Lots of threads on this one, in fact I posted this same question a while ago. My experience the Renaissance is by far the better if you want to be in the heart of the city. Hard to give you a really more accurate answer without knowing why you are going and with whom. If you are taking kids, the Red Light district is not a far walk from the Renaissance, so perhaps the Marriott is better. If you are driving, the daily fee at the Renaissance is 55E and its valet only. If you are arriving by train, the Renaissance is a short walk from the train station. Look around at a few of the other posts or let us know here what you are looking for exactly in your stay / visit.
No problem at all There's a bunch of threads on it, here's the one I put up with the responses I got.
I will say the Renaissance is in a great area overall. We parked the car and walked everywhere we wanted to go. The train station can get you most anywhere, plenty of cabs around if you need too. When I go back I likely will always book the Renaissance. The property is fantastic, staff is outstanding and rooms were what you would expect for a Renaissance property.
Zukracer is all over this one!
Take his advice and Ren. it!
Wonderful hotel, recently updated, and here are a few pictures for you! By the way, don't forget to train it from/to the airport and you can walk to the Ren. from the train station. Likewise, here is a great, and inexpensive place to dine, just a short walk from the Ren. Before that is a picture of Anne Frank's home. Most interesting! The last picture is the Ren. Hotel.
Now the Madre Maria, is not expensive, nor fancy. It does have table cloths and strolling musician (When I have been there twice). Here are a couple of more pictures you may enjoy!
This wood fired grill made great steaks, and I don't think the whole meal was over 15 EU.
This boat was a great deal, and right across from a famous museum (I can't give the title, because it might offend someone).
Canal in front of A. Franks house.
What a way to see Amsterdam!
100 miles of canals, makes a wonderful and scenic experience.
That is exactly what I am looking for good, local and inexpensive. My room includes canal ride for 2 and I think I will purchase and additional ride. We will be there about 2 days so we plan on going to the places you mentioned plus the Van Gogh museum and my pick the Heineken Experience. Why I am unsure b/c I don't drink beer. Anyway, I plan on having a GREAT time there. Thank you for your help. Donna C.
You will have a great time!
You really can do the trip very reasonably. Don't hesitate to rent a bike, or do a lot of walking. It is very easy to find your way around. Walked from The Ren. to Anne Frank's house and back, no problem. If you follow my trail on that walk you will see this place which had wonderful pastry, and a great place to sit and relax. Have a great time! There are so many fun places to enjoy!
It is very easy to get from the airport to the trains station. Once there you are about a block from the Ren., if you stay there, I think I walked to everything I wanted to see and do.
You will enjoy the canal tour, and I would do that as early in the stay as you can, just to orient you on the city. Just make plans on what to do if you encounter bad weather. Just go to the inside activities if the weather is bad. Here are a few more pictures you may enjoy.
The wonderful place to take a break on the walk to Anne Frank's. Can you read the street name, it's on a canal.
Never a dull sight! Enjoy!
I have also done that, and will share some photo's with you.
One BIG bit of advice, get your train tickets early, in Paris, for the trip.
Secondly, know exactly what train station you are leaving from, (Try to buy the tickets at the station you are leaving from, and do a "Dress rehearsal" before the "Real event".
Lastly, buy an assigned seat on the train! (Don't take SRO or you may just be doing that). Get to you when you get on the train, and stay there until at least you get out of Paris. If not, you may have plenty of SRO people attempt to get your seat and avoid that problem.
You will probably go to Brussels first, once you arrive there about 1/2 of the train emptied for my trip. It will be easier from there.
You may want to take your own "Refreshments and food" with you on the train. Keep it in a special area that you can get to easily. I always have a nice glass of vino and some cheese/crackers on my train trips (My throat always seems to get a little "Parched" on the train).
Lastly, upon arrival in Amsterdam have a plan early to get away from the train station. It is not a place to really "Look like a tourist". You will want to map out exactly where to go (You can't go wrong), to get to the hotel.
Leaving from Gare d' Nord for Amsterdam, a nice train!
Before you leave, follow the easy instructions, not too early, and be careful about pickpockets, and don't use ATM's here at Gare d' Nord.
You can take the Metro to Gare d' Nord (If not too many bags), taxi or shuttle. This is outside of the train station.
Have you ever stayed at the Marriott Courtyard Amsterdam (Airport)? Although I made a reservation for the Renaissance, I get in at 7pm and leave at 11:10 am the next day so it seems ridiculously to pay for a cab to and from downtown only to sleep.
Thanks so much, Jerry - the free to the airport makes a difference. There'd be no real point in going downtown, going to sleep and taking a cab back early in the morning, so I have changed my reservation. The Courtyards in Europe seem to be doing much better than here at home (except the Courtyard Rome Airport).
We stayed at the Renaissance last May and really enjoyed its central location, the stylish rooms, and the very friendly and helpful staff. There's also an outdoor cafe across the street with awesome waffles served with a variety of sinful toppings. When we return to Amsterdam, we'll definitely stay here again.
That being said, if you have small children and aren't ready to discuss prositution or pot with them, then the Marriott might be more appropriate for you.
I was just there at the first of the month. The property was in great condition (as would be expected) and the staff were amazing as they have been in the past. I found the train in from the airport was pretty easy going. There are a few options on trains (local vs more express) that can take 12-20mins so you can look on this site NS › Travellers › Home to find the current train schedules. If you do not have a chip/pin credit card or euro coins you'll have to walk up to the ticket counter at the airport to buy your tickets. If you know when you are going back, you can pick up a return ticket at the same time
They are doing some work in some of the areas around the center of town that caused crossing a few streets a little more interesting and some areas were quite dirty/muddy from the work. Wear some comfortable shoes and have a blast! If you are going anytime soon, make sure you pack/wear warm layers, the proximity to the water makes it pretty cold.
Thank you for the info! We'll be staying at the Renaissance in late April...hopefully better weather and flowers! We are either going to drive in from Bruge, then take the train from Amsterdam to Dusseldorf. Still deciding about whether to take trains from Brussels to Bruges and Amsterdam or rent a car from Brussels to take to Bruges and Amsterdam. I know the trains are easy, but I love driving trips...tough decision. Any recommendations?
I'm a huge road trip fan myself but the high speed trains are the way to go between cities. The cost of gas and parking, which at the AMS Ren is 55€ a day alone gets expensive quick. You can see a great deal of the countryside on the train and they run on time. Driving can be a challenge if they close a roadway. Unless your gps has area avoidance capabilities you might find yourself sitting in lots of traffic. If you want to go to a place near your main destination city that trains don't service just rent a car for the day to avoid parking fees.
Spend more time in the cities and just train it between them. Really unless your drive was intended to sightsee along the way and stay off major highways driving is kinda like anywhere else....not much to see and McDonalds at gas station rest stops
One tip. Make sure you know what time your train is, where the station is and get there a little early. You don't have to be there extra early like the airport but you don't want to miss your train....they won't hold it or the doors if you are running towards it
And in most train stations, make sure to validate or 'composter' your ticket in a little machine near each of the train track entrances to avoid possible fines. If you do forget, nicely accost a conductor and tell him so you won't get fined.
Zukracer is absolutely right about the price of gas in Europe being prohibitive. Here are gas prices around the world (Belgium is at 1.69euros a LITER right now). There are about 3.8 litres to a gallon x 1.69 x the current USD exchange rate of 1.35, so it's not good (around $9/gal). That's why if you decide to rent, get a compact car. In general, Europe has the highest prices in the world for unleaded gas.
Great thread, even if it is a bit dated. I had this exact question since I'll be there for a week after a weekend visit to my cousin's family deployed in Belgium. I love this new job!
And I will echo the previous comments - unless you're visiting Nuerburgring, there's absolutely no reason to drive while in Europe. Autobahn maybe - but it's not really the unlimited-speed-limit you think it is.
Yes, a bit dated, but Amsterdam doesn't seem to change that much, especially over 100's of years.
Likewise, most of us, can go as fast as we want on the autobahn, but I totally agree with you, it's better not to drive, if you don't have too!
Nothing like doing 160, and being passed by so many others. Especially, ladies, in volkswagon's!