Wednesday, December 17, 2008

As I lay me down to sleep - with a free upgrade

Using coupons, priceline and points, we spent three nights in Amsterdam in three- to five-star hotels for about $180 USD.

Our first stop was the Hotel Nadia, a bed-and-breakfast we booked through with a $50 off coupon. We chose it because Trip Advisor reviewers raved about it. There was not one complaint, which I think is a statistical impossibility.

Here's the stairwell, typical for an older Dutch building.

The staff allowed us to check in early. We waited for a few minutes in the breakfast room. Breakfasts were fairly simple - bread, cheese, yogurt, and most importantly, strong coffee.

Our room was so small, you practically fall on the bed when you walk in the door. It reminded us of our second and third apartments. Very cozy.

We got upgraded to a room with a balcony.

Our favorite feature of the room. Love how the light scatters from the pendant lamp.

We spent our second night for the same price in the five-start NL Grand Hotel Krasnapolsky, right on Dam Square.

The hotel was overbooked, so we got upgraded to an apartment in a nearby canal house. This is more square-footage than we have at home. Plenty of space to dance a happy upgrade jig. I'm sure it would normally cost hundreds of dollars just to flush the toilet in a place like this.

We used all the pods for the espresso maker.


The third night we stayed at the five-star Hotel Pulitzer, which we got with Starwood points. The hotel is a renovation of 25 adjoining canal houses. Great bed, nice hardwood floor and unique painted tiles in the bathroom.

Interestingly, Killian van Rensselaer, a board member of the Dutch West India Company, owned one of the canal houses, and the villages of Rensselaer and Rensselaerswijck in upstate New York are named after him, dooming generations of Americans to a 16-syllable address.

Of course, New Amsterdam, our home base, has plenty of Dutch place names like Harlem, Brooklyn, Hobokoen, Jamaica and Long Island, the last of which is still pronounced by the natives pretty much exactly as the Dutch spelled it (Lange Eylandt).

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