Finding your own idea of luxury at InterContinental Amstel, Amsterdam

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I was back at the InterContinental Amstel in Amsterdam last Monday.  I reviewed the hotel last year so I won’t run through the basics again.  Essentially this is a very large historical hotel with very few rooms (55, plus 24 suites) which gives it a unique atmosphere.

I redeemed 50,000 IHG Rewards Club points for a room.  This was an outstanding deal since various events in the city meant that cash rooms were going for £800.  Paul McCartney had shared my good taste and was staying at the same time.

Due to my InterContinental Ambassador status, I was guaranteed an upgrade.  I was pushed up more than was strictly necessary and given a lovely – albeit overtly flowery – Junior Suite:

InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam review junior suite

I actually preferred this to the ‘proper’ suite I was given last year as I prefer having one large open plan room rather than a fully separate sleeping and living area.

InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam review junior suite

I also got the chance to try out the pool this time.  It sits at river level – you can just make out the barges floating outside the window!

InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam swimming pool

I also got to spend the evening on the riverside outdoor terrace again as the sun was out.

InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam bar terrace

Without getting overly philosophical, this stay did give me time to consider what we understand by ‘luxury’.  It isn’t necessarily about having the latest gadgets in your room or being in a property which was redecorated a week ago.

I live a busy life, with two young children and a wife who has her own successful career.  This site runs 24/7 and needs constant attention wherever I am in the world.

See the photo of the pool?  There is no-one there except me.  See the terrace?  It is empty.  See my big open plan room?  That space is all mine!  Some people would hate a hotel like this.  I certainly wouldn’t want to live my life that way.  But, sometimes, it is great to be able to spend 20 hours somewhere where you can relax and get away from it all.  That is what ‘luxury’ meant to me last Monday.

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  1. OttoMH says:


    I completely agree on the philosophical side. The less human beings the better, most of the time! Using ihg points for the IC Hong Kong was the first redemption that really helped me understand the true value of the points and miles lifestyle!


  2. Nathan says:

    does it have a lounge? looks incredible

  3. You got lucky with the upgrade. The Ambassador upgrade is only guaranteed on paid stays.

    • Volker says:

      I recently redeemed my Ambassador free weekend night certificate at the Intercontinental DUS and was surprised that I got upgraded and received about 3,600 IHG points. Was I lucky, too?

      Lovely article by the way, Raffles, which sets HFP apart from other websites. Personal views, pictures of your family etc. make your reports more tangible if you know what I mean.

  4. James says:

    What would you recommend for an Amsterdam hotel in the £150-200 range for a couple?

    • Edd M says:

      If you’re looking for big and modern, the Doubletree adjacent to the station has a great roof bar and cool rooms.

    • Danny says:

      The crowne plaza is solid and has a great location… and a great restaurant. Circa 3 minutes from Amsterdam centraal.

      • Mrtibbs1999 says:

        I’ll second the CP. I went on the 40euro a night dead season rate in January 2014 and they upgraded me to a suite with lounge access. If only it had a pool I’d live there!

    • Brian says:

      Mercure Centre Canal District, sometimes called Frommer, I believe. Beautiful quiet location amidst the canals, but a short walk from the Rijksmuseum. Cheaper than many other options, but the location sets it apart. Central station should be avoided, I think – way too packed and touristy.

  5. Rohan says:

    Good post raffles , I think most of us lead busy lives . Work , family etc . constantly happening 24/7
    A break like this without hustle and bustle is just sometimes what one needs

  6. Tristan Elby says:

    Austrian economics would call this the ‘subjectivity of value’, and I think this is philosophically well-grounded, in the sense that it is generally accepted that you cannot logically derive a prescriptive conclusion from descriptive premisses. You thus make perfect sense in this article when you indicate that the idea of luxury is a personal matter!

  7. Ba-flyer says:

    Do IC redemptions usually include breakfast?

  8. Irons1980 says:

    IC Redemptions NEVER include breakfast!
    It’s one of the only downsides to IHG redemptions IMO that you can only redeem for basic / standard rooms… any upgrades / perks are at the discretion of the hotel.
    But in IHG properties, they are sometimes decent – I did a redemption stay at Paris Le Grand and they upgraded me to a beautiful suite with all Ambassador benefits (movie, gifts in room, etc), but still no breakfast.

    • It’s not about redemption. Even RA never receives free breakfast on paid stays.

      • Irons1980 says:

        Read the comment above mine, please!

        • Irons1980 says:

          I am only referring to redemptions, not paid stays. I have been given free breakfast on a paid stay as a Platinum at the CP Times Square – but it’s at the discretion of the individual hotel, rather than as a guaranteed status benefit. I also find at ICs if you stay in a Club room on a RO basis, they will usually allow you to still take breakfast in the restaurant or have breakfast in the lounge.

    • There is a bakery – a real bakery – across the street which I go to for coffee and a croissant.

  9. Any news on the new IHG membership level?

    • Not yet. Some talk it will be delayed to January – or at least the benefits will be delayed.

    • gnarlyoldgoatdude says:

      I checked into the Crowne Plaza Schiphol (well Hoofddorp) on Friday night, and was welcomed by the (dated) TV system as Ambassador gogd. I’m a fake (i.e. credit card) Platinum.

  10. Dave R says:

    It looks like you got a good upgrade, especially for a reward night, and definitely a better upgrade than the River View Exec room I was upgraded to in April (which was still very nice and had an amazing view). Do you think your occupation has any influence over the upgrades you tend to get?

    • No. If you book at short notice you get a good upgrades. When I booked there were NO basic cash rooms but 4 reward rooms. This meant, I think, that they had no basic rooms left and were using rewards to fill pricier rooms.

  11. Sarah Murray says:

    but..but.. why are the cash rates so expensive? Always €500+ and I can’t see how any of the above justifies that in relation to other hotels in Benelux / Germany / France

    • Dave R says:

      Probable because its a very nice hotel and they don’t have a lot of room to fill so can charge a lot. When we stayed there, I heard several locals referring to the Amstel as the best hotel in Amsterdam and this was also mentioned when we went past it on a canal boat cruise. With such a good reputation, I don’t think they have any trouble filling the rooms at the high rates they charge.

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