cheap a fan of low prices. If I can save a substantial amount of money and still get to travel, I will put up with a lot. But I *do* insist on good value, even if a place cost relatively little.
Recently I stayed at the Ibis Budget Amsterdam Airport hotel. And, well. It was cheap for the Amsterdam area.
It was also not a good value, because while the good points were fine some of the bad were deal breakers.
This hotel is near to Schiphol airport and has a free shuttle which is fantastic if you are exhausted after a long flight like I was. I checked in quickly, found my room, and immediately slept like the dead for five hours. Then I got up and went into town for dinner because I was starving. If you want to go into Amsterdam, you need to catch a bus which isn’t that big of a deal. The bus runs regularly, the stop is right across a main road with crosswalk from the airport, and the whole setup is fairly easy to figure out. (HINT: the bus you want is NOT a GVB bus, so the free travel that comes with the iAmsterdam card does not work on it and you will end up paying 5 euro *each way* to ride into town. Do not be me. Get a chip card from one of the yellow kiosks.)
Free breakfast. And it is decent breakfast, too. Different kinds of bread and rolls, peanut butter, jams and jellies, cold cuts, sliced tomato and cucumber, juice, coffee (different types, from a machine but good), boiled eggs, and some fruit. I successfully avoided dairy by asking for help from one of the women working the kitchen. She came out and spent maybe three minutes telling me that she doesn’t do dairy either and exactly what I could eat – and then she told me what to go get from local grocery stores if I wasn’t satisfied with my options. Super impressed by this.
Also, if you aren’t lactose intolerant? Make toast, top it with butter, and add some of the rocking little sprinkle topping things they have everywhere in the Netherlands. I’d never seen this before, but there are small boxes (think matchbox sized or thereabouts) of different flavor sprinkles. I brought some home for DS, and the teen boy verdict: very tasty.
Great employees. In addition to the one who helped me with breakfast, I had positive experiences with *all* employees I spoke with. Nobody was snarky, unhelpful, or unpleasant in any way. It was almost spooky at first but I got used to it.
Attractive, if no -frills. The picture I’ve used here is from the Ibis website, but it accurately depicts the lobby area. The lobby is bright, cheery, and well-lit. Hallways are colorful. My room had a sort of “downmarket Ikea” look to it, modern and sleek. It does scream “budget hotel,” but in a quirky way that has some charm.
Oh man, the bad. I almost hate writing this. I wanted to give the place a good review overall, I really did. Everyone was so nice I feel like I’m gearing up to kick a puppy.
Folks, if you can avoid it? Don’t stay here.
Climate control in the room did not work, and when I told the desk about it they seemed puzzled. It is not AC per se but it is climate control (somehow). Well, it did nothing. At all. In July. And there is no fan in the room.
The shower stall smelled like the love child of ball sweat and spoiled milk. I can’t even begin to explain this. The shower in my room was a tiny room-to-itself that opened right into the tiny bedroom. Sink was in the bedroom and toilet in a separate toilet room. I don’t know if it is maybe because sealing the shower off like that doesn’t let air circulate, or if maybe mold or something was growing, but damn, son. That was a bad smell. I would have to steel myself every morning to get in and get clean, and it doesn’t make you feel very clean to get into a shower that smells worse than you do dirty.
The toilet sucked. If you pee you are fine. If you have a bm and it is anything other than a delicate lady-flower offering of tiny compact and easily flushable waste? Good luck with that. You are going to be looking at the evidence for a full day. Not dire, but still icky.
I did notice that toilets don’t seem to flush as vigorously in the Netherlands as they do in the US, so this may be a regulatory thing? But most places provide a little toilet brush in the stall (even in public spaces). Here, nothing. Your choices are: ignore the mess, complain to the front desk and ask for someone to clean it (and die of embarrassment, and besides who does that sort of thing?), or wad up toilet paper and do your best to try to clean it yourself after flushing again to bring the water level as low as possible. Not fun, any option you pick.
Uncomfortable bed. It was better than sleeping on the floor, and I’ve had worse, but this was not a bed I would call comfortable. Exhaustion let me sleep anyhow, but I woke up a bit sore. If you have any sort of condition made worse by lack of sleep or by dodgy mattresses, steer clear.
Bugs. Without this one factor I would probably still give a tepid but positive review. But there were bugs in the room. I had bites on me and I’m not sure what bit me (looked for bedbugs but did not see any). I know for sure that there were little lacewing looking things as I spotted two of them chilling on the wall of the room. And I stomped on a silverfish that was sauntering across the floor like it paid rent and what are YOU looking at? Just: no. I draw the line at silverfish.
TL/DR: If someone else is paying and Ibis Budget is your only option to see Amsterdam, sure. Otherwise, keep looking.