BACKGROUND This was the first hotel that Marriott opened in Europe, in 1975. Other Marriott properties in Amsterdam include the Renaissance Amsterdam Hotel, located in the city’s canal district, and the Courtyard Amsterdam, a 15-minute drive from Schiphol airport.
WHAT’S IT LIKE? Housed in a cubic 70s-style building, the property has 395 rooms spread over 11 floors. The entire ground floor was refurbished in 2009: the lobby area, the bar and restaurants, the club lounge and the fitness centre. The grey marble lobby lounge was smart and contemporary – it had large olive leather corner sofas and warm lighting. The lobby was very busy during my stay, with several groups checking in and out in the mornings, but staff were efficient and there was always someone to assist me.
WHERE IS IT? Across the street from Leidseplein square, which is full of lively bars, and a few minutes walk from Museumplein. It’s about a ten-minute tram ride from Amsterdam Central train station, and a ten-minute stroll from the Red Light District.
ROOM FACILITIES I stayed in an Executive King room on the ninth floor. A vase of fresh pink flowers was on the coffee table by the window, and there was good daylight thanks to the floor-to-ceiling window (there were also thick black-out curtains). The yellow-walled, red patterned carpeted room was traditional and unexciting, but the furniture was of good quality – the bedside tables and the desk had marble surfaces, and the armchair and work chair were comfortable. The bed at the centre of the room was very good, and I slept well in it. Opposite was a large flatscreen TV upon a wooden chest of drawers, with a good selection of channels. Wifi is free in Executive rooms, but elsewhere it is €19.95 for 24 hours, which also gains you internet access in public areas. There was a keyboard for accessing the internet via the television – access can be purchased as part of an unlimited movie package at €25 for 24 hours. The large desk was great for working on a laptop, with several plug sockets above, as well as a gold-framed mirror, which made the room feel more spacious.
The bathroom had a shower over a bath, black granite surface tops. A large mirror and black and white framed photography hung upon the walls. Aromatherapy Associates toiletries were supplied. The minibar was chargeable (a bottle of water was €4.50, although two free bottles were provided everyday by housekeeping) and stocked with beer, wine, chocolate and Pringles. Other amenities in the room included tea- and coffee-making facilities (including take-away coffee cups), an iron, an ironing board, a laptop safe, wooden hangers, robe, slippers and a luggage rack.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS I had access to the lobby-level Club lounge – guests staying in Executive rooms, Executive Corner rooms and suites have free access, as do Gold and Platinum Marriott Reward members, otherwise it costs €65 per person, or €85 for two people. It was homely with comfortable sofas and individual chairs. A continental buffet breakfast is served here daily from 6am-10am, while soft drinks, desserts, fruit and other snacks are available throughout the day, and cocktails are served from 5.30pm-9.30pm. There was an outdoor decking area at the back of the lounge, and an area for parking bikes.
A more extensive buffet breakfast is served from 6.30am-10.30am in the hotel’s Midtown Grill restaurant at the front of the property, which has its own street entrance. I was greeted by cheerful staff who showed me to my table and brought me a jug of coffee. Among the options were pancakes, muffins, pastries, fruit, yoghurt, cereals, scrambled eggs, fried tomatoes, sausages and streaky bacon. The restaurant had a pleasant, sleek design – it had an open kitchen, fresh yellow walls and black and white photography of New York. Midtown Grill closes in the afternoon, but opens for dinner from 6pm-10.30pm, when it specialises in serving huge steaks imported from the US.
Next to Midtown Grill is the hotel’s Sorel’s Midtown Bar and Lounge. It pays homage to Amsterdam’s diamond production industry, and is named after Agnes Sorel, the mistress of King Charles VII of France, and the first lady ever to wear a diamond as jewellery. The contemporary all-day bar serves lunch and dinner – dishes on the menu include curries and the signature Marriott burger. It also serves “Soreltini” martinis, with every 100th one served containing a real diamond. The rich colours and crystal bar give the space a glamourous, cosmopolitan feel – it’s open from 8am-1am. The hotel also has a members-only cigar lounge.
BUSINESS AND MEETING FACILITIES There are 12 meeting spaces (five of them combine to form the grand ballroom) located on the first floor – they don’t have daylight. The red-patterned carpeted ballroom can hold 450 delegates theatre-style, and had LED lighting technology.
There is a business centre in the lobby with PCs (internet costs €5 for 15 minutes or €10 for 45 minutes) and a printer (printing boarding passes is free) – it’s open from 7am-11.50pm. Faxing and secretarial services are available for guests.
LEISURE FACILITIES The hotel’s large renovated gym is split over three levels. There is a good selection of Life Fitness equipment and a sauna – it’s open 24 hours. There’s no spa, but in-room massages can be arranged, and there’s also a hair salon.
VERDICT The refurbished ground floor has injected some contemporary style into the well-located property, and staff were very pleasant.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 395 rooms and suites
ROOM HIGHLIGHTS The comfortable bed and the free water
PRICE Internet prices for a flexible midweek stay in December started from €199 for a King room.
CONTACT Amsterdam Marriott Hotel, Stadhouderskade 12; tel +31 206 075 555; amsterdammarriott.com