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Review: the InterContinental Amstel hotel, Amsterdam

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This is my review of the InterContinental Amstel hotel in Amsterdam.

I first reviewed this hotel back in 2014, although I’d stayed there a few times before that. Our last review was 2015 but I’ve done a couple of unreviewed stays since. I wanted to take a fresh, brief, look again today. I like this place and it’s my default hotel in Amsterdam, despite the cost.

When you look at the pictures you might wonder why. You’ll be especially confused if you saw my praises of Moxy hotels in recent weeks, which are as far away from this place as you can get. I’ll try to explain.

InterContinental Amstel

The Amstel is not your average InterContinental.  Despite being a very large building, it has only 55 standard rooms and 24 suites.  This means that there are very few people around and you will not feel overwhelmed in the pool, the bar, the terrace or indeed anywhere.

Location-wise, it is literally on the edge of the canal network.  You need to think about the location if staying here.  The good news is that one of the very few central Metro stations is outside the door (Weesperplein).  It is a 30 minute walk from Centraal Station and 20 minutes from Dam Square (shopping area). It is convenient for the airport via a change at Amsterdam Zuid to the metro.

It is most convenient for the museums (Rijksmuseum, Van Gogh) and the luxury shopping area surrounding them.  In the past I have tended to do one-way wandering / sightseeing trips, ending up at Centraal Station and then getting the metro back.

Here’s the lobby (PR photograph). Remember that this hotel has just 79 rooms:

Review: the InterContinental Amstel hotel, Amsterdam

The hotel was meant to be much, much bigger than it is. They started building with the lobby and a few rooms to either side, but for some reason the planned wings were never built. Because of how the city grew around it, it can’t happen now. The snag, of course, is that a building like this costs a fortune to maintain and 79 rooms can only generate so much revenue.

Rooms at InterContinental Amstel

I had booked a Junior Suite for €460 back in December when the Netherlands was still in the midst of covid. You will pay more today. I was upgraded to a Duplex Penthouse Suite.

Here was downstairs:

Review: the InterContinental Amstel hotel, Amsterdam

Here are the stairs:

Review: the InterContinental Amstel hotel, Amsterdam

Here is upstairs:

Review: the InterContinental Amstel hotel, Amsterdam

All of the rooms have a similar design scheme, although most are blue and not pink. Eclectic is, without a doubt, the word.

I’m fine with eclectic. I have a house full of modern furniture and I like the novelty of living like this for a night. I wouldn’t stay here for two weeks though ….

The bathrooms are outdated, clearly. It had everything you need – separate shower, a large bath, doors to the loo and shower – but it’s not ideal. Toiletries were ‘The Spa Collection’ so not even those were high end.

Review: the InterContinental Amstel hotel, Amsterdam

The good news is that the hotel will be starting a major renovation soon, hopefully this year. It has a new General Manager who is ex-Four Seasons and I met at least one other ex-Four Seasons employee there. If they spend the money well, it could be exceptional once again. It’s not that long ago that the hotel had a restaurant with two Michelin stars and was regarded as the best place in town – indeed, on my 2015 trip Paul McCartney was also staying.

Food and drink

Breakfast is taken in the formal restaurant which overlooks the Amstel river. It is a mix of a small buffet and a la carte, but it’s the sort of place where you could ask for whatever you want and I’m sure they’d do it. I also had a light bar snack here the previous evening.

Review: the InterContinental Amstel hotel, Amsterdam

Here is where I had breakfast:

Review: the InterContinental Amstel hotel, Amsterdam

The small buffet, which you can have alongside a la carte:

Review: the InterContinental Amstel hotel, Amsterdam

The most modern part of the hotel is the bar and riverside terrace at lobby level. You can see the conservatory and terrace in the exterior picture above. Annoyingly this had been booked out for a private event on the night I was there – in the past I have always had a light evening meal here.

Here is a terrace picture from a previous visit:

InterContinental Amstel Amsterdam bar terrace

I had time to fit in a swim the next morning in the hugely impressive pool. What you can’t see from this photo is that it is at river level which gives it an interesting vibe as boats sail past.

The InterContinental Amstel hotel, Amsterdam pool

Why do I stay at InterContinental Amsterdam?

This was my 6th or 7th stay at the Amstel over years. I did a review trip to Kimpton De Witt Amsterdam in 2017 and I stayed at the (no longer SPG / Marriott) Pulitzer once around 20 years ago, but that’s it I think. The Amstel has had all of my other stays over the last quarter century, although if I was here 2-3 times per year instead of once every 18-24 months I would try more places.

Without getting overly philosophical, staying here always gives 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 was no-one there except me.  In the hour I was there, not a single other person came in.

See the restaurant? I can sit with no more than 10 other people and have a long relaxing breakfast watching the world float past outside.  See my suite?  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 27 hours somewhere where you can relax and get away from it all.  That is what ‘luxury’ meant to me last Tuesday.

What does it cost?

Back in 2014 I noted that the hotel cost me 40,000 IHG Rewards points per night vs €749 for a standard room. The need for refurbishment, and the covid overhang, means that cash rooms now start at around €450 (this place is a great one to use an InterContinental Ambassador 2-4-1 weekend voucher) or around 85,000 IHG Rewards points.

I do recommend it for a sensible, quiet break – although it’s not necessarily a great base if your plan is to hit the clubs and bars until early morning before stumbling back. You do need to eat and spend time there if you book in. If all you do is use it as somewhere to sleep then you’re not getting the full Amstel experience or full value for money.

You can find out more about the hotel, and book, on this page of the InterContinental website.


IHG One Rewards update – June 2022:

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Comments (33)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • davedent says:

    Love this hotel – from the glass of Prosecco as you check in to the super comfy beds – just good old fashioned super service ( the wallpaper upsets me a bit ).

  • Harry T says:

    Rob, how was the service for breakfast? We had some niggles with it last time we stayed in summer 2020.

    I do really like the hotel – it is very tranquil and in a more quiet part of town. I’ve stayed at the W a few times and I would also strongly recommend that hotel, especially if you can get a room on the Bank side. We are trying the Waldorf Astoria over the Easter bank holidays – I am happy to provide a review, if you are interested?

    • davedent says:

      Hate the W – refused an upgrade I was due through FHR and Plat – ‘ we have a DJ so we can offer rubbish service’.

      • Harry T says:

        That does sound rubbish. I think I’ve been upgraded every time I’ve stayed as Plat upwards, though.

    • Rob says:

      Rhys is trying to wangle the WA for an Amsterdam business trip we need to do anyway …..

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    When I was Royal Ambassador for a few years I made sure to stay at this hotel at least once a year. RA is a difficult status to maintain and I lost it when I didn’t have to travel to too many cities with IC hotels, I have no idea what the criteria is for this status is now.

    One of the RA benefits was free minibar and the minibar here used to be amazing. A fully stocked fridge and full size bottles of spirits on the counter. No mention of the minibar in this review. Was there one? Was it still impressive or just the usual fridge?

    • Rob says:

      Still a full minibar with full bottles, albeit RA credit is capped at Euro 45 per night.

  • Mark says:

    I didn’t realise La Rive had closed. Amsterdam’s 2*s have been hard hit, &Moshik was a victim of Covid too. Still seems to have lots of good dining options though, I enjoyed Spectrum as much as &Moshik and thought Bolenius a very good example of a 1* restaurant – worth a visit for vegetarians in particular, although it’s a little way out of the centre.

  • ChrisC says:

    “This means that there are very people around … “

    I like it when very people are around. 😄😄

  • MD says:

    Love this hotel. And not just because we had a crazy 6-7 level upgrade here once. Using an Ambassador night voucher, we got upgraded from a pretty basic river view room to the Rembrandt Suite, which was rather nice indeed!

    But, need for renovations notwithstanding, the fact that cash prices have nearly halved whilst the stupid dynamic redemption costs have more than doubled says everything about the direction of travel of IHG’s loyalty scheme – plunging steeply downwards, towards the gutter of worthlessness. Wasn’t particularly sorry when Creation closed my black card, and when my current Spire is gone I’ll be voting with my wallet. Sad times.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      This hotel was 70k long before dynamic pricing but I have this booked in May for 40k so I wouldn’t call dynamic pricing so stupid.

      • Lady London says:

        Hmmm Amstel in Amsterdam, or a HIX in West London for 40k points.

        Which would you choose?

      • MD says:

        Fair point, still some bargains to be had – only if you have time to keep checking and rechecking the rates though. Bit of a faff. Personally I’d rather they stick to a cap like Hilton, but to each their own.

  • Alex B says:

    “although it’s not necessarily a great base if your plan is to hit the clubs and bars until early morning before stumbling back. ”

    Can anyone recommend somewhere which might be? Going to a couple of the ODIs in June so need somewhere we can get to Amserdame Bos easily enough (not too pricey either/doesn’t have to be point earning)

  • AK says:

    O/T – I applied for the paid Barclaycard and haven’t received any sort of confirmation email or anything? Should I assume something went wrong..?

    • Rhys says:

      I didn’t either. Give it 7-10 days and see if you get anything in the post…

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