This snap-shot trip review was submitted by my brother Ryan who took a week long trip with his beautiful wife to Amsterdam, NL in October!
“For this trip we stayed at the Banks Mansion. It is a hotel located in the heart of Amsterdam. That being the case we were within walking distance of about every tour and attraction that you could ever hope to see during your visit. The hotel and rooms were very nice and the staff attentiveness was top notch. “
Room view of the canal
“All staff were English speaking so my attempts to better learn the language were trumped by that fact. Interestingly we did not really run into anyone who didn’t know how to speak English so it is pretty easy to get around.”
” Every morning there was a delicious breakfast buffet with an assortment of fresh traditional dutch food and a short order chef on hand to prepare pancakes, eggs, and french toast.”
“During the the rest of the day the lobby and the room offer complimentary snack and drinks.”
“Surprisingly the alcohol in the room was also complimentary and they have a full open bar in the lobby as well. They also offer free movies to borrow in the lobby and there is a movie theater right around the corner as well. We really enjoyed our stay there and would definitely go back. Not a single thing we encountered that we didn’t like.”
” Our first night we went to a local theater, Boom Chicago, for a comedy show featuring the 7 Deadly Dutch Sins. It was really great! However, a lot of the jokes did not become apparent to us until later in our trip so I might recommend doing this one later during your visit.”
“Another night we took a pizza cruise through the canals of Amsterdam. There are several tour companies and they looked about the same to us”
“It was a great way to see the sights and meet new people. If you are wanting something intimate this is not the activity. It is very popular and there are a lot of people on the boat so you will likely be seated very close to another couple or party. We are not the shy type so we had the opportunity to meet a lovely couple from Ireland.”
“We also did a walking food tour of Amsterdam. During the tour do you not only get to try out the traditional dutch foods but get a look into the sights and history of the city. Very cool! Be warned that the pickled herring is quite strong. If you dare the try it I would highly recommend eating it with the onions and pickles that come on the side. They are there for a reason as eating straight up can be a chore!”
“On the food tour we stopped at The Wagg (Part of the remains of the wall that surrounded Amsterdam).”
“We also walked by the Grand Train Station.”
“The tour also had us try FEBO, which is like a McDonald’s vending machine.We selected the deep fried potatoes and they were typical fried fast food”.
“Another fun activity that we did was a bus tour out to the the countryside to visit the city of Volendam and it included a ferry ride to the fishing island of Marken.”
” It is a very charming tour where you get to visit a cheese factory, windmills, and a clog maker. I would highly recommend it.”
“It was really cool to see how they made clogs and we even tried on a pair and they were surprisingly comfortable!”
“We also did a tour of the Anne Frank House. A harrowing tale of a Jewish family trying to survive during the Nazi occupation. The tour is history rich and quite amazing. Well worth a visit. Tourist companies abound downtown by the train station so you have your pick of who to go with and when for any of these tours. “
“By coincidence we happened to be ending our trip at around the same time a city wide dance festival started. We did not have the opportunity to participate in any of the shows but we did get to check out the carnival they set up in Dam Square for the occasion. The tower on the right was a huge swing ride!”
“We talked ourselves into riding the crazy high swings, even though I have an issue with heights, it was a lot of fun! It was a great way to see the city. There was also great food to be had from the vendors there as well. “
” If you are at all anything of a shopper you will have plenty to see and do. Between all the stores, malls, and markets you should get your shopping fix without issue.”
“I was pretty excited to see an entire store of soccer shoes that are hard to find in the U.S.”
“Restaurants are also in abundance downtown and you are never far from good eats. Any restaurant we stumbled across not only offered great food but great service. Which to me would be expected in any major city and you will likely not be disappointed. There are plenty of options well within walking distance of the hotel.”
“Common questions from friends and family centralized mostly around the Red Light District and the smoking of Marijuana. Since we did not participate in either, I can’t speak to it. But both can be found quite easily even though we weren’t looking for either.”
Royal Palace in Dams Square
Overall: “When we go back we will definitely be using the Banks Mansion for our stay again. Of the activities we would do another show at the Boom Chicago and I would love to do the walking food tour again. All of these things were well worth the money.”
Banks Mansion: $242.00- $695 a night- depending on time of year, occupants and deluxe, suite or canal view.
Tours: A quick online search confirmed prices around $50 for each adult for most tours. Some tours were less for children.