Hotel AmicitiA

I’m dipping into my travel archives a little bit to recommend a truly unique experience for anyone looking to do Amsterdam on a budget!

If the thought of a regular hostel doesn’t quite float your boat, then the answer is simple: float on a boat at Hotel AmicitiA! Permanently docked right in the city centre, this hotel on water is the ideal location for tourists looking to cram as much of ‘Dam’s sights and culture in as possible, while also being part of the culture itself!

Hotel AmicitiA

The boat has two decks; the upper deck being a communal area with a few kitchen-y bits like a microwave and cutlery, and also a stocked fridge of drinks that has an honesty-box style donation pot. Its cosy and a great place to spend evenings playing games or utilising the free wifi. I spent a rainy afternoon curled up in an armchair, reading, writing and watching the world go by; I had the whole place to myself and it was perfect! There’s also a few toilets and access to the outside deck.

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The rooms make up the lower deck of the boat, accessible only by a very narrow flight of stairs – worth bearing in mind if you have large suitcases! Each cabin sleeps two people in built-in bunk beds, and also has a little sink and a bit of storage. They’re small, but if you’re spending all your time in your cabin then I think you’re doing something wrong, ha! At the end of the corridor, there are showers and toilets; they’re pretty small and the water pressure was a bit dodgy at times, but they do the job.

The hotel has a slightly unusual set-up when it comes to staff; for the duration of the day, there’s no staff aboard, and access to the boat is by a door code, with room keys left out on the desk in named envelopes. If you have any problems, there’s a contact number – I actually had to call it as I was having a problem with the door code and they were really helpful! The owner is around in the morning for breakfast, which is a Dutch/continental style buffet, and this is when you can sort out payment (cash only!) and checking out.

Overall Pros:

  • Great city centre location – right outside NEMO
  • Nearby underground public car park – I think I paid about €12.50 for 24 hours
  • A short walk from the train station and ferry terminal
  • Super rustic and full of character
  • Great for backpackers
  • Facilities like free wifi, microwave

Overall Cons:

  • Not really suitable for families
  • All bunk beds
  • No staff around during the day
  • Showers were a tad unreliable
  • Not ideal if you can’t stand swaying a little while trying to sleep!

I honestly loved this hotel; I know there were a few flaws but I had such a lovely relaxed time on the boat that I really didn’t mind the dodgy showers and small cabin. It was just such a unique and fun experience, and I would 100% recommend it to backpackers and budget travellers!

Would you sleep on a boat?

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Lottie Does Europe: Canal Boats and Adventures

And I’m in Amsterdam!

After what I can only really describe as an ‘interesting’ night, I was all too happy to leave my hotel in Brussels nice and early to get on the road, and got into Amsterdam at around 11am. I’d done some research, and found a cheap 24hr stay underground car park that was fairly central to everything, as well as near my hotel, so headed there to leave my car and do the day on foot.

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First on the agenda was NEMO, the science centre. I’ve done my fair share of museums this trip, but I’ve been dying to find a science museum, I am my mother’s daughter after all! It was literally 2 minutes walk from the car park, and in that two minutes I also spotted my hotel, so I was really onto a winner. I would seem, however, that most of the schools and families in the area had had the same idea for their day, and the place was packed with noisy kids running around, but it was fab nonetheless. With 4 floors, I spent a good few hours walking around, trying the various experiments and activities; there was something for everyone from tots to teens to adults.

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Following that, I walked along the canal and stopped off for some lunch in a Starbucks (which isn’t a place I usually frequent, but it was cold and I needed a hot chocolate and a toastie) and stayed there a little while watching the boats in the canal. There seemed to be a few ‘hop on, hop off’ style canal boats going round, so I decided to go in search of one of these tours, heading for the main ferry terminal as my first stop. This, however, came to no avail, so I continued along the main stretch of water, towards the central bus and train station. Still no luck, so I kept walking.

Eventually, I realised I had been wandering the city for a few hours, seeing plenty of its beauty, but no closer to finding any of these tours. It was getting darker, there were ominous drops falling from the sky, and I wasn’t 100% sure where I was in relation to my hotel, so I decided it was probably time to start finding my way back. I went back to the car to get my things, and made my way back to the docks.

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Yes, the docks, because you see my hotel for the night is, in fact, a canal boat: AmicitiA. I have a little cabin on the lower deck, with bunk beds and a tiny porthole window, and the upper deck is a cosy common area, which I currently have to myself, watching the boats go by outside in the rain. I’m loving it, its going to be the perfect way to end my trip!