Max Brown Canal District
This three-star hotel is actually a trio of listed buildings and is in a quiet, picturesque spot where the Herengracht and Brouwersgracht canals meet. The reception area, with its copper ceiling and wall covering made of open books, doubles as a cosy bar. Moored outside is the hotel’s boat, which offers tours for €15pp. Bedrooms have wood-clad walls and retro details such as 1950s telephones and vintage lamps; several sleep three or four, making them suitable for families.
• Doubles from €128 B&B, Herengracht 13-19, +31 20 710 7288, maxbrownhotels.com
Photograph: Rien Meulman
With an address in the Kinkerbuurt, one of Amsterdam’s developing districts, CityHub is aimed at travellers who need a bed and little more. Instead of bedrooms it has “hubs” – sound-proofed private pods with app-controlled speakers, mood lighting and a queen-size bed – and that’s about it. The pods are windowless and you can touch the ceiling if you’re lying in bed – so are not for the claustrophobic. Shared washrooms are equipped with kimonos, towels and hair dryers. Guests use wristbands, handed out on arrival, for checking in (and out), for locking the hub and locker (for items that would take up too much space in the hub), and for scanning purchases from the vending machine and self-service bar. Free wifi ensures a connection with a duty host, who can answer questions from anywhere in the city. CityHub offers a €10 breakfast at a cafe to its right, or there’s a great bakery to the left at the Ten Kate market.
• Doubles from €60 room only, Bellamystraat 3, cityhub.com
Photograph: Marije Kuiper
Cocomama feels like a shared student house, though the stripper pole on the stairs is a reminder of this former brothel’s more “exotic” past. Organised bar crawls, a board games night, walking tours and twice-weekly vegetarian “family dinner” (€3-€5) mean it’s perfect for travellers who want to socialise. Breakfast is included and changes daily: smoothies, tea and coffee, and a hot dish such as egg muffins or pancakes. The bedrooms are functional but all have private facilities. Trams 4, 7 and 10 run to the main attractions in 5-10 minutes.
• Doubles from €120 B&B, dorm beds from €33, minimum two-night stay, Westeinde 18, +31 20 627 2454, cocomamahostel.com
Colours in de Pijp B&B
With the Sarphatipark (a public park) at one end of the street and the shops and restaurants of Van Woustraat at the other, this B&B just outside the centre makes a great base. The four good-value, spacious rooms all have private bathrooms. Each has access to a kitchen, too (either shared or private), but since guests are only allowed to prepare cold food, most choose to eat out. One of the bedrooms, the enormous, light-filled “garden room”, has a huge dining table and a terrace opening on to a garden, while the green and yellow rooms have period features including moulded ceilings and marble fireplaces. Despite the name, the B&B doesn’t serve breakfast, but the Pijp district is bursting with brunch spots.
• Doubles from €115 room only, Tweede Jan van der Heijdenstraat 12-14, +31 20 679 7598, bbcoloursindepijp.nl
Generator Hostel, Amsterdam
Nescio cafe at the Generator Hostel. Photograph: Nikolas Koenig
This 565-bed hostel in the 30-acre Oosterpark is in a 1916 building that was once part of the University of Amsterdam’s science department. The decor is a mixture of modernism and reclaimed materials from its past. Lamps fashioned from laboratory flasks hang over the Auditorium bar (Thurs-Sat 9pm-3am), a former lecture theatre where punters drink at benches made from the original tiered seating. Bedrooms include quads (two bunk beds), twins, doubles and suites – all with private bathrooms. Ask for a room at the front or side for views of the park. A continental buffet breakfast is €8.50 or à la carte is €4-€8 at the Nescio cafe on the ground floor.
• Quad beds from €15, doubles from €95 room only, Mauritskade 57, +31 20 708 5600, generatorhostels.com
Hotel Not Hotel
Tram room at the hotel
The 26 rooms at Hotel Not Hotel were all individually created by designers, mostly from Design Academy Eindhoven. Some bedrooms are behind ivy-clad walls and bookcases, while others are in a freestanding 1970s tram, a chapel, and a Spanish villa. Rooms are TV-free in a bid to encourage guests to hang out in the communal areas, including the Kevin Bacon bar, which is also popular with locals. Fourteen rooms have private bathrooms; the others, some as small as five sq metres, have smart shared facilities. It’s not unusual to see a guest crossing the lobby in their bathrobe. Breakfast is €9.50 at the bar, which transforms into a Thai restaurant for dinner.
• Doubles from €60 room only, Piri Reïsplein 34, +31 020 820 4538, hotelnothotel.com
Qbic Hotel WTC Amsterdam
Popular with business travellers thanks to its location in the World Trade Center complex, this 82-room hotel is more characterful than the usual corporate stay and also attracts plenty of tourists. The pink-and-yellow lobby, colourful corridors (and free tea and coffee) help create an informal atmosphere. Some rooms look directly into the atrium of the centre’s ultra-modern C Tower, so it’s possible to watch the office workers come and go – while you sit with your feet up. It’s one stop on the train from Schiphol airport, and a 15-minute tram ride to the centre. Breakfast is €13.50.
• Doubles from €69 room only, Mathijs Vermeulenpad 1, +31 20 238 2195, qbichotels.com
The Eelhouse B&B
Photograph: JJ Stok
Rooms in the Jordaan district are typically small and expensive but this B&B, in a 17th-century corner house, is an exception. A green spiral staircase leads up to two large, light, double rooms. Daphne, the friendly owner, stocks the fridge with complimentary drinks and there’s a small dining table, sink and microwave in each of the rooms. The residential street is pretty quiet but there’s a huge choice of bars and restaurants just around the corner, and the food-focused Lindengracht market (Sat, 9am-4pm) is at the end of the road. Breakfast is included – and delivered by Daphne to your room each morning.
• Doubles from €100 B&B, two-night minimum stay, Tweede Lindendwarsstraat 21, +31 6 11804401, eelhouse.eu
The Lloyd Hotel
The Lloyd’s striking 1920s building, overlooking the IJ harbour, housed migrants, refugees, juvenile offenders – and later artists’ studios – before becoming a hotel in 2004. Today, its modern-meets-art-deco interior accommodates 250 guests in rooms to suit all budgets: from twins with shared bathrooms to studio flats with kitchen and living areas. Some rooms have up to seven beds, making them ideal for groups or families, while honeymooners might like the giant bedroom in the eaves with its wooden beams, big bath, and swing suspended from the ceiling. The Lloyd restaurant’s buffet breakfast is €17.50pp.
• Doubles from €75 room only, Oostelijke Handelskade 34, +31 20 561 3607 lloydhotel.com
The Student Hotel, Amsterdam City
Photograph: Kasia Gatkowska Photography
The 13-floor Student Hotel, just east of the centre, is the flagship branch of this rapidly expanding franchise, which brings together tourists, business guests and students under one roof. Hotel guests sleep in a separate wing from the students, but all enjoy smart, modern rooms with en suite bathrooms. Upper floors offer views of the city. Complimentary condoms by the bed and the giant rainbow-coloured “everybody should like everybody” sign across the lobby windows, feel very Amsterdam and typify the hotel’s relaxed, friendly vibe. Breakfast is €12.
• Doubles from €80 room only, Wibautstraat 129, +31 20 214 9999, thestudenthotel.com