Tried & Tested

Hotel check: Radisson SAS Hotel Amsterdam

1 Sep 2006 by business traveller
What's it like? One of two Radisson SAS Hotels in Holland's capital (the other is near Schiphol airport), this hotel is split over a couple of buildings on opposite sides of a quiet street, connected by an underground walkway. The main entrance leads to a bright atrium area with the brand's characteristic satellite check-in pods. Where is it? In the old centre, around five minutes' walk from bustling Dam Square and the Red Light District – although you would never know from the peace and quiet of the streets around the hotel. Guests can catch any of six trams (numbers 4, 9, 14, 16, 24 or 25) from Centraal Station to Dam Square and then walk to the hotel, or alternatively you can catch a taxi from the station for between €10 and €15. How many rooms? 242 in a mixture of Maritime, Scandinavian and Art Deco styles – 181 are deluxe rooms, 44 are business class and 15 are executive, plus two suites. Room facilities My second-floor business class room was located in the 17th century Wapen Van Amsterdam building, across the street from reception. Previously a bakery, casino and cigar factory (not all at once), this building was badly damaged in a fire in 1883 and was restored at the start of the 20th century. Staying in the separate building means taking a lift from the lobby area to the basement level, then walking underneath the road and catching another lift to your desired floor. It's a bit of a chore, but the advantages are that the rooms in the second building have higher ceilings and some have canal views. Compared to the Pulitzer, the Radisson has a much more corporate feel, with free wifi access as standard, and familiar features such as the power tower (housing the TV, iron, trouser press, minibar and safe) in most rooms. My room was decorated in the Maritime style, with stained wood furniture and pictures of boats adorning the walls. The Art Deco rooms are lighter in colour with appropriately themed furniture, while the Scandinavian rooms have simple beige, yellow and grey curtains and bedspreads. All rooms have the facilities mentioned above, plus king-sized beds (although for some reason I only had a single duvet), a large desk and air conditioning, while business class and executive rooms have enhanced amenities, including bathrobe and slippers and a high-tech espresso coffee maker. It took me a while to fathom how to work this Buck Rogers gadget, but when I did, it delivered a fine cuppa. Bathroom amenities in all rooms include the customary "shots" of shower gel and shampoo, as well as shaving products and a toothbrush/toothpaste. Executive rooms are the largest of the three room categories at 35sqm (deluxe is 25sqm, and business class 30sqm) and unlike the other rooms, are equipped with a flat-screen TV. Room views vary between side street and canal, although some of those in the main building have internal atrium views – this area is still pretty bright, so light in the rooms should not be affected too much. Restaurants and bars Breakfast, lunch and dinner are served in De Palmboom restaurant, which has a private dining area called Talavera. Located on the ground floor with views of the side street, the restaurant is decorated in warm, barnhouse hues – it is, however, a little on the cosy side when faced with a large number of hungry guests all wanting their buffet breakfast. The adjacent Pastorie Bar has loads of character, with original features such as a huge fireplace and wooden flooring. Business and meeting facilities The hotel has five meeting rooms – three of which can be divided, making a possible eight in total. All have natural daylight, air conditioning and both wired and wifi internet access. Located on the fifth floor of the separate building (this extra floor with large panoramic windows was added to the original building after the fire damage), several of the rooms have fine views of the city. Leisure facilities The hotel has a fitness centre, which is reached via a short flight of stairs from the basement area, with Technogym equipment including treadmill, cross trainer and free weights. There is also a mixed sauna and a solarium. Verdict While it can't compete with the rambling Pulitzer in novelty and intrigue, the Radisson is far better suited to corporate guests looking for standard-sized rooms and free internet access. You know what you are going to get with a Radisson SAS in terms of facilities, and, as usual, it delivers. Prices Fully flexible internet rates for a midweek stay in early September started at €324 for a standard room (room only), rising to €376 for a business class room, including buffet breakfast. Contact Radisson SAS Hotel Amsterdam, Rusland 17, tel +31 20 623 1231, Mark Caswell
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