Those of you planning to visit Amsterdam any time soon (and who, like most of us, can’t afford to stay at the stunning new Waldorf Astoria), you’re in luck. Imagine the Ace Hotel (hip, hot and happening with an industrial feel), but without the price tag. A hotel which offers quirky, cleverly designed rooms which can sleep multiple people, very comfortably, but without being a hostel. A place where locals come to socialise at their chilled cafe/bar ‘Werkplaats‘ and party the night away at their uber-cool cocktail bar/terrace/restaurant/club ‘Canvas’. Volkshotel means ‘hotel of the people/locals’ and you certainly get that feel – it attracts a great mix of people, welcome everyone.
That’s the Volkshotel for you.
Formally the Volkskrant newspaper offices, this huge building has been completely transformed and opened earlier this year to rave reviews from tourists and locals alike. Located in Amsterdam Oost (that means Amsterdam East, and yes, it’s sort of like East London was a few years ago, i.e a little grotty but seriously on the up), it’s 50 metres from a Metro station which takes you into central Amsterdam in minutes, and took us 25 minutes to get to from Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. If you fancy getting into the centre of town the more traditional way, it will take about 15 minutes to cycle, and they have bikes for rent from 9 euros a day. Ideal.
Two weeks ago I introduced three girlfriends to Amsterdam. First timers. So it had to be good. I contemplated Air BnB or Hotel not Hotel (very unique and arty, but perhaps more style over substance?) but came back to Volkshotel every time. They offer standard double rooms (like ‘Ms Petite’ or ‘Sir Standard), but also ‘Ms Big’ Rooms, which fit four people and have two big double beds, bunk bed style. At £34 per person per night, this was a bargain too good to reject.
Our room was on the 6th floor, and offered sweeping views of Amsterdam. Yes, Amsterdam lacks the city scapes of London/Paris/Shanghai – but a view is a view and this one is pretty impressive. The view is even better from the 7th and 8th floors. On the 7th you have the previously mentioned Canvas Restaurant/Bar/Club, and where you shouldn’t resist having a cocktail on the terrace. On the 8th floor/roof top is where we stumbled hungover the next morning, for a wake up in one of their three hot tubs with a serious view (and, to our delight, bright blue skies). Too cool. And if you’re not hot enough, you can always jump into their Scandi-style sauna too.
This place is really a no-brainer for groups of friends, or couples on a budget. While not slap bang in the middle of town, the staff are helpful and will give you a map so you get your bearings. Yes, it does smell like beer when you walk into the lobby, but hey, this only adds to the distrinct feel you get here for the Dutch way of life.
Make sure you explore Amsterdam Oost too – the cocktail bar Henry’s Bar has opened round the corner (next to cool sister bar Bar Bakouski), where they offer the hugest goblets of G&Ts, amazing hot dogs and a super fun vibe to start off your night. And rest assured you won’t be alone; all trendy Amsterdammers also have cottoned on that Oost is now the place to be.
150 Wibaut Straat
1091 GR Amsterdam
Photos mine or the Volkshotel’s (mainly Mark Groeneveld)