August 21, 2008

Amsterdam, The Palace B&B

Our first trip to Amsterdam was just a quick weekend before D headed back for Manila. After spending several hours surfing and reading reviews on where to stay, I emailed the Palace Bed & Breakfast and got an answer from owner Rudy within hours to confirm my booking. We arrived in Amsterdam in the late morning and took the train into the city, which takes about 15 minutes. Coming out of Amsterdam Centraal, D immediately recognized the surroundings and remembered a previous trip 15 years earlier. The Palace B&B is located on a major street not too far from the train station and takes about 10-15 minutes by foot or 2 tramstops. Upon our arrival we were greeted by the partner of Rudy, Georges. After a warm welcome and some perplexed looks at each other, D and Georges realized they were kababayans (fellow countrymen). Filipinos feel strongly attached to one another, even the more so if they meet each other abroad. Hence, once we put down our luggage in our room, Georges gave us the VIP tour of the building and shared his lifestory with us. After some bonding time with Georges and some useful tips on exploring the city, we settled in our room and realized it was more of a suite.

A large open space - I would say around 50m² - it had a bedroom (which you could close with a thick heavy drape) with a large bed and pillows so fluffy I wanted to steal them, which of course I didn’t. The living area had a sofa, which could double as a bed, a dining table and a mini “kitchen” with fridge, microwave and coffeemaker. The breakfast is self-service with the fridge being stocked with fruits, bread, ham, cheeses, yogurt, jams, juice and cakes. Georges even added some extra pastries the next morning ;-) . Our suite was on the first floor (I always get confused – I mean the floor above the ground floor) and had large windows with low ledges. As the weather was warm and sunny, we immediately opened them and sat on the ledge to soak in the Amsterdam street life. As we eventually had to leave the B&B, we got handed over a key to the building and went on to actually explore the city. Aside from Amsterdam being a very pedestrian friendly city, The Palace is so conveniently located that the canals, the Jordaan district, the Red Light District and the Dam square are just a stone’s throw away. Rudy has his hair salon just underneath the room we stayed in, and next door is a typical Amsterdam coffeeshop. Amsterdam in general is one of the pricier cities in Europe and I found it hard to find a reasonably priced accommodation.

We spent about 130Euros per night, which is great value considering the size of the room and the location of the B&B, not to mention the incredibly friendly owners. Overall, as usual, I felt our stay was way too short. The Palace is the kind of place in which you don’t mind spending more time. Hotel rooms are usually meant only for sleeping, as you are supposed to explore the town the rest of the day, but we enjoyed winding down and relaxing in our suite. Can’t wait to see how my Barcelona find, the Marquet hotel, turns out to be…

Palace B&B
Spuistraat 224

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