Sunday, November 16, 2008

Banks Mansion Hotel Amsterdam - A Great Place to Stay

I arrived in Amsterdam at 5:15 am this morning in advance of the Global Superyachts Forum, dreading having to wait for anything to open.  I was certain that I would not be able to check-in to my hotel, nothing would be open, and I would be miserable.  Boy was I wrong!

Upon arriving at the Banks Mansion (in a great location only two blocks from Rembrantplein) I was greated with a smile, with a complimentary minibar, free wifi, very nice (if smaller ) room with a view of the canal!  It was still dark, so a little bit of CNN and a drink and I was asleep.  (BTW, there are lots of other little touches, like a nighlight on the bathroom floor and a tv speaker there too, a bowl of apples in your room to snack on, free movies, Frank Lloyd Wright inspired furniture, plenty of task lighting and free DVDs among others.)

A few hours later I was awoken by a racket outside.  I opened my curtains and it was a parade; a parade for Sinter Klaus...the "real" Santa Claus!  Children were lining the street, beautiful horsedrawn carrages and floats were slowing going by with jugglers and elf-like assistance giving candy and treats to the children.  What a great way to be woken up!

A bit of complimentary cooked breakfast and it was time to walk around a bit; seeing the familiar and discovering some new things.  What I like about this hotel, among other things, is that its location is fantastic for shopping, dining and people watching...with the museums also being within walking distance...and I can hop on the No. 4 tram right to the RAI Center for the GSF and METS marine industry show.

I try to do one "tourist" thing everywhere I go.  Today was the Heineken Brewery Tour.  The tour has been closed for about a year, so it was brand new.  They did a great job with the renovations.  You would not recognize the place...and most all for the better.  While for an older person it was OK, there is a lot of fun stuff for the younger tourist.  So, age dependent, I would put it on the "Must Due" or "Give it a miss" list.

Another bit of a walk and then back to the Banks Mansion for complimentary cocktails and snacks in a small, but very attractive, lobby...and writing this post. I really like this place.  (And Amsterdam ain't so bad either!)