Edited by: Juan Ruiz
& Keri Stooksbury
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I recently embarked on a 2-week springtime trip to Europe that had me crisscrossing the continent and brought me to places I’ve visited many times before, as well as some new destinations.
The first stop on the trip was Amsterdam in the Netherlands. It was my first time visiting the city (besides having connections at Schiphol Airport), and I was excited to finally spend some time in the land of tulips, stroopwafels, bicycles, and urban canals.
But, I needed to find a place to stay for the 3 nights I would be there. My first thought was to check for award availability at the Waldorf-Astoria Amsterdam, which would have been an amazing use of the free night award I had with Hilton and the points I had in my Hilton Honors account.
However, the Waldorf was charging an astronomical 495,000 points per night during the weekend I was going to be in Amsterdam, so I moved right along.
I did some more research and found that hotels across the spectrum were charging handsome rates for the weekend I was going to be in the city, so I turned to Marriott Bonvoy in hopes of booking something with points.
I came across the W Amsterdam, which surprisingly offered more attractive rates than other Marriott properties like the Renaissance Amsterdam, so I quickly booked a room for my 3 nights. I was traveling with my mom, which made me hesitant to go ahead with the W, but it was the best deal I could find, so I went for it.
Read on to find out what it was like to stay at the W Amsterdam.
One of the things I liked most about the W Amsterdam was its location. Found right in the center of the city, the W boasts close proximity to many major sites, including the Anne Frank House, Amsterdam Centraal rail station, the Museum Quarter, the Red Light District, and more … not to mention the numerous restaurants and bars that were within walking distance of the hotel.
Just about everything we wanted to see and do was reachable with an easy walk — and anything that wasn’t could be reached via the city’s excellent tram network.
Amsterdam is a city that’s proudly hostile toward automobile traffic, but we bucked the trend when we touched down at Schiphol Airport (AMS) and got in a taxi to take us to the hotel. The 10.5-mile journey took just over 20 minutes and cost a fairly steep €70 (~$77). I wasn’t necessarily shocked by the cost given how much the city strives to compel people to avoid private cars and embrace public transit and cycling.
For a first-time visitor to Amsterdam, I found the location to be ideal and view it as a large selling point for this property.
I alluded to why I ended up booking this property above, but the main reason was that I simply wanted a hotel I could book with points since cash rates across the city were very high.
The W turned out to be the best option for my criteria. I used 206,000 Marriott Bonvoy points to book my 3-night stay.
The cheapest paid rate I could find was €590 (~$646) per night before any taxes and additional fees, which was very steep. And since I knew I’d be paying cash for other hotels on this trip, I decided to keep that in my wallet for later and redeem the points.
We value Marriott Bonvoy points at 0.7 cents apiece, and I achieved over 0.9 cents per point in value for this stay, which I consider to be pretty good — and I saved at least $2,000 in the process.Hot Tip:
Learn about all the best ways to redeem Marriott Bonvoy points for maximum value!
I had suite night awards in my account thanks to my Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status, but I decided to save those for later as well because I knew we wouldn’t be spending that much time in the room and didn’t particularly care about having a large suite or a great view — especially because I saw the hotel had a rooftop with phenomenal views.
I put my incidentals on my Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® Card to earn 6x Marriott Bonvoy points per dollar spent on purchases at the property.Hot Tip:
If you don’t have hotel points or can’t find award availability at any points hotels in Amsterdam, check out our round-up of the best boutique hotels in Amsterdam.
Our flight from Minneapolis (MSP) landed in Amsterdam (AMS) just before 11 a.m. local time. After clearing immigration and collecting our bags, we hopped in a taxi and arrived at the hotel a few minutes after 12 p.m.
There was another group checking in next to us, but we were seen immediately by another check-in agent who emerged from the back room.
He explained to us the dual-building layout of the hotel (which I hadn’t realized when booking) as well as the elite benefits we’d be entitled to, the most important of which, of course, was complimentary breakfast each morning.
I had booked a “Wonderful Exchange” guest room with 1 king bed and a city view. However, the agent asked if we preferred to get into an atrium view room right away as opposed to waiting at least a couple of hours for a city-view room. Plus, the room he was offering had 2 beds as opposed to 1 — ideal for my mom and me.
We quickly accepted the room with a lesser view and made our way to our accommodations on the fourth floor of the hotel’s “Exchange” building.
The W Amsterdam is comprised of 2 buildings — the “Exchange” and the “Bank” buildings. In accordance with their names, the Exchange building was a former telephone exchange and the Bank building was, as you’d guess, a former bank. The W moved into both buildings and each has unique characteristics.
The Exchange contains guest rooms and suites, one of the hotel’s restaurants (Mr. Porter), the W Lounge, a rooftop lounge, and a rooftop swimming pool.
The Bank, on the other hand, contains the other restaurant, The Duchess, as well as the property’s fitness center, spa, and retail store.
Our room was located in the Exchange, though we did go over to the Bank a couple of times to have breakfast and check out some of the amenities.
There wasn’t much to speak of in terms of a lobby at this property. Check-in was done in the Exchange building, and there were 2 check-in desks located directly to the right of the sliding entrance doors, a bench near the 2 elevators, and a staircase in the center of the space leading to more guest rooms and the public spaces found in the building.
On the Bank side, there was a small concierge area and the reception area for the spa, along with the retail store. Neither space was conducive to lingering in any capacity.
The W Amsterdam is an urban hotel in the center of the city, so don’t expect a laundry list of resort-like amenities here. That being said, it offers everything you’d need in a high-end property in a major city.
Let’s take a look at what’s on offer.
The W Amsterdam offers an outdoor pool for guests to use in warmer months, located on the sixth floor of the Exchange building. Unfortunately, it wasn’t open for service during our stay, but guests were free to go out onto the deck to check it out, take photos, or just take in the views.
I can imagine the pool and its corresponding deck can become quite a scene when the weather is warm, and the views were indeed spectacular. When it’s operating in full swing, the pool is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.
The hotel’s fitness center — called “FIT” in W-speak — is located on the ground floor of the Bank side of the property and was open 24/7. It’s integrated with the spa, so you’ll find locker rooms, a steam room, and a sauna, in addition to TechnoGym equipment for cardio and weightlifting, as well as a free weights area.
The space itself was a good size, but parts of it had black walls and a black ceiling, making it feel smaller.
The hotel’s AWAY Spa is also found in the Bank building and was open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. and offers a full range of treatments including massages, scrubs, facials, and more. There’s also an indoor pool located in the spa.
The W Amsterdam allows you to bring your furry companion along, but you’ll need to pay extra for them. You can bring a maximum of 1 pet per room, up to 20 kilograms (~44 pounds), at a cost of €100 (~$111) per stay.
The W Amsterdam offered valet parking at a cost of €60 (~$67) per day. Self-parking was not offered.
Free Wi-Fi is offered throughout the property to all guests. Once I joined the network for the first time, I stayed connected throughout my stay. Speeds were fast enough that I was able to complete a variety of tasks, including working, emailing, and streaming video content.
My mom and I ended up in a Cozy Exchange guest room with 2 (so-called) twin beds. Here’s what it was like.
But before we even enter our room, I need to talk about the corridors in the Exchange building at this property. They were extremely dark, and not all that pleasant due to a moldy smell that was apparent each time we went to and from our room.
I understand how the W brand was conceived with a dark-means-cool vibe, but many of the brand’s properties are growing up with brighter colors, and I think this W would be well-served to follow suit.
Maybe if there hadn’t been a smell — and stained carpeting — I wouldn’t have minded the darkness so much, but walking through the corridors felt downright dungeon-like.
Thankfully, things improved once we reached our room. The door opened into a tiny foyer with a storage shelf on the left side that would prove itself to be very useful during our stay. In the center of the space was a large concrete island that housed the vanity.
This room presented a concept I’ve seen in several W properties recently — minimal separation between the bedroom and bathroom spaces. This vanity was right in the center of the room and featured 1 sink, a double-sided mirror (helpful for 2 people getting ready at the same time), and shelves underneath the sink for towels and other amenities.
There was even a pull-out desk on the side with a chair that could be used for working.
Directly behind the vanity was the shower, which jutted out far enough to make the space feel tight if someone else was using the vanity at the same time.
The shower itself was fine — nothing more, nothing less — with 2 showerheads and adequate space. I found the pressure in the overhead faucet to be lacking, so I found myself using the handheld nozzle most of the time.
The MOMO-branded toiletries were awesome — and I didn’t mind at all that they were in reusable containers. They weren’t mounted on the wall in dispensers, so it actually felt like I was using my own products from home.
Next to the shower was the room’s closet which was painted in a bright orange color — adding a pop of personality to the room. Inside was an iron and ironing board, a robe, several hangers, and a unit of drawers.
In the top drawer were 2 pairs of slippers and a laundry bag.
Below that was the room’s safe, which we had no problems with.
Finally, there was a water closet — also painted bright orange — that held the room’s toilet. Certainly an interesting environment …
Moving back toward the rest of the room, the bedroom area was up a step from the bathroom area, which could pose problems at night, especially if you take advantage of the room’s excellent blackout shades.
Right up the step was the room’s minibar area.
On top of it were a Nespresso machine, 2 complimentary cartons of water, and various necessities for mixing up a cocktail.
In the unit’s top drawer was a selection of snacks available for purchase, as well as a selection of complimentary tea and coffee pods for the Nespresso machine.
Further down was the minifridge, which was stocked with various soft drinks and alcoholic beverages including liquor, beer, and Champagne. Of course, none of these beverages were complimentary.
On the opposite wall were the room’s 2 beds. They were advertised as twin beds, but they felt more like fulls to me. Whatever they were, they were phenomenally comfortable. After refusing to take a nap upon arrival, I sank into my bed later that evening for a great first sleep in Europe.
Behind the beds was a headboard unit that also provided some additional storage thanks to its flat top.
On the side of each bed was a small nightstand as well as an easily accessible power outlet and a panel to control the room’s lighting and window shades — that came in handy when it was pitch-dark in the room.
Next to the window was a single low-slung chair that I used for clothing storage, and across from the bed nearest the window was a bench for seating (I also used that as a closet) and a small table.
The room was very comfortable and there was nothing overtly wrong with it, but my mom and I both felt that it was on the narrow side, which made moving around — even with just 1 other person — a little tight.
And, some of the design choices, like the sayings printed on the walls or in the shower, felt like the previous iteration of the W, and I think the hotel would be wise to pursue a renovation project soon to bring the hotel up to the brand’s latest standards.
However, we weren’t spending much time in our room at all, and the supremely comfortable beds made up for any shortcomings in both of our minds. I’m just glad I didn’t spend over $600 per night on this room.
The W Amsterdam touts itself as a destination for foodies visiting — or living — in the city. It boasts 2 restaurants — Mr. Porter and The Duchess — that have each gained notoriety for different reasons.
We had plans off the property each night for dinner, so we didn’t eat dinner at either, but we visited each restaurant for our complimentary breakfast — Mr. Porter twice and The Duchess once.
Before I dive into our breakfast experience at the property, I’ll explain how breakfast works at the W Amsterdam. Breakfast is offered daily at both Mr. Porter and The Duchess. The former, located in the Exchange building, offers a buffet with the option to order items à la carte, while the latter, located in the Bank building, offers á la carte options only.
Here’s a look at our experience at both restaurants.
A restaurant devoted to all things steak, Mr. Porter was recommended to me by a couple of people who didn’t even know I was staying at the hotel it’s located in.
The space is located on the sixth floor of the Exchange building and feels almost like a glass box perched on the top of the center of Amsterdam.
Gold and brass accents are used throughout the space, and the floor-to-ceiling windows let in abundant light, providing a pleasant scene in the morning and a high-energy, chic atmosphere at night.
Mr. Porter also offers an outdoor terrace for dining and drinks. It was mostly set up, but I was told there was no service outside yet because of the chilly temperatures.
At breakfast, the restaurant offers a buffet in addition to an à la carte menu. The complimentary breakfast offering we received thanks to my Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite status entitled us to the buffet as well as 1 item from the à la carte menu.
A beverage setup was on the restaurant’s central bar, which offered a few milk choices as well as an array of fresh juices — one of my favorite parts of a European hotel breakfast buffet.
The rest of the buffet was set up in the open-concept kitchen.
There was a station devoted to breads and pastries, with all the requisite condiments, including, of course, Nutella.
Another area featured hot and cold items mostly adhering to a Mediterranean theme, including a lentil salad, labneh, an Israeli salad, marinated olives, bacon, potatoes, and more.
And, there were standard European breakfast options, including fresh fruit, cold cuts, cheese, hard-boiled eggs, and more.
Each time at Mr. Porter, I ordered an omelet with all of the available fillings from the á la carte menu and paired it with the Israeli salad, labneh, and a bowl of fruit.
There are zero complaints from me about this breakfast, though I do wish there had been a wider selection of fruit available. Without the complimentary breakfast perk from my Platinum Elite status, the buffet would have cost €35 (~$39) daily.
Mr. Porter’s opening hours are as follows:
The Duchess earned 1 Michelin star and is an homage to the Roaring Twenties in Amsterdam.
The restaurant space is gorgeous, with soaring ceilings topped with delicate stained glass, imposing hanging chandeliers, an intricate tile floor, and plenty of marble.
Again, we didn’t eat lunch or dinner here, but we visited our first morning for breakfast. There were hardly any people there when we arrived around 9 a.m. so we were seated right away.
There are á la carte opportunities only at The Duchess — I chose the shakshuka (€16 or about $18), a side of bacon, (€7 or about $8), and a fresh orange juice (€6 or about $7), while my mom went the DIY route with scrambled eggs, bacon, and avocado (this plate wasn’t on the menu so I couldn’t see what they would have cost if we’d had to pay for the dishes).
Both plates were delicious, and everything was included, so we could simply leave when we were finished without having to sign a check.
The Duchess was open from 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. daily for breakfast. Monday to Friday, it’s open from 5 p.m. to 1 a.m. for dinner, and from 12:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday for lunch and dinner.
A W wouldn’t be a W if it didn’t have a trendy, see-and-be-seen bar on offer.
The W Lounge at the Amsterdam property is found on the roof of the Exchange building, adjacent to Mr. Porter. It offers a number of seating areas, and I could see the DJ setup that wasn’t in use when I visited in the morning, but, of course, would be in full swing once the late afternoon hit.
We did head to the W Lounge one afternoon for a drink before dinner, and it was a lively scene, with plenty of hotel guests mixed with hip and trendy locals enjoying a beverage with the afternoon sun pouring in.
There’s also an outdoor terrace, which was open to guests for sitting and mingling, but drinks weren’t being served out there due to the cold weather.
The W Lounge was open from 11 a.m. to 12 a.m. Monday through Thursday and Sunday. On Friday and Saturday, it’s open from 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Overall, I have nothing but positive things to say about the service at the W Amsterdam. We relied heavily on the hotel’s Whatever/Whenever concierge service to help us purchase tickets for attractions we wanted to see and they recommended a couple of tours that ended up being a great experience.Hot Tip:
Check-in agents and bellboys were always friendly and were happy to accommodate any request we had throughout the stay.
The only low point came at breakfast at The Duchess — service was lackadaisical at best. We could never quite figure out who our server was and often had to flag another employee down who seemed to be running the entire show to get things we had asked for.
Despite the hiccup at The Duchess, the W Amsterdam functioned like a well-oiled machine.
The W Amsterdam served my mom and me well during each of our first trips to Amsterdam. The location, in my opinion, is its greatest selling point, though I’d be interested to return to each restaurant for dinner to see what the hype is all about.
The vast majority of our interactions with the staff were great; the rooftop deck, pool, and lounge were all awesome spaces to hang out and have a drink while taking in incredible views; and the rooms were comfortable, if not a bit tight.
I don’t think I’d pay the cash rates this hotel was charging during the weekend I was there — at least until the guest rooms (and the hallways!) get a refresh — but if it were available on points on a future trip, I wouldn’t hesitate to stay again.
For rates and fees of the Marriott Bonvoy Brilliant® American Express® card, click here.
The W Amsterdam offers a number of amenities to guests, including an outdoor pool, a full-service spa with an indoor pool, a fitness center, a pet-friendly program, and more.
Yes, the W Amsterdam is located basically across the street from Dam Square, considered by many to be very center of town. The hotel is close to many attractions on foot or by tram.
Check-in is at 3 p.m. and checkout is at 12 p.m.
Yes, breakfast is offered in both restaurants: Mr. Porter and The Duchess. The former offers a buffet and an á la carte menu, while the latter offers á la carte options only. The buffet costs €35 (~$39) unless it’s included in your room rate or you receive complimentary breakfast thanks to elite status in the Marriott Bonvoy program.
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