Been There Done That: Amsterdam

Top: living room and bottom: dining room

Amsterdam. In exploring alternative accommodations in Amsterdam after our cruise, I settled on the Het Lam apartment on the Prinsengracht in the Spiegel Quarter, within walking distance to the Rijksmuseum and van Gogh Museum. The apartment is in short walking distance of two grocery stores, shops, and many restaurants (which we did not find particularly interesting).

Should you care to partake in Amsterdam’s marijuana culture, two Marijuana cafes are located close by. The area appeared to be quite safe, and we walked around day and night without concern.

Het Lam is located in a seventeenth century residence that was originally utilized as a warehouse. Located on the fourth floor (no elevator), and at the back of the building, the Het Lam has a large airy living room/dining room, a fully equipped kitchen, and upstairs there is one bathroom and two bedrooms. There are no handrails to the steep staircase, and should be added by the owners for safety.

The living room is large and furnished with a small couch, two club chairs, a large well stocked antique bookcase, armoire, and a dining table for four. Ancient beams cross the ceiling, and three large windows let in plenty of light during the day. At night, however, a single lamp was provided next to the couch for reading, which was inadequate. An additional end table, reading lamp, and coffee table would have been useful.

The kitchen is large and nicely decorated in Delft tile with modern appliances, a table and chairs for four, and has a washing machine with no dryer. Dishes, glassware, pots, pans, silver ware, and cooking utensils are provided, as well as a large countertop. The kitchen is not equipped with a dishwasher. A coat closet with good hangers opens into the kitchen.

Top to bottom: kitchen, bathroom, one of two similar bedrooms

The bathroom is nicely tiled, with a sink and large medicine cabinet, has a deep bathtub and modern enclosed shower compartment. Earlier reports of no hot water in the shower have been resolved, and hot water is abundant and water pressure acceptable. The bathtub, however, leaked through to the floor below due to faulty overflow plumbing. We were told that this is due for repair in January of this year. Toiletries provided were limited to a small bar of soap and body lotion. The towels were coarse and becoming threadbare and need replacing.

The two bedrooms are sparsely furnished with no bedside tables, but good reading lamps over each bed. Beds were large and comfortable fitted with down comforters and large foam pillows, which we found uncomfortable. Curtained shelving was available for clothes storage and each bedroom had windows that opened. A large hall closet providing ample space for hanging cloths and storing suitcases is located between the two bedrooms.

The apartment has wood floors throughout with an oriental style rug in the living room that provided a good image.

The apartment’s owner is located just across a small courtyard, and was both exceptionally charming and helpful. An interesting art historian, he was pleased to spend time chatting with us on several occasions, provided valuable advice and information on Amsterdam. One evening he stopped by for cocktails, bringing with him glasses of Genever, a juniper-flavored and strongly alcoholic traditional liquor of the Netherlands and Belgium, from which gin evolved.

Upon arrival, housekeeping was good but not thorough. Maintenance was a rather slipshod affair with curtain rods not held in place, some electrical plugs not working, and light bulbs needing replacement. We were unable to connect to the internet although wireless was provided.

All in all, however, the Het Lam apartment is of good value and should be seriously considered when selecting an Amsterdam apartment.

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