I have recently started thinking about Amsterdam again, though I might need to wait half a year or so before even raising the topic of it with Irina (as my Australia trip is now just a month away). Coming from Kazakhstan, obviously the biggest expenditure is the plane travel, however, after that the accommodation is the next biggest chunk of change required.
Now, there are several factors when selecting where exactly to lay your weary head after a day of tulip, canal and windmill appreciation. Your travel companions definitely have a heavy impact upon your priorities. If you go with a group of male friends who intend to get severely relaxed each day, one way or another, all you are looking for is a place not to far from the centre of town, with not too many atrocious reviews, and a price that allows more of your budget to be spent on waffles and horticultural expenses. If your companions are mixed, in terms of gender, age and preferred method of chilling out, then I’d recommend looking for apartments to rent (many hotels have these), houseboats or even camping, if the weather and combined age of the group allows! At some point in the fairly distant future, I hope to take our whole family there, which would obviously mean safety (balconies that don’t allow kids to fall into canals/roads) and cleanliness are important factors. Finally, should it be a romantic break for two, the budget will probably be stretched a lot, as you will want somewhere clean, luxurious enough to allow a romantic environment, and not five bus or tram journeys from the tourist locations.
Whilst reminiscing about my recent(ish) trips, I decided to check out what the scene was like right now, and discovered some sites have a lot newly-listed hotels. From the truly one star (hope you pass out as your head hits the pillow so you don’t notice the smell or rodents) ho(s)tels, to the sort of place where room service, duvets (? don’t ask me, but the five star hotels all seem to mention no blankets in their rooms!), spa treatments and the like are standard, everything seems to be covered.
It is always very important to try and find independent reviews of a place you are considering staying at, and a good web site will include negative reviews just as much as the positive ones. After all, if the price isn’t bad, and the only bad things other people have had to say about it are the loud parties across the street (if you’re into late night clubbing), a lack of a lift (this is Amsterdam, where horizontal dimensions are exorbitantly expensive compared to just building up) and perhaps the quality of the included breakfast (if there is a local café, then no real problem exists), then you’ve confirmed for yourself that this could be the place for your gathering of friends to occur in!
Anyway, enough about pipe dreams of the Netherlands for now, back to the (GREAT!) reality of Australia, more specifically Sydney, Brisbane, and most of my closest UK friends (and in one case, their new wife!) being on the same continent as me 🙂