If you're considering coming on my June Curious Amsterdam excursion, you're probably thinking:
"Cynthia's given me an interesting piece of the puzzle to play with...where will I stay?"
I'm happy to offer suggestions for your Amsterdam lodging comfort.One of the reasons I set up my excursions without lodging is that everyone has a certain standard for nesting while traveling. It’s a very personal decision and I think everyone should and can find the perfect lodging for them.
That said, I can make recommendations based on my taste and what I like when I travel. Be warned: I like quirky and unusual places to stay. If you’re more of a four-star hotel dweller, you won’t like my suggestions.
Live like a local
I prefer to stay in neighborhoods where the rhythms of daily life are apparent as opposed to a tourist zone where all I see are visitors with cameras and all the brightly lit joints that cater to that crowd.
To me, it’s more important to be around shops, cafes, grocery stores and street markets versus being near the museums or other attractions. I don’t mind being slightly away from the center, and you won’t catch me pitching up near Leidsplein.
I rarely stay in hotels. I prefer to rent an apartment for a week or more. This saves money and feels more comfortable and private. I like to cook some of my meals, which allows me to buy sumptuous goodies from the local market.
Of course, whether you're in a hotel or otherwise, be sure to buy flowers from one of the hundreds of flower markets in Amsterdam.
I especially like to have lovely tea or coffee and breakfast at home in a leisurely fashion before I head out into the city. During my last stay in Amsterdam, we cooked giant American breakfasts that fueled hours of biking and exploring.
We’d been traveling for four weeks and appreciated the ability to eat the kinds of breakfasts that some Americans like. We made a leek fritatta, roasted potatoes, toasted whole grain bread, yogurt (my favorite coconut flavor!), and endless cups of Earl Grey tea.
Amster-lodgingIn Amsterdam, I have stayed near Vondelpark, both across from the Rijksmuesem and in Oud-west, and in the charming Jordaan neighborhood, just near Anne Frank’s house.
Most often, I use craigslist to find apartments. One time in Amsterdam it didn’t work out so great, and twice it worked out just fine. I’ve used craigslist to find apartments in Paris since 2003 and it always works out very well.
I’m usually shooting to spend around 60 euros ($100) per night, which often results in really small apartments.
Paris shoebox>Amsterdam apartment 1> Amsterdam apartment 2
Finding an apartment online
You have to trust your intuition and be savvy when renting from people online. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this, don’t.
There are tons of places online to rent apartments in other cities. Just search "apartment rental short term Amsterdam"If you do want to rent a place via craigslist, here’s what I do.
Start by choosing what neighborhood you want to stay in. Go to the Amsterdam craigslist page, click on sublet/temporary housing. (Not vacation rentals, which will be a lot of overpriced apartments or bed and breakfasts.)
I look for listings with photos, and try to get the exact location. You can use google earth to see the place live. Look at least two months in advance.
Contact the person, ask questions about logistics, agreements, deposits, cost, making sure what you need is included. It’s vital for me to have good internet connectivity and to have that included in the cost, so I make sure to inquire about that.
You may also want to rent an art studio (often a workspace and not lodging). Transartists hosts studio rentals from all around the world.
Glancing at the list is fun – I can imagine myself on a Greek island, working on my next novel, or living outside of Istanbul in my own apartment. The possibilities are endless.
Here are a few other cool places to stay, as recommended by Le Cool Amsterdam. I'll be recommending this guide to you later; stay tuned.Le Maroxidien is an ‘organic’ bed and breakfast near the Central Station.
De Windketel must be one of the oddest places to rent: a former property of the Municipal Water Company. Three stories of pure charm
Other ways to find places to stay:
• Ask your network – tweet or make a Facebook request for info to ask for lodging recommendations.
• Check out Couchsurfing.com. Good cochsurfing guests aren’t just in it for the free lodging. Expect to connect and make new friends.
• Do a search for your desired neighborhood, perhaps you’ll find a houseboat or an artist’s studio or something interesting.
Other ideas? Share them in a comment below.
If you haven't signed up for Curious Amsterdam: Tap Your Creative Juju, there's still time to get the early registration discount - enough to buy you at least two nights' lodging in Amsterdam! Check it all out here.