The “New” American to Europe: Andaz Amsterdam

Introduction
American Airlines Business Class New York to London
Andaz Amsterdam
American Airlines Business Class London to New York


Given that my itinerary had me spending two nights in London, I instead decided to add on a side trip to Amsterdam, a city I’ve never visited before. I was also excited that this would allow me to experience the Andaz Amsterdam, which opened just a few months ago. In this post I shared my thoughts regarding the hotel booking process, and in the end decided to pay cash for my two night stay, rather than using 18,000 Gold Passport points per night.

My rate was about 240 Euros per night. While that’s far from cheap it seemed worthwhile given that I’d be earning stay credits, could use a confirmed suite upgrade, and they had a promotion for 2,000 bonus points for any paid stay, given that it’s a new property.

I had asked for hotel suggestions on Twitter and the Andaz Amsterdam’s Twitter team got involved and offered to help with anything related to my booking. After confirming my booking I realized that they didn’t actually have standard suites available anymore for both nights (but rather just the first night), so I sent them a direct message asking if they’d still be able to offer a confirmed suite upgrade. I’ve found many hotels to be more than happy to confirm an upgrade in a non-base suite using a confirmed Diamond suite upgrade, especially only a few days out.

They direct messaged me back to say they had a suite upgrade available for me and that I should contact Gold Passport to have it applied. I did so as soon as I received that message, and direct messaged them back to confirm the suite upgrade had been applied.

Anyway, fast forward to the day of my stay. Due to my extremely late flight from New York to London I missed my connection to Amsterdam and was rebooked on a later one, which got me in around 5PM. I took a train to the central train station in Amsterdam, and a cab from there to the Andaz.

My first impressions of Amsterdam from being driven to the hotel in the cab were really favorable. As the cab driver stopped and said “here we are” I didn’t even realize the Andaz was a hotel, as it blends into the neighborhood so well. That being said, Amsterdam seems to have a lot more boutique hotels than just about any other city I’ve visited.


View outside the Andaz


Andaz exterior

While there were no bellman outside I was warmly welcomed once in the lobby, where I was offered a drink. The lobby was really creatively designed, and felt “hip” without feeling too douchey. On the side of the lobby was a big news-style screen with a video of a girl jumping up and down on a bed playing continuously.


Andaz lobby


Andaz lobby


Andaz lobby

The check-in agent was friendly if not a bit inexperienced. All the staff here were really young and enthusiastic, and from talking to them it was clear that they were “fresh blood” to the hotel industry.

Anyway, I was informed I would be in a standard room the first night and a suite the second night. I explained that while that’s what Gold Passport confirmed, that I had been in touch with the hotel’s Twitter team and that I had been informed they had a suite for me both nights. I was going to chalk it up to a miscommunication though did show them my interaction with the Twitter team. The agent’s response? The Andaz Amsterdam’s Twitter isn’t run by the hotel, but from the United States.

Okay, I’m pretty familiar with social media and I’ve never heard of a hotel’s individual Twitter account being run from abroad. So I asked for clarification that she was referring to the Andaz Amsterdam’s Twitter specifically, and not Hyatt or Gold Passport’s general Twitter account. She confirmed that and checked with her colleague, who agreed. I simply responded with “wow, okay, that’s interesting.” Seeing I wasn’t too pleased she called over the front office manager, who confirmed the same thing — the hotel’s Twitter team is indeed run from outside the hotel. Either three people are lying to me, seriously misinformed, or the hotel has a really bad social media strategy.

Anyway, the miscommunication regarding the upgrade wasn’t a big deal to me so I just asked them to downgrade me for both days since I didn’t want to switch rooms. Actually the main reason I wanted a suite was to be able to review it, and since I was traveling alone I was perfectly content in a standard room and figured I’d save my suite upgrade for another stay.

The friendly agent walked me up to my room, which can be accessed either through an underground walkway or through the courtyard.


Courtyard


Courtyard


Hallway alternative to courtyard

We took the elevator up to the fourth floor, where my room was located. I loved the design of the elevator.


Elevator


Hallway

I was assigned room 435, a “Large Garden View King.”


Room entrance

Okay, I usually don’t like overly “artistic” rooms, because they end up feeling either cheap or impractical, or more often than not, both. This room was just stunning, in my opinion.

I’ll actually let the pictures speak for themselves for the most part, since I thought the interior was so unique without being impractical. My one complaint regarding the room is that I wish the chair by the desk would have had wheels and also been a bit more comfortable. Other than that, I loved the decor.


Large Garden View King


Large Garden View King


Large Garden View King


Large Garden View King


Large Garden View King

Andaz hotels come with free internet, soft drinks, and snacks for all guests. While the minibar was stocked with a decent selection of soft drinks, I was a bit surprised by the snacks… or more specifically lack thereof.


Minibar

The minibar featured just a single granola bar, which seemed cheap.


Minibar

The bathroom featured a sink which wasn’t separated from the rest of the room.


Sink

Then there was a rainforest shower with ZENOLOGY branded toiletries. Interestingly the glass in the shower was see through, but only one way (when looking from the shower to the room).


Shower


Shower


Toiletries

Then the toilet was located opposite of the entrance, and featured the same design as the elevator.


Bathroom

On the desk was a tin of Dutch caramel waffle cookies, which are possibly the most addicting thing ever.


Welcome amenity

As far as the room’s views go, while I would have preferred a room facing the canal, the garden view was fine too.


View from my room

The first day I went sightseeing for a bit, then fell asleep and woke up relatively late and ordered room service. About five minutes after placing my order I got a call back asking if I wanted dessert. I was a bit surprised she didn’t know because she repeated the order back to me. Then five minutes after my meal was delivered I got a call telling me they didn’t have mozzarella cheese, and asked if I wanted a different type of cheese instead. What the…?

The sandwich was extremely plain, as I’m sure you can see below…


Room service dinner

In the morning I had my complimentary Diamond breakfast at Bluespoon Restaurant, which serves breakfast from 6:30AM till 11:30AM.

I have to say the service in the restaurant was phenomenal. Not only were the servers attentive, but they had a great sense of humor. When I didn’t finish a plate one of the servers looked at me in shock and said “how am I supposed to explain this to the chef?”


Bluespoon Restaurant


Bluespoon Restaurant

The restaurant had a small buffet and then also a menu off of which you could order main courses.

To drink I had an iced coffee, which was promptly served.


Iced coffee

I stuck mostly to the continental breakfast spread since I wasn’t very hungry. It featured both American and Dutch options.


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread


Breakfast spread

After breakfast I had a quick look at the gym, which was basic though sufficient. It didn’t feature any views except through the sunroof.


Gym


Gym


View from the gym

The night of my arrival I made a blog post sharing my thoughts of the hotel, and I thought it was actually pretty positive. When I returned from sightseeing I was contacted by the Director of Operations of the hotel, and we met for coffee. He was an awesome guy and I appreciated he didn’t make any excuses for what had happened up until that point, and simply said what they were doing to correct it. He insisted on upgrading me to a suite for the last night, and while I probably wouldn’t have otherwise switched rooms given that I was leaving at 5AM the next morning, I figured it was worthwhile for the purposes of being able to compare a suite to a standard room.

The suite was located on the third floor in the main building, so I took the elevator straight up from the lobby.


View from elevator

I was assigned room 318, which I believe was a standard Andaz Suite.


Room entrance

The room had a hallway by the entrance leading to the living room.


Hallway to living room

The living room featured a couch, chair, ottoman, and desk.


Living room

They all faced a flat screen TV which was built into the wall separating the living room from the bedroom.


Living room facing towards the bedroom

Also in the living room was the minibar.


Minibar

This minibar had a couple more snacks. In addition to the granola bar it had chocolate and nuts. I’m not sure if the other room didn’t have those because it wasn’t a suite or because it was an oversight on the part of housekeeping, but this is more what an Andaz minibar should look like, in my opinion.


Minibar

The Director of Operations also sent up a bottle of red wine and a bowl of fruit, which was a nice gesture (though I didn’t touch either).


Red wine and fruit

The suite featured views of nearby buildings — not the canal and not the courtyard, but something inbetween.


View from the living room

The bedroom also had an awesomely funky design which I really liked.


Bedroom

And the bed faced a flat screen TV which was on the same wall as the TV living room.


Bedroom TV

The bathroom was much more spacious than in the other room, with double sinks and a soaking tub.


Double sinks


Soaking tub


Soaking tub


Shower


Bathroom

The night before I was departing I called the front desk to see if I could order room service breakfast instead of eating in the restaurant since I was leaving so early. They were accommodating and said it wouldn’t be an issue. I ordered muesli and french toast, though was served muesli and toast instead.


Room service breakfast

Anyway, the stay certainly had some hiccups.

First of all, I loved Amsterdam. Yes, it felt a bit dirty, but I thought the canals were beautiful and loved the food and how walkable everything was. As an American I found the “red light district” to be especially entertaining. I’d return in a heartbeat, as I’m sure it’s only more beautiful when it’s not 30 degrees and actively raining.

Physically I loved the hotel as well. It’s so unique and stylish that it really didn’t feel like a chain hotel, not even like an Andaz. I loved that, and even the Large Garden King I was originally assigned was awesome.

The service was well intentioned and enthusiastic. There were tons of hiccups and service failures, but unlike at other hotels, I never felt like they were intentional or out of laziness or spite. The only part of the stay that leaves a bad taste in my mouth is being told by three separate employees that the hotels’ Twitter isn’t run by the hotel. If they really believed that, it’s completely unacceptable. It’s 2013 and if not even a single person working the front desk knows who runs the hotel’s Twitter, we’ve got a problem. And if they said that as a lie to try and cover up the service failure, that’s even worse.

That being said, I’d return in a heartbeat, and next time be sure that I have my upgrade confirmed in advance. Like I said, I loved Amsterdam and can’t wait to return. The funny thing about Andaz properties is that they’re some of my favorite hotels out there, but almost without exception my first stay at each Andaz was a mild disaster (that includes the Andaz West Hollywood, Wall Street, and 5th Avenue), though subsequently I came to love the hotels.

Have you stayed at the Andaz Amsterdam? If so, what did you think?

Comments

  1. tri n says

    @#$!#$#% I wish I had Diamond status… Pretty nice to insist that you get upgraded to a suite. hmmm. well played sir.

  2. Mike says

    I asked you about Lufthansa business class from dtw to fra and you were kind enough to answer. As a result I chose to fly to Brussels as there are many more flight available for flat bed seats. My final destination is London and I am able to take a express train that takes 2 hours to go to downtown London for between 70-100 dollars depending on day and time. I will get into downtown London about the same time as having to go through fra and then to London by air which I was going to do.

    thanks for your help Mike

  3. beachfan says

    Excellent report!

    Was the suite one of those attic rooms with dormer windows? I really like high ceiling rooms and don’t care for ex servant quarters.

  4. lucky says

    @ beachfan — It did feel a bit like an attic room. The ceiling were still fairly high for the most part, except near the windows.

  5. Lack says

    So what did the manager tell about Twitter?

    It really doesn’t sound so surprising that “social media” is handled by a third party. Might be way more efficient for a smaller hotel this way.

  6. Acker says

    Just back from Amsterdam myself, used HH pts for Doubletree near the train station. Andaz sure beats the Doubletree Amsterdam in the decor department. Our room reminded me of a college dorm, furnished by Ikea~ think plasterboard furniture. Excellent bfast and location but next visit I’ll head to Andaz.

  7. Sunrise089 says

    I take it this hotel wins the prize for best enormous fish+non-fish-object decor?

  8. Jason says

    +1 on Dutch Caramel Waffle cookies. So amazing. They sell them at Cost Plus if you ever want a taste of Amsterdam :)

  9. Dan says

    Lucky,

    I missed the part where you got the straight dope on the Twitter team. Where are they?

  10. lucky says

    @ Dan — Sorry, what do you mean? The part where I asked if they could confirm me in a suite? That was via direct message (since I sent them my confirmation number and didn’t want to do that in public).

  11. jethro says

    Just got back from Amsterdam Tuesday. Stayed at the Hotel Pulitzer, canal view for 4 nights. Couldn’t have been happier with the accomodations. Red light district is certainly an experience, something for everyone. BTW….tulips were lovely shades of green, bummer!

  12. Nick says

    Wow – thats one ugly hotel.
    Can’t figure out what happend there, to bad as I really like Andaz

  13. PL says

    Not a big fan of the decor but seemed like an interesting place. Stroopwafels (aka “Dutch caramel waffle cookies”) are awesome. Always bring a bunch back whenever I’m in the NL.

  14. says

    Stroopwafels are sold at Trader Joes -I’ve got my family hooked on them. I stayed at The Pulitzer on my visit but based on this I may try the Andaz next time

  15. Hawaiianmama says

    My family and I got back from Amsterdam a few weeks ago. The kids loved the big “blue” spoon in the restaurant!!!

  16. says

    I just want to know: would you return to this hotel in a heartbeat? Anyway, your trip report is well intentioned…

  17. Michael T says

    I know I can look this up, but I feel I shouldn’t have to…where is the Andaz Amsterdam? Apparently on a canal, based on the pictures, but not quite sure where. While I love your blog’s theme on maximizing points/upgrades, I’d like at least a passable mention as to whether the hotel is good for someone on holiday.

  18. says

    I’m surprised you made a point to show the elevator. It’s interesting, in a rather mild sense, but it also looks like they simply glued some wallpaper along the back wall. Maybe I’m missing something. Have you ever seen the lifts at the Renaissance Bangkok Ratchaprasong? Now that’s an elevator. If you one too many before heading back to your room you might just find yourself entering a vortex into a parallel universe. Or maybe the Twilight Zone. Good luck trying to capture the experience in a two dimensional photograph. I certainly couldn’t.

  19. yy says

    I hope you enjoyed Amsterdam.

    BTW, Andaz Amsterdam is only 40seconds walk from my office.

  20. Jorg says

    For those going to The Netherlands anytime soon: best is to buy the stroopwafels at a market. There are some in Amsterdam as well, the most famous one at the Albert Cuyp. They can also be bought in any supermarket, though you got to try them at the market: buy a big one that’s made freshly. They’re warm, juicy… god I want one now ;). Luckily I live in Holland (=The Netherlands for foreigners ;) ), but I’ll have to wait until tomorrow to go to a market :(.

    Regarding the Rijksmuseum: yep, it opened again after many many years. Haven’t had the chance to go there yet, though. I think it’s the only museum in the world that actually has a bicycle path going straight through it :).

    @Lucky: don’t worry, not only the Americans find the red light district interesting. Anytime I get a foreigner over, no matter from which country, they all want to see the same :)

    Should you ever come back here, let me know! I’ll give you a personalized tour through the city and show you some other things most foreigners don’t see (nope, I’m not talking about going inside some room with red lighting ;) ).

  21. wwk5d says

    I need to start a blog and get on Twitter more, could end up with better service by making the right comments lol

    All kidding aside, the review is beneficial. Glad you liked it, Lucky, but the decor is definitely not to my taste. I probably wouldn’t choose it. Hopefully we’ll get more reviews of other boutique hotels in Amsterdam to compare.

  22. A. S. says

    In a city where hotels are notoriously overpriced and rooms are known for their “cozy” stature, that looks like a very nice property, indeed. I do like the Delft touches here and there. The decor is a bit busy for my taste, but I wouldn’t let that discourage me from staying there at all. Though I don’t have Diamond status…

  23. Andrew B says

    Both rooms look beautiful, although the fish spoon and fish goblet things above the beds would give me nightmares. And the light fixtures in the lobby above the check-in desks look kind of “douchey” to me, as you say.

    Amsterdam is a great city if you like to bike, which I do.

  24. Jack says

    Ben,
    Your photo above the caption “Living room facing towards the bedroom” is missing when I read the review. All other photos are there so I don’t think that it’s just me.

    Informative review, thanks.

    Jack

  25. lucky says

    @ Jack — Hmmm, could you tell me what browser you’re using? Tried Chrome and Firefox and they both show the picture. Thanks for the heads up!

  26. Rob says

    I was attending a friends wedding in Amsterdam and some my college buddies stayed at the Andaz, the room was small, but functional, though I am not convinced on the price.

    I stayed at the Marriott (where most of the Wedding group stayed) and my room was much larger and about 30 Euros cheaper than the Andaz.

    The Andaz had style, if you are into that kind of thing, me personally I prefer a more standard room a la Marriott which around the world is basically the same box with some minor variation.

  27. 2ruse says

    the bathroom situation seems very strange to me – if 2 people are sharing the room, and don’t really want to see each other naked, what do they do? a design mistake in my opinion (i’m not overly modest, but still…)

Trackbacks

  1. […] The standard suite would be a junior suite in other hotels. The room was like a Premier Park Deluxe room at the PH Washington. None of the standard suites have a view of the canals. With those negatives out of the way, I was happy using a Diamond suite upgrade cert for a 3-night stay. Having a fully separate (and large) bathroom was a big plus–it's somewhat strange to have the sink so close to the bed in the standard rooms. The suite is also at the end of a hall, so more isolated from the other rooms. My Internet connection was somewhat hit or miss, though, and the location may have explained this. Would the upgrade have been worth it on (9K) points (per night)? Perhaps not. These blogs do a decent job of comparing standard room v. suite (with pictures): http://www.mylifesatrip.com/hotel-re…daz-amsterdam/ and http://boardingarea.com/onemileatati…daz-amsterdam/ […]

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