A summer’s weekend away in Amsterdam with your best mate. Does life get any better than that? Yes, it turns out… if you stay in Motel One.
Handily situated a mere 15-minute train journey from Schiphol airport, Motel One is where you want to be staying. God-Dam I love this hotel, and we’ve only just arrived. I’m here with my life-long friend, Franny. He and I were each others’ best man recently and we both got married eerily close to each other. With our respective honeymoons ticked off, it’s time for a bro-mantic weekend, and for the Honeyman to begin.
We check in late, just before midnight. Luckily, Amsterdam is certainly a city that never sleeps and this hotel is no different, with its doors and bar open 24/7. After dropping our bags in our delightful room on the 9th floor and taking in the 180˚ view from the generous sized windows of our corner room, we jump on the tram and head into the centre of town.
What happens in Amsterdam, stays in Amsterdam. But let’s just say that when we wake up the next morning, we are grateful that breakfast is served till 11am on weekends. And what a breakfast it is. Franny is pretty keen on the cumin cheese on offer, two flavours I never would have thought would go together, but he insists they actually compliment one another well. I’m more interested in the vast array of fruit with lashings of various sauces that accompany it. And of course, coffee. Lots and lots of coffee.
Amsterdam is renowned for its superb cycling network and love of bicycles, and Motel One embraces this passion. The hotel not only offers bicycles to guests but has a masterly-crafted structure of a number of bike wheels on the One Lounge wall for us to gaze at as we eat our generous breakfast buffet. Not quite trusting ourselves on bicycles, but fully fed and starting to feel vaguely human again, we fire back into the city. If you’re lucky enough to have one, the hotel offers charging stations for electric cars. We aren’t, and contentedly opt for the tram once again.
Amsterdam is full of some of Europe’s finest bars… one of them being in Motel One. That evening, we retire to the lobby and enjoy a couple of local beers. To the right of the 7-metre long bar is a large flat screen TV playing a loop of an immensely relaxing coral reef scene. We see one man who has maybe been hitting it a tad hard in The Dam, and is fixated on the bright colours of the reef fish. He’s in his happy place.
We are taken back by the contemporary décor and detail of the hotel. The lighting in this place is sublime, and the number of chandeliers rivals the honeymoon suite in Buckingham Palace. I can now see why the hotel’s strapline is “Great design for little money”. The price tag here is very affordable, but there is nothing budget about this establishment.
It’s great to get away from the Scottish ‘summer’, but unfortunately, it has followed us to Holland, and we are in for an evening of solid rain. Fortunately, we have no intentions of venturing outside tonight as we are perfectly happy where we are. With iPads available to use at reception, with free Wi-Fi, of course, we plan our expedition for the subsequent day. The tulip theme of the hotel, printed on the lounge walls and staircases, encourages us to plan a visit to the infamous Flower Market, and after researching how to get there, we both decide it is time to hit the hay.
Rising bright and early the next day and feeling suitably rested, we say our farewells to the attentive staff and check out. Guests are encouraged to write or draw messages on wall in the lobby, and we are only too happy to oblige. As we get the tram for one final time, we gaze fondly out of the window at the elegantly designed Motel One building. Something tells us that we’ll be back.
Motel One Amsterdam, Europaboulevard 23, 1079 PC Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Phone: +31/20 8 20 47 77
Motel One is 15 minutes on the train from Schiphol airport. It is a two-minute walk from Amsterdam RAI train/tram station which will take you to the centre of Amsterdam in 10 minutes. Night buses are available at the nearby bus stop.
Type of Hotel: 3-Star Budget Design Hotel
Number of Rooms: 320 single and double rooms, included free internet, iPads at reception and charging stations for electric cars.
Insider Tip: Ask for a corner room; the extra views that this gives are particularly stunning at night.
Price Band: Affordable
Reviewer’s rating: 9/10
John Harfield is a travel writer and photographer based in Edinburgh
Photographs courtesy of Motel One Amsterdam
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