One of the things that makes Amsterdam such a wonderful and unique city to visit is its canals. For many years, the canals were used as routes of trade, to bring goods in and out of the city. Now, many Dutch people call the canals home.
When you first visit Amsterdam, you’ll be struck by all of the houseboats lining the canals. Amsterdam houseboats range from luxurious to dilapidated to just strangely decorated. And while it seems odd that the low, long boat floating along the canal with a pink plastic flamingo attached to the roof has people living in it, it does. Chances are, it doesn’t go anywhere (or even that it can’t), for many it’s a great alternative lifestyle in the center of the city.
The houseboat is a long tradition in Amsterdam. It’s such an integral part of the city’s character, that it’s something many tourists come specifically to see. And even stay in.
Yep, you can stay in one of Amsterdam’s famous houseboats. The most famous houseboat hotel, or Botel, is the Amstel Botel. It’s equivalent to a 3-star hotel and is located on the canal just two minutes or so from Central Station. Just like any other Amsterdam hotel, the Boatel has a 24 hour front desk, laundry services, and even a restaurant and bar with a pool table. The bar is small and you wouldn’t want to spend all night there, but it can be a great place to have a drink while waiting to rendezvous with friends. The staff is super friendly, and there’s also a continental breakfast.
The rooms are very basic, and very small. The Amstel Botel is no-frills, and is a great place to stay if you want to be in the center of the city. It caters to a young crowd, so if you’re looking for a quiet visit in Amsterdam, you should probably look elsewhere.
If you do stay at the Amstel Botel, make sure to call or email a few days ahead an ask for an upper floor room facing the canal these rooms offer a better view. You might also want to bring some bread or crackers into your room from a nearby grocery store, as it’s a lot of fun to lean out your windows to feed the ducks from your hotel room.