around, we felt as in home; we'd such a cozy room with basic amenities and good WiFi connection. Breakfast service is also great, at first we thought the "Dutch breakfast" wouldn't satisfy our appetites (since we're good eaters) but on the contrary it was always plenty and delicious, lots of ham, cheese, bread, juice, coffee, hot chocolate, crackers and eggs on Sunday.

The hotel is located in a strategically place to reach all the hot spots in Amsterdam by foot, we barely use the tram since everything was so close; lots of bars, attractions, clubs and restaurants near the Golden Bear; for us, it was perfectly located. (i.e.: you have a restaurant, a coffee shop and a club next to it, and Leidseplein and the canals just 2 minutes away).

Another good thing to know is that if you stay in this hotel you will be staying in a historical building, The Golden Bear Hotel was the first Gay Hotel in Amsterdam and also the building was built around the mid 1700's. I would say that staying in an old dutch house makes it a very special place to enjoy your time in Amsterdam.

As for the personnel, well, they're always attentive and helpful, they helped us with everything we needed. We truly enjoyed our stay in this place. And we also got to know other people staying in this Hotel, we met good travel buddies.

Overall we truly recommend this place, if coming back to A'dam we're definitively staying here!

PS. As for the "infamous" stairs, well this is something that you'll get in every old dutch house in The Netherlands, we only had a hard time at our arrival lifting up our luggage but after that we didn't found them horrible or impossible, actually it turned to be something to joke about, see it in the positive way, its good cardio! LOL!

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Psicoloco
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 27 June 2011

We were well received and paid upon arrival. Wifi code was provided without us asking. Next was the stairs. The pictures and descriptions are totally accurate and the stairs were more extreme than I had imagined, being a first timer to Amsterdam. We made it up and were rewarded with our room: the Superior Twin, with Private shower and shared toilet, overlooking the street. The room/details that exceeded our expectations: Coffee/tea/cupasoup, refilled everyday. Safe. Size. Fridge. Sitting area. Little "foyer" which we placed our umbrellas in. Van Gogh paintings above each side of the beds.
Disappointing aspects: Carpet did not seem vacuumed often. Shared toilet needs ventilation and possibly handsoap?
Breakfast: As described by other reviewers in terms of food provided. Loved the classical music, service, unlimited coffee. It was a relaxing way to start the day. I enjoyed my toasted ham and cheese sandwich every morning, I have to say. My traveling companion is a vegetarian, which meant more cold cuts for me (love the herbs!).
Staff/other guests: We enjoyed everyone we met, and especially had fun chatting with David. All of our inquiries were replied to helpfully and accurately.
Area: Best location I could have imagined. Perfect distance to\from main station, Dam, museums, grocery store. The Dolphins conveniently located next door.

Long story short: Golden Bear became our home away from home during four special nights in Amsterdam.

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled with friends
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2  Thank Farfallasnitch
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 14 June 2011

I booked my stay here based on the amazing testimonies here on Trip Advisor that just raved about the service and friendliness here. I really wonder if I actually booked the same hotel. It's actually very funny reading the reviews and comparing my experience. It's really just your basic one star hotel. Period.

I checked in after a harried day of traveling with a big suitcase and I was handed my key and directed up the very steep stairs. I was exhausted and didn't think I could haul my bag up those stairs by myself, so I asked for some help. Well, it seems that request was a bit much, the guy grabbed my bag, hauled it up the stairs and left it front of my room. Yes, the transaction was about that warm and friendly.

The next morning I ambled down for breakfast and I guess I was there early (MAYBE BECAUSE THERE ARE NO CLOCKS IN THE ROOM!) anyhow, so the same guy at the front desk again, is sitting there just staring at me. About 10 minutes go by and he brings me a coffee pot and lets me know that breakfast begins PROMPTLY at 8:30 every morning and he is otherwise too busy to attend to me before 8:30. (Those were his words, I'm not kidding!) Well by now I think I'm stuck in a comedy skit. It's actually becoming quite funny. Breakfast is also extremely basic, except of course on Sunday which is Check out day, but more on that later.

The next day I could not get the wifi to work so I went down to the front desk and asked the person behind the desk if he could help me. "I cannot get the wifi signal" The response? "No one told me anything." Conversation over. Anyhow this is the friendly and warm service.

Aside from the wonderful employees, the double room I booked was a nice size but really very basic. As mentioned before no clock and NO MIRROR!! What kind of gay hotel does not have a mirror? One nice touch was the coffee and tea station in the room and the small fridge.

Here's my favorite part of the comedy, the last day of my stay when I checked out, the same staff could not do enough for me. There was no favor too small, no request they could not fulfill and friendly as the dickens! But of course right before leaving they gave me a card asking me if I wouldn't mind going on Trip Advisor and leaving a review. Well, for my new friends, nothing is too much trouble! So here you go!

  • Stayed: June 2011, travelled solo
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6  Thank Justneedreservations
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Hotel The Golden Bear

Address: Kerkstraat 37, 1017 GB Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Region: The Netherlands > North Holland Province > Amsterdam > Canal Ring (Grachtengordel)
Amenities:
Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #313 of 375 Hotels in Amsterdam
Price Range: £55 - £173 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Hotel The Golden Bear 2*
Number of rooms: 17
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The hotel is housed in two 18th century buildings, this is one of the best shopping areas with an abundance of boutiques known as the '9 straatjes', which consists of nine streets that are situated between the canals Prinsengracht and Singel. The rooms are well equipped with modern facilities to make sure your stay is as comfortable as possible. The hotel is located next to ‘Leidsestraat’, one of the most popular shopping streets of Amsterdam, near to all Amsterdam’s highlights such as the Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh museum, Albert Cuyp Market, shops, bars, clubs and restaurants. The Kerkstraat is a quiet street, so you will be in the city centre of Amsterdam but still have a good night sleep. The hotel offers many services and facilities such as free wireless internet throughout the building, tickets to various museums and activities, a continental breakfast and free city maps. Our reception is open between 8:00- 24:00, and we will be happy to help you if you will need any additional services, facilities or information. The location is perfect to explore the city and our staff will make sure your stay in Amsterdam is one to remember. ... more   less 
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